Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Schanberg's Press Clips column: The press gets a second chance on the CIA leak case

Sure do wish the press would get over its back-slapping, cowardistic, narcissistic, stenographic self and take heed of Sydney H. Schanberg's Press Clips column in this week's Village Voice online: "Patching Things Up: The press gets a second chance on the CIA leak case"

"The core of the CIA leak case is the Iraq war. As the press goes about unraveling it, none of us should lose sight of whence it sprung. The war is why the case is important.

The special prosecutor must proceed, appropriately, to deal with the crimes he has cited so far in the case—perjury, obstruction, false witness. But the press has a different job ahead: to probe deeper into and explain how these charged felonies were the direct offspring of the Bush administration's attempt to cover up falsehoods and distortions it told the American public and Congress to scare them into supporting the war. The press's obligation to the public now is to aggressively revisit and brush the cobwebs from those lies, while people are paying better attention than they did during President Bush's selling of the war.

Some in the press didn't confront the lies the first time around. Some were—let's be honest—afraid to take on the White House, unwilling to assume the adversary position. But others did their jobs. When one goes back for a dig into the original coverage, yes, there are too many weed fields of reportorial stenography, but there are also strong examples of solid journalism bearing ample, detailed evidence that the White House was hoodwinking the public.
And as for those reporters back in 2003 who took stenography from the storytellers and failed to examine the contrary evidence that was on the record, they too betrayed the public trust."
[my emphasis in bold]

He doesn't really give any examples of solid journalism at the time (of course I know there were in progressive publications), I just can't think of any offhand in MSM, least of all which appeared on broadcast journalism (and I use that term very very lightly) ... but it's a column worth reading and passing on to every journalist, newspaper, broadcast newsroom you know or can think of. Where's good ole obnoxious Sam Donaldson when you really need him?


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