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Celebrity Criticism Used to Deflect Attention Away From Corporate Raids By Robin Barnes

News outlets report that defense of Mitt Romney as a corporate raider is in full sway. That might be the understatement of the year.  The larger issue, beyond one politician’s record, is the elephant in the room: specific details (state by state) of the fallout from the worst of the excesses.  That debate has been effectively sidelined for certain segments of the population by a grand ole non-sequitur.  Fox News personality (serious political commentator) Bill O’Reilly, while manning the no-spin zone, recently took pains to run a segment featuring Kim Kardashian.  Who? What?

And other outlets have piled on: “When you buy something from a charity auction, you usually assume that 100%, or at least a large portion, of the proceeds are going to charity. Stop doing this! According to Fox News, a handful of celebrities including Kim and Khloe only donate a paltry 10%.” 

So the public’s attention is shifted away from the joblessness, homelessness and panic that has resulted from corporate raiding by the wealthy elite or the court case that has enabled unnamed billionaires to skew what may be the nation’s most important presidential election since Lincoln.  No, the public is being asked to condemn the 10%-ers.

This is hardly the Fourth Estate that Edmund Burke, an 18th-century British politician, is credited with crowning as a watchdog over government and industry.  To the extent that the clause guaranteeing freedom of the press was designed to create a mechanism outside of governmental control as an additional check on the three  branches of government, we have some tweaking to do.