McClellan: Bush DID Authorize NIE Leak, Plamegate

The Scott McClellan story implicates the president with such red hands, it almost seems like the White House will be set on fire by it’s two-term disaster of a tenant solely to incinerate all of the evidence. I exaggerate, of course. But on several talk shows today, one day after Politico.com leaked the juiciest bits from his upcoming autobiography, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” McLellan said what he never had a chance to explain to the press or even Patrick Fitzgerald: Bush personally and explicitly authorized Cheney and Libby to anonymously leak the bogus 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on WMD in Iraq to select members of the media such as Judith Miller, Matt Cooper, and Robert Novak:

Continue reading “McClellan: Bush DID Authorize NIE Leak, Plamegate”

Jack Fuller on Free Expression Theory and the Tribune’s ‘Waterboarding’ Blunders

When Jack Fuller pens an op-ed in the Tribune criticizing the media, it’s worth taking note. Fuller was the president of Tribune Company’s publishing group until late 2004 after working his way up through the reporting ranks and editing ranks over 30+ years at the Tribune.

But I couldn’t help but note the irony today, that soon after listening to On the Media‘s lead piece examining newspapers’ definition of “waterboarding” — I stumbled upon Fuller’s “News sells more opinion, at cost of sincerity” in the Trib.

“The concern with large news media corporations has been that they would stifle diversity of political opinion,” wrote Fuller. He picks on MSNBC’s and FOX News’ commercialization of political opinion slanted “toward whatever attracts a crowd.”

Now, with the fragmentation of media and audience, there is no clear commercial argument against presenting the news with a point of view.

But there remains an atmosphere of politicization and “stifling” in print, take for example the Chicago Tribune’s definition of “waterboarding” as explained on the aforementioned On the Media very uncomfortably and definisively by deputy editor Randy Weissman:

Our official definition is — effective today — “an interrogation technique that simulates drowning a prisoner, comma, creating the sensation of imminent death.”

OK. Just as inefficient a definition as the New York Times (“simulated drowning”) or the LA Times (“an interrogation technique simulating drowning that dates to the Spanish Inquisition”) but its his awkward defense that seems to reveal political motivation behind using “simulate” and “sensation.”

Weissman:

Simply put, if you look in Webster’s, drowning is death, and waterboarding would only fit that definition if, if the prisoner died. Ask most people if a person drowns what happens, you — I would be willing to bet you that they would say he died.

Even after On the Media host Brooke Gladstone reiterated that drownING is the gerund and surely someone who is drowning can still be saved, Weissman blamed the politicization of the Trib’s semantics on Webster’s (where the gerund is not defined):

Well, I will go along with Webster’s New World Dictionary, which says “to die by suffocation in water or other liquid.”

Continue reading “Jack Fuller on Free Expression Theory and the Tribune’s ‘Waterboarding’ Blunders”

OBL: Still Kicking Our Ass

static on your TVI wish I could remember September 11, 2001 for the tragedy that took thousands of American lives in horrific terrorist attacks. But all I can think about is:

What if — after years of tracking and nearly capturing the man (before giving up last year) — Osama bin Laden was captured/arrested within days of the attacks he masterminded? How incredibly different our cultural, media, military and political landscape would be…. perhaps….

Certainly George W. Bush would be a genuinely proud man, not the facetious, naive, and stubborn loser he will always be remembered as. In last week’s video, bin Laden dissed the U.S. for not just losing Iraq, but making it worse. You’d expect this to inspire rage within President Bush, however, somehow the fool interpreted these remarks as vindication for his planless obsession with staying in Iraq. Instead of vowing to find bin Laden, or imploring the public to ignore him outright, our foolish leader scratched his chin and opined: “I found it interesting that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists.” Bush’s team’s only defense was to somehow take away from the video that the healthy and in control bin Laden was “virtually impotent.” There’s no way these people possibly see themselves in the mirror each day… talk about “virtually impotent.”

It is downright shameful to see military leadership (Crocker & Petraeus) pawned as spokesman promoting the most implausible and ridiculous “strategy” of beginning to withdraw the additional 30,000 troops that were sent earlier this year by the middle of next year and trying to spin it as “progress.” Their “successes” are defined by unsourced PowerPoint‘s and hardly challenged by Congress or the lapdog media. Even George Will did the math and is left scratching his head: Send in 30,000 troops on cost-plus missions, begin redeploying them 15 months later after incurring more losses and attaining absolutely no political stability and call it “progress?”

Yes, the entire world wants to kick us today as OBL carries on with his terror and pokes fun at how America has fucked so much shit up around the world in the name of one pithy terrorist attack. Sure we haven’t been attacked since, but we also tend to forget the numerous attacks that have taken place in Europe, the UK and elsewhere, like in Algeria, where suddenly suicide bombings are the new hip thing among teenagers. Plain and simple, OBL isn’t lying when he broadcasts his disturbing propaganda. Meanwhile the Petraeuses and Crockers are only kidding themselves, and, by extension, us.

Let’s begin again.

turn off the damn tv and stop the war

Moyers’ ‘Buying the War’

Bill Moyers is back on PBS tonight with ‘Buying the War’. In 2005, then-Corporation for Public Broadcasting president Ken Tomlinson bent over backwards for the Bush Administration and hired media researchers that would determine an “imbalance” in PBS’ programming. He repeatedly accused Moyers of “liberal bias” on his popular show “Now with Bill Moyers” and soon enough, the esteemed Moyers said buh-bye. Around the same time, Congress cut funding to the CPB, the primary funder of PBS and NPR, by 45%. (Annenberg’s own Ernie Wilson currently serves on the CPB board).

‘Buying the War’ airs tonight at 9 PDT and may be available online afterwards — as usual, the PBS site is already chock-full-of extra interviews, a blog, etc.

WaPo’s TV critic Tom Shales wrote:

Tonight’s edition of ‘Bill Moyers Journal’ on PBS is one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling…. In this 90-minute report, called ‘Buying the War,’ Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.

More to come after it airs (9 PDT out west) Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse at bloggers’ reactions around the Web:

UPDATE: Moyers is great, as is Rather, who is featured throughout (and to whom I gave much love last month). I’ve been hearing these same references — Landay/Strobel, etc — it makes me cringe. Surely, the refrain will ring out long after this war is behind us. Larisa, who feared Russert was about to go all fetal-position, posted a succinct, 8-point review of the program here.