Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

When Journalists Commit “Treason”

There have been recent headlines about the Bush Administration threatening journalists and whistleblowers. Whenever yet another embarrassing spy scheme is uncovered, this administration falls back on the old “the best defense is a good offense” routine.

Instead of being embarrassed or apologetic, these megalomaniacs react with fury and vengeance. Recently Bush saidI come from a long line of blueblooded aristocrats and I don’t have to explain myself. The riffraff doesn't need to know what I’m doingThe disclosure of this program is disgraceful. For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.”

And if you’ve surfed the Internet lately you’ve seen that a lot of rightwing bloggers are faithfully carrying out their orders by echoing this line of “reasoning."

But behind the headlines, the Bush Administration has been even more desperate and ruthless than you’d ever suspect. They are determined to squelch all information about their covert schemes; to delete any notion of openness or accountability. Here is an NPR broadcast from last March on this subject.

Dozens of employees from the CIA and National Security Agency have been investigated — including having to take polygraph tests — for possible leaks about secret CIA prisons and the NSA’s Big Brother Is Watching domestic surveillance program.

A lot of other CIA, FBI and Justice Department employees have been warned not to discuss even unclassified issues relating to the NSA spying program. Some rightwing Republican lawmakers are pushing for tougher penalties against “leakers.”

This is the most blatant anti-media campaign since the Watergate era. The New York Times Executive Editor said “There’s a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public’s business risk being branded traitors. I don’t know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad.”

Most Americans who favor an open and accountable government are appalled by the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo prison scandals, secret wiretapping programs and secret CIA prisons where SUSPECTED terrorists are tortured. (Note the word “SUSPECTED” in the previous sentence.)

Wingnut Republicans, on the other hand, are also appalled and infuriated, but not by the scandals themselves. No, their fury is directed at the journalists and whistleblowers who are daring to bring this secrecy and corruption out into the open.

Former CIA Director Porter Goss said “It is my aim, and it is my hope, that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information.”

These Far Right “My Country Right Or Wrong” types might be living in the wrong country. If they don’t like living in a democracy with an open and accountable government, they should buy a one-way ticket to the police state of their choice. Buh bye.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) is pushing to criminalize leaking a wider range of information than is now covered by law. A similar law was vetoed by former President Clinton and was even opposed in 2002 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Things have gotten pretty dire when John Ashcroft starts looking like the good old days.

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Blogger BaseballStrategies.com said...

great article on treason man. Keep up the fantastic writeups!


June 29, 2006 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Did you notice this time around not a peep about going after the people who leaked the information. No, it is the media's fault for reporting what at least 20 PEOPLE felt they had a moral responsibilty to report.

Now if I am running a newspaper, and 20 PEOPLE report something to me, I think it would be unethical NOT to print what they had to say.

Transparency is the key to a free society.

June 29, 2006 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Branden: Thanks.

Praguetwin: Yup, they just say what's convenient at the moment. It's definitely the moral and ethical thing to do, to report the information they have. Transparency, like you say.

June 29, 2006 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

When times get tough, the White House can always use the media, to make their whipping boy into... well... the media. I guess they feel like it must make things "fair and balanced", to have people hear and read their crooked spin alongside the straight story. They know that Barnum's adage is true, and that their snake oil has suckered lots of people in to their tent. Hey, it works!

I think the Bush admininstration needs to be called out, and often. If they don't like their antics described in the news (and I'm sure they don't because it plants seeds of doubt in voters' minds), then it's always time for them to crank out some more propaganda. When the truth hurts them, they have to combat it, not only with their own brand of "truth", but with name-calling or threats, if necessary.

So, we did something unethical or illegal, and the press is talking about it? Then let's 1) say (over and over and over) we didn't do it, 2) say (over and over and over) the media (and/or the Democratic party) is the problem, and 3) strong-arm a few people so public interest in the matter will quickly die down.

It seems to me that people might get tired of hearing the constant bitching about "the media" by the upper-echelon right-wingers in D.C., at FOX (itself part of the media) and on right-wing talk radio (also part of the media). They might want to watch how much they overuse the "liberal media" schtick. If it sounds like the record is stuck, people might lose interest in the tune and remove the record from the turntable.

I agree that the mainstream media is not doing its job, but not because I think it is a "liberal media". I think the mainstream media ignores important issues or lets them die quickly because it is a "corporate media". The mainstream media is owned by corporations, who naturally do what it takes to keep their bottom line (dollars) healthy. I believe they broadcast what they think will sell, what will entertain. It's what makes people tune in. Government scandal has become something which these days simply isn't as exciting as Brad and Angelina's baby, the Runaway Bride, Michael Jackson, or Natalee Holloway. I believe the mainstream media is irresponsible because it chooses to tell us about these things instead of things far more important in the total scheme of things.

Instead of continuing to use the term "liberal media" to describe the mainstream media, let's use the term "corporate media" to describe the mainstream media for what it REALLY is.

No more obfuscation... let's be honest here. "Liberal media" has worked well for quite some time, because use of the term has convinced millions of people to not even consider that the media might be driven by something as base as MONEY. Hell, forget the politics... these are businesses, and they have to make money! People who work in the mainstream media are not all "liberals" out to brainwash the public... they are people who are out to MAKE MONEY!! Publishing and broadcasting are BUSINESS ventures, not something people tend to do because they are wild-eyed leftists trying to subvert our country's government and Constitution.

"Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
A. J. Liebling (1904 - 1963)

Hmmm, let's see. The media is mostly owned by corporations. Which political party do you think corporations are most likely to support? Certainly not the one which might not make it as easy for them to preserve their wealth...

June 30, 2006 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, the "media" makes a convenient whipping boy. And I'm sure the wingnuts miss the irony that they're using the media to slam "the media." P.T. Barnum must be one of Rove's biggest influences.

It's too bad so many people are so gullible, but this tactic sure does work. When the media exposes your own sleazy tricks, blame the media and invoke "national security" and "them," whether "them" means hippies, communists, terrorists, gays or different ethnic groups. Works every time.

And like you say, the "media" is owned by a few large corporations. There's no way they're liberal, or political in any way. The bottom line is their only belief, and they can sell more papers and more ad space by telling us all about runaway brides and Brangelina.

I like your quote that "freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."

June 30, 2006 at 2:13 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks, I do believe that quote just about sums it up perfectly!

July 1, 2006 at 11:44 AM  

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