Jewish World Review July 30, 2001 / 10 Menachem-Av, 5761

Bill O'Reilly

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The big picture on Condit-Levy -- NOT since the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. has so much TV news time been spent on reporting so little. Dan Rather is right, if you just look at the surface of the Gary Condit-Chandra Levy story: Young girl disappears, older lover lies about sex, authorities can't find her. End of story for Dan and many other traditional journalists.

But there's far more to this story than that. This is a tale about class, power and apathy.

Congressman Condit chose to not help an American family in anguish. When Chandra disappeared on May 1, the Levy family was confused and concerned. They needed every bit of information they could get to at least put things into perspective. Did their daughter take a trip? Or was her disappearance more sinister? It took the Levys six days before calling the police -- they kept hoping Chandra would show up.

Phone records show that Chandra Levy called Gary Condit several times on a secret line shortly before she disappeared. Surely the Levy family has a right to know what those calls were about.

But the congressman kept silent, preferring to protect his reputation rather than inform police about the phone calls Chandra made to him before her strange disappearance. It took the Washington, D.C., cops three interviews before Condit admitted to his close relationship with Chandra.

If you were related to this missing young woman, how would you feel about Condit's actions?

Would you justify them as some have done, citing privacy? Would you ignore them, as Dan Rather seems to be doing? Or would you get angry and want the world to condemn the congressman?

If one of the Bush daughters or Chelsea Clinton disappeared and Gary Condit held back information about it, do you think Dan Rather would ignore the situation? Do you think Condit's peers in Congress would clam up about his behavior? You know the answer to those questions. So why are the Levys any different than the Bushes or the Clintons?

The answer lies in how the powerful treat working-class Americans. The Levys are just an everyday family. Condit knew they had no clout and was not afraid to put his own self-interest above their desperate need. The elite media considers the Levys part of the "masses." Their pain and concerns are not as important as families who have power and influence.

This is so wrong it is painful. A congressman has callously and calculatingly abused an American family, and some powerful editors don't see it as an important story? If that isn't classism, I don't know what is. Unfortunately, alert Americans are used to seeing this kind of stuff. The power brokers that control much of the media are simply not interested in the little guy or the little family.

Let me ask you a series of questions: Could crack houses exist in Georgetown? Would the good citizens of Beverly Hills tolerate a decaying high school? Could the Crips and Bloods roam the streets of Nantucket, Conn.? You know the answer to those questions as well. The press would be all over those situations.

The elite media in this country should be ashamed. They pay lip service to the plight of the working class, but never dirty their hands with their actual lives. That would be unsavory, and not popular at the swank cocktail parties in Manhattan or South Hampton. Why bother emphasizing the Condit story if it's just an ordinary family that's getting hurt? Where's the importance in that?

All Americans should be furious with Gary Condit for not helping the Levys. The media and our elected officials should be clamoring for him to resign simply on that basis. But that is not even close to happening.

So once again our leaders and the elite media are showing us exactly who they are. Don't let this lesson pass you by. Remember.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and The Completely Ridiculous in American Life. Comments by clicking here.


07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate