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Archive for February 10th, 2007

Bad news for the party of powergrabs

Posted by Charles II on February 10, 2007

 Good news for the party of human beings:

 Washington – Sen. Tim Johnson is reading news clippings and starting to do some office work from the hospital, almost two months after suffering a life-threatening brain hemorrhage. “At this point, he has requested more contact with office and is looking for updates from staff,” his office said in a statement Friday.

    Spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said the South Dakota Democrat is starting slowly.

    “We do not anticipate him back (in the Senate) for several weeks,” Fisher said. “We are bringing work to him rather than him coming to us. His first priority still is rehabilitation.”

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In Your Face, Thugs! Part 2: Murtha Calls Their Bluff

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 10, 2007

In a followup to MEC’s post on the subject, here’s Black Jack Murtha showing how it’s done:

Meanwhile, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said on Thursday that he’s planning hearings this spring on executive and congressional travel on military aircraft.


Murtha said he’s requested from the Defense Department records on travel and logistics from the past two years. He asked the Defense Department to hand those over within a month.

“Past two years”, eh?  Why, why — that’s when the Republicans controlled both Houses as well as the White House. 

As a commenter in the Eschaton thread on the subject notes:

From CNN via Media Matters we learn:


“COSTELLO: So, there’s probably more battle to come. We did wonder how Mr. Hastert used military aircraft. Former members of his staff tell us he used the planes only during the legislative session to fly home and back about 80 times a year — Wolf.”


So the House was in session 101 days last year and Hastert flew on that plane 80 of those days?


Can that be right?

Wow.  Looks like Dennis Hastert, then-Speaker of the House,  who one would think would need to be tethered to his gavel at all times while the House was in session, was instead playing hooky four days out of five.

And do note that Murtha’s planned hearings will cover the Executive Branch as well.  You know, all those glorified photo-ops Bush does that are campaign fundraisers in disguise?


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Cranberg Speaks. You Listen.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 10, 2007

I first heard about Gilbert Cranberg during the height of “CoupGate” — aka the GOP/Media Complex’s insane get-Clinton orgy which lasted the better part of the 1990s and which the GOP/Media Complex still clings to like a scag addict clings to his needle.  His “Getting It Wrong on Whitewater” is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand just how badly — and how willfully — America’s corporate press got it wrong.  Anyone who wonders why I keep referring to Upton Sinclair’s most famous utterance need only study the writings of Cranberg, Conason and Lyons on Whitewater to understand.  That is, so long as they’re not paid not to understand. 

 This piece, on the shameful performance of the US media with regard to Iraq, reminds me that I need to put Nieman Watchdog in my blogroll.  A key excerpt: 

The fundamental question: Why did the press as a whole fail to question sufficiently the administration’s case for war?


More specifically:


Q. Why did the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau’s “against-the grain reporting” during the build-up to war receive such “disappointing play,” in the words of its former bureau chief?


Q. Why did the press generally fail to pay more attention to the bureau’s ground-breaking coverage?


Q. Why, on the eve of war, did the Washington Post’s executive editor reject a story by Walter Pincus, its experienced and knowledgeable national security reporter, that questioned administration claims of hidden Iraqi weapons and why, when the editor reconsidered, the story ran  on Page 17?


Q. Why did the Post, to the “dismay” of the paper’s ombudsman, bury in the back pages or miss stories that challenged the administration’s version of events? Or, as Pincus complained, why did Post editors go “through a whole phase in which they didn’t put things on the front page that would make a difference” while, from August 2002 to the start of the war in March 2003, did the Post, according to its press critic, Howard Kurtz, publish “more than 140 front-page stories that focused heavily on administration rhetoric against Iraq”?


Q. Why did Michael Massing’s critique of Iraq-war coverage, in the New York Review of Books, conclude that “The Post was not alone. The nearer the war drew, and the more determined the administration seemed to wage it, the less editors were willing to ask tough questions. The occasional critical stories that did appear were…tucked well out of sight.”


Q. Why did the New York Times and others parrot administration claims about Iraq’s acquisition of aluminum tubes for nuclear weapons when independent experts were readily available to debunk the claims?


Q. Why did the Times’s Thomas E. Friedman and other foreign affairs specialists, who should have known better, join the “let’s-go-to-war” chorus?


Q. Why was a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace accusing the administration of misusing intelligence by misrepresenting and distorting it given two paragraphs in the Times and 700 words in the Post (but deep inside), with neither story citing the report’s reference to distorted and misrepresented intelligence?


Q. Why did Colin Powell’s pivotal presentation to the United Nations receive immediate and overwhelming press approval despite its evident weaknesses and even fabrications?


Q. Why did the British press, unlike its American counterpart, critically dissect the speech and regard it with scorn?


Q. Why did the Associated Press wait six months, when the body count began to rise, to distribute a major piece by AP’s Charles Hanley challenging Powell’s evidence and why did Hanley say how frustrating it had been until then to break through the self-censorship imposed by his editors on negative news about Iraq?

Why, indeed.

Cranberg suggests convening a group of social scientists to study what went wrong.  I suggest that one need merely contrast how the press actively fought against what they called Clinton’s “wag the dog” military interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo with the pathetic lapdog eagerness which they signed onto Bush’s far bigger (and far less justified) full-scale war, invasion, and occupation of Iraq.   Then one needs to examine the big tax and regulatory breaks given to media corporations over the past few decades by the GOP, beginning with the abolishing of the Fairness Doctrine by Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Which again, brings me back to Upton Sinclair

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it!

Posted in beat the press, BushCo malfeasance, distractions, Doug Feith, GOP bullying, GOP/Media Complex, Iraq war, madness of King George, mediawhores, Upton Sinclair | Comments Off on Cranberg Speaks. You Listen.

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