I’ve been trying to avoid the Charlie Sheen issue, but I’m too bothered by the media’s turpitude to keep silent. Does anyone writing for a mainstream news agency realize that in 2006 Charlie Sheen appeared on the popular Jimmy Kimmel Live show to accuse President Bush and the U.S. government of carrying out and covering up the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers in 2001? You wouldn’t know it from reading recent reports or from watching Dateline NBC’s hour-long show on Sheen’s emotional decline. Since 2006, Sheen has recorded videos and written letters clarifying his position on this issue, even drafting a letter to Obama in 2009 asking for an investigation into the “Bush cover up.” Sheen has claimed that the government used the 9/11 attacks “as the pretext for the systematic dismantling of our Constitution and Bill of Rights”; that the administration of former president George W. Bush was behind the attacks, which they were then able to use to justify an invasion of Iraq; and that Osama Bin Laden was working with the CIA up until 9/11. Sheen, in short, joined the maniacal “9/11 Truther” movement, explaining in his letter to president Obama that “We cannot allow governments to continue to advance their political agendas by exploiting forged pretexts.”
Needless to say, this story received very little attention in the United States media. It appeared nowhere near the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal, and where it did appear, it was buried. One hopes this is for the very good reason that it doesn’t matter what Hollywood wackos say about anything, especially politics. More likely, its absence from the front pages reflects the media not wanting to draw attention to a view point that they see as just slightly off the mark, a wee bit too extreme in its invocation of “conspiracy” to be taken seriously, but nevertheless on the right track.
Liberals, in fact, have great sympathy for any narrative in which the 9/11 attacks are seen as, in some grand way, America’s fault, and as the gateway to the militarily aggressive, anti-terror policies of the Bush administration. Remember, the media didn’t report when “9/11 Truther” Van Jones was appointed to the powerful government post of “Green Jobs Czar” by Obama. For the mainstream media, this just wasn’t something they thought the United States public would want to know about a government official. It was left to “right-wing wacko” Glen Beck to scoop the media on the Van Jones story, after which the Czar was forced to resign. If not for Beck, Jones would today be handing out carbon emission waivers to companies he’d been able to shake down.
So the media’s faux fascination with the craziness of Charlie Sheen is contrived. There was quite a bit of evidence that Charlie Sheen was a mad man before his recent, drug-induced mental breakdown. But the media was uninterested when the madness included the vocalization of a view point that could only damage a cause they deem vital: the continuing demonization of George W. Bush.
Even so, last week, when Dateline NBC visited with Sheen for a whole week, when they supposedly gave tens of millions of viewers the inside scoop on all that is Charlie Sheen, when they scrupulously waded through his life and career and slow descent into madness, nowhere did Sheen’s involvement with the “Truthers” appear. For the producers of Dateline, believing that America attacked itself on 9/11 just doesn’t tell you anything important enough to report about a person’s character.