Why isn`t the press, state by state, examining the state of our electoral process? Sure, there have been stories, but going into the election we need to know what to expect. We need to know who has been doing what, and who has failed to act.

Ohio has admitted losing votes. There is still no reliable paper trail in some places. How many state highway patrols have been re-educated about making sure they do not keep people away from the polls? How many problems that beset us four years ago have been solved? Where? What are the solutions?

Does the press`s silence about the integrity of our vote seem eerie? Well, here`s what I know as a newspaper editor. It`s a lot cheaper to send your famous faces to a convention, let the politicians yak, and then have some more famous faces yak about the politicians than it is to dig into the electoral mess. So when the media say they have spared no expense to bring you the facts, don`t believe them. They`re sparing themselves the hard work and the money.

They`re covering the election with gewgaws, gimcracks, hype and blather. And in the days following the election, will we wonder whether an election has been stolen? Why isn`t this one of the paramount stories 60 days before we vote?

Oh, we`ve been covering that all along, the editors will say. They can say whatever they want to say, using our airwaves, but they have not been covering the electoral process with diligence, consistency and enterprise. We know that, and so do they. They have not asked the tough questions: who profits, who is in a position to corrupt, what has been done since 2004, where are the vulnerabilities, is there still a danger of police manipulation, as there clearly was in Florida?

We ask the hard question, the networks claim. Yeah, sure you do. The public doesn`t have any more faith in you than it does in Congress, but like Congress you pretend the problem is somewhere else. If the election in November smells as fishy as the election in 2004 did, the press will be as much to blame as anyone else. "


Djelloul Marbrook`s book of poems was selected as the 2007 winner of Kent State University`s Stan and Tom Wick First Book Prize in poetry. The judge was Prof. Toi Derricotte of the University of Pittsburgh. The book, Far from Algiers, was released in August 2008. His short story won the Literal Latté fiction award in the spring of 2008. His poetry appeared in Solstice (UK) and Beyond Baroque (California) in the 1960s but he stopped writing poems until Sept. 11, 2001, when he began walking in Manhattan and writing. His poems have recently been published by Arabesques Literary and Cultural Review, Perpetuum Mobile and Attic (Maryland), and The Country and Abroad (New York).

Far From Algiers