SOLOMON: If Big-name Journalists Became Truth-telling Rappers

The news that actor Warren Beatty might run for president in 2000 has raised eyebrows across the country. Starring in "Bulworth" last year, he portrayed a senator who began to speak disturbing truths in the form of rap lyrics. But what if today's leading journalists followed the example that Beatty set in the movie? They might sound something like this:DAN RATHER: "I like to tell the public how it pains me so -- to be more superficial and keep racking up the dough. Even if the business guys really are to blame, I'm sure to do my share to make the evening news inane."LARRY KING: "The glitzy stuff is grist for my next few mill. You may not like it, but lots of other viewers will."BARBARA WALTERS: "Princess Di and Monica and second JFK -- they made me feel so weepy, but the grief was sure to pay."BOB WOODWARD: "Political gossip, that's my beat. Colleagues call me great, I get caviar to eat. Could rest on laurels, but wouldn't dare -- there's a lot more to gain from the trivia out there."COKIE ROBERTS: "Born and bred in the pundit patch, I utter easy notions with great dispatch. Every spectrum has a center, every player has a price. If you want to stick my neck out, I have to say no dice."GEORGE WILL: "To this deplorable level I will not descend. To be so rhythmic while a rhymester -- may heaven forfend! We are elite guardians of fine European values. How dare people drag us down pathological avenues?"JIM LEHRER: "On the `NewsHour' tonight, more of the world's woes. We tell you what the wise ones think -- and that's the way it goes. So I don't want to hear from those who whine and moan. Our underwriters say we got some corporate messages to hone."BRIT HUME: "I love to tell you all the news on Fox TV. My boss man Rupert Murdoch is cool as he can be. He pays me piles of money for tilting to the right. And if you sound progressive, you'll really get a fight."MATT DRUDGE: "They call me sludge and other names, but they can go to hell. I got my start with lots of help from Newsweek and AOL. Call me sleazy, call me false and wacky if you must. But I don't care -- I'll get my share and later win your trust."MARK SHIELDS, AL HUNT, ROBERT NOVAK and MARGARET CARLSON: "We're on the show each week, but the jokes are not so funny. CNN dubbed us `The Capital Gang' -- but that name refers to money."JOHN STOSSEL: "As an ABC reporter, I've got lots of clout. Greed is full of virtues, I have no doubt. Evangelist for deregulation, that's my calling -- I laugh when all those losers scream and then start bawling."WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY: "For lo half a century, my wisdom has ascended. From newsprint columns and public TV, rigid conservatism I have defended. But even I, with nose atilt, cannot persuade you all. Still it warms my heart that nonbelievers are riding for a fall."TOM BROKAW: "I can tell a story real quick -- gets so simplistic it might make you sick. On the tube, footage trumps a thousand words. General Electric owns NBC, and I'm running with the herds."TED KOPPEL: "Reporting from Washington for ABC News, I surely know that even power brokers get the blues. I am proud to call Henry Kissinger my friend. We like the Ten Commandments, but number six we must amend."MICHAEL KINSLEY: "They've called me a pundit on the left, that's quite a laugh. Kind of like touting a small horse as a big giraffe. But it's no mystery how such a thing can be. After all, I'm no leftist but I play one on TV."SAM DONALDSON: "Now hold on there Mr. President -- that's my line. When they paint him up, I might be there with turpentine. I'm a network correspondent, that's plain for you to see. So let's pretend that corporate bucks have no effect on me."Norman Solomon's latest book is "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media."

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