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News & Editorials

ABC's Nightline and MSNBC Broadcasts: May 14, 2001

by Major Bill Donahue USMC Ret

The media continues to use the First a weapon against the Second Amendment.

ABC Nightline Broadcast, May 14th, 2001: The F.B.I. was the topic of discussion. The episode purported focus on the F.B.I.'s "culture" and used, as a backdrop, the recent failure on the part of the F.B.I. to turn over some 3,000 documents related to the Timothy McVeigh case (Oklahoma City Bombing). 

Senator Grassley (R - Iowa), Elsa Walsh (Journalist for a New York based periodical) and Michael Bromwich, (a former Inspector General for the F.B.I.) paneled the discussion. 

Once again, as in so many times past, the media put on yet another show for public consumption - the focus soon diverted from government employees being the problem to something else. Something technical. 

It wasn't long though before the deceitful diversion began. Minutes into the 30-minute broadcast, the talk was diverted from Director Louis Freeh and his subordinates to the "real" problem; failure of a "...modernized computer system..." and other so-called "...technical glitches." 

What really bothered me, as I watched this, was the obvious transparency put forth by at least two of the three panelists; Elsa Walsh (who spent almost a year with Director Freeh as she "took notes"...obviously for his biography some day) and Michael Bromwich who, although no longer I.G. for the F.B.I., still maintained the "party line". 

Their position was that "...technical issues..." are at the root of the F.B.I.'s "problem". They would have us: 

Forget that WACO, Ruby Ridge, and a host of other such "atrocities" occurred on Director Freeh's watch. 

Forget that a "cowboy mentality" has set in almost systematically throughout the F.B.I. over the past eight years or so.

Forget that the F.B.I. has routinely entered into "partnership" with organized crime, turned it's own head on horrific crimes witnessed and/or actually sanctioned by "undercover agents" during Freeh's watch.

Forget all that. Do not consider - for one moment - that the F.B.I. was once an acronym for "Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity". 

So, let's assume - just for the moment - that THE problem with the F.B.I. is it's "...ancient computer system...". And, let's assume - just for the moment - that the monies Congress allocated to the F.B.I. for it's computer network upgrade last November was "too little, too late" to prevent McVeigh's rampage against the people of Oklahoma. Let us just assume - for the moment - that no human or humans within the F.B.I. organization are " fault....". 

Now then, we will have an F.B.I. with the latest and greatest computers (are you listening Gateway, Dell, or Compaq?). Where does THAT lead? 

Assume that "improved paper-filing" will be effected in order that another 3,000 documents or so won't get turned over to another defense team in another capital case the future?

Assume that "improved computerization" will be a better and more "positive protection" in the F.B.I.'s long history for "justice for all". 
Just two assumptions. And now, let's us look at the reality of those assumptions; 

More and better "computerization" of individual privacies to include firearms purchases, visits to mental health clinics (if only as a visitor), cataloging of a litany of misdemeanor violations on millions of Americans, you name it.

More manpower, space, and software-resources required. (There goes the budget.) 

More emphasis on internet controls. (The F.B.I. will surely want to protect it's new, vast computer kingdom against computer hackers.) The answer is not, truthfully, one that can be laid solely at the foot of "technology". It's fundamentally a "mind-set" problem. As Senator Grassley pointed out on at least two occasions during the 30 minute broadcast, it is the "cowboy mentality" that has brought the F.B.I. to the public's attention so negatively. And, until that "image" is dissolved, no Public Relations campaign is going to "fix it." 

This should not be "news" to the American people. Just watch the television tube; F.B.I. in bold letters on windbreakers, black-clad para-military "troopers" following the butt of the one in front as a small, highly armed squad of S.O.R.T. (Special Operations Response Team) players approach one door of a house or apartment. (Of course, no one can actually see someone completely clad in black, especially at night.) 

And as for weaponry? I seem to recall much of what I now see in the arms of these "ninja cowboys" as being military assault types. But, aren't "assault weapons" outlawed in this nation? Except for military? 

Or has the F.B.I. (As well as the BATF, et alia) insidiously become a "fifth-column" in America...i.e., going "military" - a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act? 

In response to the military presence in the Southern States during the Reconstruction Era, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act ("PCA" or the "Act") to prohibit the use of the Army in civilian law enforcement. The Act embodies the traditional American principle of separating civilian and military authority and currently forbids the use of the Army and Air Force to enforce civilian laws. In the last fifteen years, Congress has deliberately eroded this principle by involving the military in drug interdiction at our borders, used it to support FBI/BATF operations against the Branch Davidians at WACO, and uses the military to train civilian law enforcement. (The FBI Academy is aboard the sprawling Marine Corps Headquarters base at Quantico, Virginia). This erosion will continue unless Congress renews the PCA's principle to preserve the necessary and traditional separation of civilian and military authority. Where once the American people revered the F.B.I., they now fear it.

Oh, and another thing: Coincidentally, perhaps (?), MSNBC also aired a one-hour special tonight as well; "The 50-Caliber Militia". This "special" was obviously designed - although poorly camouflaged to the contrary - to further discredit those who are open about their Second Amendment rights. Only THIS time, it was not the militia that was being "hammered directly"; it was only a rifle; a .50 caliber rifle. 

MSNBC touted it as now being the "major weapon" to be used against the government by individuals who "...might have the same penchant at McVeigh...", and the "militia movement".  Scare tactics, again, by our media ! The VERY essence of "truth" and the "American Way". Right? 

No. Uniformed law enforcement officers at the local and state levels were done a grave disservice tonight by Nightline/MSNBC. Young children might very well now "fear" anyone wearing a badge - openly or otherwise. If they have not already developed that fear in their tender young lives. 

And when our nation's children start to fear the very citizens who have taken a sworn oath to protect them, tyranny is but a door-knock away. They will grow up fearful...and submissive. The rest will be history. 

Yes, the media continues to use the First Amendment as a weapon against the Second Amendment. And therein will lie our very demise as a nation. The unfettered abuse of one right will bring down all rights. 

"Freedom of speech" is being reserved by those who control the medium of such freedom. And it is being restricted, it is being censored. Censored not by the government, but by those who control the broadcast networks. They determine what, when, and HOW anything comes across the airways and into our homes. They tell us what we need to know. We have no voice in our own First Amendment rights in this very important regard. Tuning into another channel is not the answer; they are all on the same road. Turning OFF the television leaves us all in the dark as to what is going on, right or wrong, across our nation. Truthful or not.
PRIME TIME? It is rare to see any pro-Second Amendment "piece" in prime time. Prime time series include many "law enforcement theme" shows. Many "lawyers and doctors" shows. About the only real "American Values" Television series currently being broadcasted is J.A.G. (USA Network's series about the Navy's Judge Advocate Generals Office) 

I've lost count of the number of "scenes" where para-military federales have been portrayed knocking down doors, crashing through windows, and otherwise destroying a dwelling upon entry, all the time pointing their massed assault weapons in a frightfully menacing manner. Often, with more "troops" than the entire neighborhood might contain. 

Yes, we are on a slippery slope. It's steep, and we are gaining momentum downhill. There are no "olive branches" to reach out for, to grab onto; they've been literally blown away by storm-troopers on their way up the hill to our homes and places of business. 

And the only thing waiting this nation at the bottom of this hill is a pit. 

Like all bottoms, this pit will contain nothing but the ashes of our Constitution; the total eradication of our individual liberties and freedoms. 

And we shall not emerge from that pit. It will be our collective grave as a free people.

Anyone wishing to offer a hopeful, brighter vision of our future is welcome to submit such an article here:


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If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws. EDWARD ABBEY

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