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Press Review January 24, 2002
 
In Da Times
By Matt Taibbi Browse author
 
Page 7 of 15
 
George Bush did not seek power? All of those campaign contributions were "lucky"? This is so insane that it is almost impossible to get one's mind around it.

I can see what Busmiller means. She means that Bush got lucky because he happened to be the son of a president, and that he, too, "did not seek" something, specifically this unexpected terrorist problem. In other words, he sought power, but not responsibility. In my mind, this makes him a coward and a worm, but in Busmiller's and Lear's minds, this makes him a "mythic hero", worthy of comparison to Moses.

MONDAY, JANUARY 7

The story of Charles Bishop, that cute little 15 year-old kid who stole a plane and crashed it into the Bank of America building in honor of Osama bin Laden, seems like the biggest story of this year. It couldn't be more obvious: Columbine-style malcontents at home and Islamic extremists overseas apparently have a common enemy. There is something about this country, specifically this country and this society, that is driving people to fantastic acts of suicidal violence. But the Times buried the story on page A12, concluding only that Bishop was a "very troubled young man."

Papers like the Times have for years gone to great lengths to explain away stories like Columbine (it's the fault of parents, of Zoloft, etc.), but this Charles Bishop story is much more dangerous than that one, and (to steal a term from the old Black Panther newspaper) the White Power Structure wants no part of it. It will be buried tomorrow and out of the papers completely in two days. It will be revisited occasionally, of course, but I guarantee it -- by the time they're through with this kid, he'll be a flag-waving victim of Osama bin Laden, not a sympathizer. We will never get to read his suicide note; "responsible grownups" will do the talking for him from now on.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 8

Was the Charles Bishop story buried today? Here is the story it was under on page A17 -- the fourth page of the "National Report" section:

SOME BURSTS OF GAMMA RAYS MAY BE IN NEARBY GALAXIES

Astronomers may finally be able to observe the unobservable

The actual Bishop story was chilling. Here is the headline:

BOY IN PLANE CRASH IS RECALLED AS PATRIOTIC

And the lead:

"TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 7. (AP) -- The 15 year-old who crashed a small plane into a skyscraper on Saturday was a former flag bearer at school assemblies who wanted to join the Air Force, the boy's teachers said today."

And here's the most disturbing passage. The AP story, when it quotes Bishop's parents for the first time, begins with their assertion of support for the War on Terrorism:

"In a statement today, the boy's family said it was devastated by the loss and grateful no one else had been harmed. 'Charles and his family [emphasis mine] have always fully supported our United States' war on terrorism and Osama bin Laden,' the statement said. 'We do not understand why or how this could have happened.'"

The piece went on to note that Bishop has appeared "saddened" when discussing the attacks in class, and that he had entered "essay contests run by the Daughters of the American Revolution" (!).

A photo of a blindfolded, manacled terrorist suspect in Guantanomo Bay, not shown in the Times. The Times story focused on the fact that the prisoners are fed bagels and Froot Loops.

Then, in an extra effort to maintain the "He wouldn't have done this if chicks had dug him" party line on the incident, the AP went to extra effort at the end of the piece to assign some blame for the crash to, of all things, acne:

"Robert Cooper, owner of the flight school where Charles Bishop began lessons in March, said he doubted the sincerity of the youngster's note and said the boy had voiced anger over the Sept. 11 attacks.

"'I would call him a relatively typical gangly, intelligent, articulate 15 year-old with a complexion problem and a passion for flying," Mr. Cooper said."


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