Sunday, June 18, 2006

In this Administration Journalists are the Enemy, Still ... and Again

Must reads for the week discovered so far include Frank Rich's NYT column wherein "Karl Rove Beats the Democrats Again" and "Kicked Out of Gitmo" by Carol J. Williams of the LA Times who writes:
"...covering Guantanamo means wrangling with a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, with logistics so nonsensical that they turn two hours of reporting into an 18-hour day, with hostile escorts who seem to think you're in league with Al Qaeda...

In the worst of times -- this past week, for example -- those quotidian discomforts can be compounded by .... a Pentagon power play that muzzles already reluctant sources and an unceremonious expulsion to Miami on a military plane, safety-belted onto whatever seat is available. In this case, that seat was the toilet.

....Rumsfeld's gatekeepers have long made clear that they view outside scrutiny of the detention operations as a danger to the Bush administration's secretive and often criticized campaign to indefinitely detain "enemy combatants." But this time, their actions seemed counterproductive because booting out the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald and Charlotte (N.C.) Observer only provoked fresh demands to learn what the government is hiding.

...What little we learn often comes to light by accident.

...It is the opportunity to shed light into the dark corners of the antiterrorism campaign that inspires us to surmount the obstacles and obfuscations. And it is the thwarting of that mission with moves like our expulsion that make us all the more determined to question, probe and illuminate the actions of our government being waged in the country's name."
If only more journalists and stenographers .. er, reporters had been and resolved to remain 'determined to question, probe and illuminate the actions of our government' -- during this administration and every other -- we might be living in a vastly different, safer, more humane, less violent, more transparent society that valued justice for all as a reality instead of pithy, hollow rhetorical jingoism.

Frank Rich writes that "[l]ast week the president was still invoking 9/11 to justify the war in Iraq..." -- meanwhile reporters, pundits, talk show megaphones and corporate conduits masquerading as journalists continue to let such statements pass without so much as a mousely squeak.

On a parallel track -- that of democrats as ineffectual, not doing their jobs either for more than the past 5 years -- Frank Rich nails what the dems continue to be unable to take hold of and act on -- indeed, perhaps they still haven't recognized it, much less acted upon:

"What's most impressive about Mr. Rove, however, is not his ruthlessness, it's his unshakable faith in the power of a story. The story he's stuck with, Iraq, is a loser, but he knows it won't lose at the polls if there's no story to counter it. And so he tells it over and over, confident that the Democrats won't tell their own. And they don't -- whether about Iraq or much else. The question for the Democrats is less whether they tilt left, right or center, than whether they can find a stirring narrative that defines their views, not just the Republicans'.

He also defines Hillary's Conundrum -- which encapsulates, illuminates and has defined the dems' losing strategies for the last two presidential elections -- and likely is predictive of plans for the upcoming congressional one this year unless something within the Democrats 'non-brain' strategists changes drastically. Talk about flailing about with no hopes of rescue in sight.

" long as the Democrats keep repeating their own mistakes, they will lose to the party whose mistakes are, if nothing else, packaged as one heckuva show. It's better to have the courage of bad convictions than no courage or convictions at all."

Williams' excellent LAT piece is here, Rich's full column courtesy of PekingDuck for those of us without full access to the NYT. Again, both are must-reads IMHO.


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