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by Rod Amis

Dear Keith,

First of all, congratulations on your raings victories over Bill O (your cute abbreviation of Fox News's Bill O'Reilly's name, which we all love.) You have gotten major press about this status just as your contract negotiations are coming up. You and your agent must be in Hog Heaven.

Also Keith, you have to admit that your news commentary essays directed at the Bush Administration and subsequently featured on YouTube and all over the blogosphere, have not hurt one bit. Which is why I'm writing to you today. You see, Keith, I admire the serious essays you've produced this year. But they are out of step with the rest of your show, "The Countdown."

For example, your daily Worst Person in the World, Oddball and Keeping Tabs features are probably big winners for your show, much as the faux news part of "Saturday Night Live" is now a perennial. But I have to admit they personally make me squirm. I feel like I'm watching the E! channel or some similar tripe. Sorry.

Now, Keith, I understand that the premise of "The Countdown" is to provide a different look at the top five, as determined by you and your editorial staff, news stories of the day. I accept that that is a formula that has worked for you. What I'm writing to quibble about, beside the tripe features, is your criteria for determining those top news stories.

Because I've had a very rough month, Keith, I've done what I suspect many Americans do - immerse myself in the mindless prattling of the Idiot Box in order not to focus too much on my own personal suffering. In the process, I've seen a LOT of your show and other newscasts and come away with a few bits of information I'd like to share with you all. (Though this letter is addressed to you, Keith - because I admire you - I hope you'll share its insights, if you deem them as such, with some of your colleagues, even competitors.)

1 - It has been recently discovered that America is not the center of the universe and that Iraq and things related to it are not the only newsworthy events of the day.

You know what I hear whenever I tune into broadcast these days, Keith? Here's an example: "Iraq... Irag... The war in Iraq... Something happened in Europe today, I think... Iraq, Iraq, Iraq... "

2 - Important news is happening in places other than Iraq even as I type this to you. I know the producers of your show might be telling you otherwise, Keith, but don't listen to them! They are corporate stooges who believe that all those of us out here in Mudville think about is the war in Iraq. That is not true.

For example, Ketih, the country right next door, to the south of us, Mexico? There's a lot of news going on there, Keith. There's been a major popular uprising going on in the state of Oaxaca for month now. Imagine the great camera shots you could get out of there! It bleeds almost as much as Iraq right now, Keith - even if you wouldn't know it watching most broadcast news today. It threatens the stability of a country already teetering, too, Keith.

Did you hear they had an electoral crisis in Mexico, too? It is so bad, they had to swear in the man who claims to have won the election, Calderon, AT MIDNIGHT, Keith, for fear of a riot in Mexico City. Meanwhile, his challenger, Lopez Obrador, still claims he won the election and vows to fight on to be recognized. Talk about your hot new story!

What I'm saying is, Mexico is right next door to the United States but you couldn't tell that by watching your news program or many others, Keith. I'm writing to you because I believe you are one of the people who can change that.

I know, I know: right after you get your new contract.

Thanks for listening,

Rod Amis
G21: The World's Magazine

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