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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Friday, May 27, 2005

Assault On the Media

E. J. Dionne Jr. has written an article for the Washington Post, titled "Assault On the Media" in which he does a pretty solid job in playing the victim card. The poor media is under attack. That's what a true blue liberal does -play the part of a victim.

E.J. says that the FBI has "documents showing that detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, complained about the mistreatment of the Koran....................."

Yeh, like the one case in which an interrogator stacked two Korans on a television set. Oh, my God! I am sure (to borrow a popular refrain) that this is probably one of the worst things you could do....................................ya da, ya da ya da.

The documents specifically include an allegation from a prisoner that guards had "flushed a Koran in the toilet."

And yesterday, Pentagon officials said investigators have identified five incidents of "mishandling" the Koran by military guards and investigators. It was the first time Pentagon officials had acknowledged mistreatment of the Muslim holy book, though they insisted that the episodes were minor and occurred in the Guantanamo facility's early days.

He complains of the Bush administration's furious assault against Newsweek. I don't recall it being all that furious, folks. To denounce a story that they say is not accurate, to say that it does not help our cause, to ask them for a correction, and to be more careful with what they report, constitutes a furious attack? Pull..lleeeeze!! Talk about thin-skinned.

Let's be clear: Newsweek originally reported that an internal military investigation had "confirmed" infractions alleged in "internal FBI e-mails." The documents made public Wednesday include only an allegation from a prisoner about the flushing of the Koran, and the Pentagon insisted that the same prisoner, reinterviewed on May 14, couldn't corroborate his earlier claim.

The war on Newsweek shifted attention away from how the Guantanamo prisoners have been treated, how that treatment has affected the battle against terrorism and what American policies should be. Newsweek-bashing also furthered a long-term and so far successful campaign by the administration and the conservative movement to dismiss all negative reports about their side as the product of some entity they call "the liberal media."

If the administration had been as successful in this endeavor as E.J. claims, there wouldn't' be ANY news (real or not/ fake but accurate) since negative news is all they report.

He fears that "too many people in traditional journalism are becoming dangerously defensive in the face of a brilliantly conceived (i.e. Karl Rove - H.H.) conservative attack on the independent media."

Heh, heh. (Trying to withhold laughter.)

Conservative academics have long attacked "postmodernist" philosophies for questioning whether "truth" exists at all and claiming that what we take as "truths" are merely "narratives" woven around some ideological predisposition. Today's conservative activists have become the new postmodernists. They shift attention away from the truth or falsity of specific facts and allegations -- and move the discussion to the motives of the journalists and media organizations putting them forward. Just a modest number of failures can be used to discredit an entire enterprise.

(emphasis mine - H.H.)

Not unlike when the liberal media uses the same incident over and over again where prisoners "complained about the mistreatment of the Koran" as if to say to us to believe, for example, that the same one incident complained about by, lets say, 200 detainees is actually worse than having that same one incident complained about by only one detainee.

Of course journalists make mistakes, sometimes stupid ones. Dan Rather should not have used those wacky documents in reporting on President Bush's Air National Guard service. Newsweek has been admirably self-critical about what it sees as its own mistakes on the Guantanamo story. Anonymous sources are overused. Why quote a nameless conservative saying a particular columnist is "an idiot liberal" when many loyal right-wingers could be found to say the same thing even more colorfully on the record?

I think E. J. gets sidetracked here with that sarcastic comment.

But this particular anti-press campaign is not about Journalism 101. It is about Power 101. It is a sophisticated effort to demolish the idea of a press independent of political parties..................
(bwwwaaaa.....ha....haaaaahaaaaaaaa.....can't.... stop.... laughing.....)
..... by way of discouraging scrutiny of conservative politicians in power. By using bad documents, Dan Rather helped Bush, not John Kerry, because Rather gave Bush's skilled lieutenants the chance to use the CBS mistake to close off an entire line of inquiry about the president. In the case of Guantanamo, the administration, for a while, cast its actions as less important than Newsweek's.

When the press fails, it should be called on the carpet. But when the press confronts a politically motivated campaign of intimidation, its obligation is to resist -- and to keep reporting.

We can only wish.


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