Rep. Frank speaks on media, state of the country

By Matt Dolloff

In a speech delivered Thursday afternoon, Massachusetts State Representative Barney Frank brought his unique political perspective and sharp wit to Northeastern’s Cargill Hall.

Frank, who has served the 4th District since 1981, spoke on the state of the current US government and several underlying social issues.

A major component of his views was his assessment of the American media, and their influence from conservatives. He called it the “corporatization” of American media.

“They’ve shrunk the amount of space they give to news,” Frank said. “They literally do not cover as much.”

Frank spoke about the Republican Party’s stance against same-sex marriage, which they feel would be disruptive to society.

“They do not like the idea that there are any gay or lesbian people at all,” Frank said.

Frank said he believes the Republican Party has taken its private views, and used governmental processes to impose them on the public.

“It is entirely the successful manipulation by the Republicans from the reaction of 2001,” Frank said of the fear instilled in the American public following September 11 that he said has continued to today.

He says this manipulation has led to a decrease in appreciation of people for the role of government, and that putting them in control would be like “putting me in charge of choosing Miss Universe.”

Frank also spoke on the war in Iraq, which he believes will soon lose more support than it has already. The problem, he says, is overspending.

“We’re still spending money on weapons that were designed to defeat the Soviet Union, like the stealth bomber,” Frank said.

Frank sees President George Bush pulling troops out of Iraq if the Democrats take the majority in Congress.

He believes much less money should be spent on the war and much more on state and local law. They need to be more intrusive, Frank said. He is in favor of giving them more “tools” for enforcement.

As for what else he believes money should be spent on, he is in favor of raising minimum wage, and lowering prices for college. He is in favor of “morality in politics,” and believes liberals need not worry.

“People on the liberal side should be more optimistic,” Frank said. “The public does not buy into this right-wing agenda.”

Though Republicans have been manipulating the media, he feels it’s not as effective today.

Students came to the speech looking for Frank’s stance on today’s issues.

“I’m not registered for either party, but I lean left, mainly because I don’t agree with what the current administration is doing,” said George Stanton, a middler sociology major.

Frank briefly commented on this year’s gubernatorial election. He believes the media has a huge role in who wins and how people will feel.

“The media will over-interpret the results of the election,” Frank said. “More harm is done by people who overdo their job.”

As for who would represent the Democrats in the 2008 presidential race, Frank said it was “too early to tell,” and “if you knew in 1990 that it would be Bill Clinton, I’m impressed.”

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