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Your American Media At Work

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2007


(Guess which one of these DC prostitutes once had a White House press pass?)

Pull up a chair, grab the beverage of your choice, and settle in for a bit. This will take a while:

Jon Aravosis catches the AP pulling yet another Pravda on Bush’s behalf:

Why does the media insist on repeating as truth whatever crap the Bush administration tells them? Yes, AP just published a story saying that military leaders now claim, magically, that the budget impasse over Iraq will hurt our troops right now (I’m not linking to the story – won’t give the Bushies what they want, and sure as hell am not giving the AP’s yellow journalism any publicity). Too bad that we already know this to be a total lie. And too bad that AP reporter Lolita Baldor didn’t even bother putting in her story the fact that we already know DOD has enough money to last it a good several months.

[PW adds: For more debunked Iraq bill myths, go here.]

— Here’s how we know that the Deborah Jeane Palfrey story is really scaring the Republicans and the Bush White House: ABC’s Brian Ross, who helped TPM (now ABC) journo Justin Rood break the Palfrey news, apparently feels the need to throw up some Republican-appeasing “balance”, in the form of yet another totally untrue “But Democrats do it tooooo!” story.

Frank Rich gets it right:

Somehow it’s hard to imagine David Halberstam yukking it up with Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz and two discarded “American Idol” contestants at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Before there was a Woodward and Bernstein, there was Halberstam, still not yet 30 in the early 1960s, calling those in power to account for lying about our “progress” in Vietnam. He did so even though J.F.K. told the publisher of The Times, “I wish like hell that you’d get Halberstam out of there.” He did so despite public ridicule from the dean of that era’s Georgetown punditocracy, the now forgotten columnist (and Vietnam War cheerleader) Joseph Alsop.

It was Alsop’s spirit, not Halberstam’s, that could be seen in C-Span’s live broadcast of the correspondents’ dinner last Saturday, two days before Halberstam’s death in a car crash in California. This fete is a crystallization of the press’s failures in the post-9/11 era: it illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows. Such is literally the case at the annual dinner, where journalists serve as a supporting cast, but it has been figuratively true year-round. The press has enabled stunts from the manufactured threat of imminent “mushroom clouds” to “Saving Private Lynch” to “Mission Accomplished,” whose fourth anniversary arrives on Tuesday. For all the recrimination, self-flagellation and reforms that followed these journalistic failures, it’s far from clear that the entire profession yet understands why it has lost the public’s faith.


It’s our country’s bitter fortune that while David Halberstam is gone, too many Joe Alsops still hold sway. Take the current dean of the Washington press corps, David Broder, who is leading the charge in ridiculing Harry Reid for saying the obvious — that “this war is lost” (as it is militarily, unless we stay in perpetuity and draft many more troops). In February, Mr. Broder handed down another gem of Beltway conventional wisdom, suggesting that “at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback.”

Some may recall that Stephen Colbert offered the same prediction in his monologue at the correspondents’ dinner a year ago. “I don’t believe this is a low point in this presidency,” he said. “I believe it is just a lull before a comeback.” But the fake pundit, unlike the real one, recognized that this was a joke.

— Why does the work of the US press suck so badly in general? The BBC’s Greg Palast has this to say about that:

I know some of the reasons why investigative reporting is on the decline. To begin with, investigations take time and money. A producer from “60 Minutes,” watching my team’s work on another voter purge list, said: “My God! You’d have to make hundreds of calls to make this case.” In America’s cash-short, instant-deadline world, there’s not much room for that.

Are there still aggressive, talented investigative reporters in the U.S.? There are hundreds. I’ll mention two: Seymour Hersh, formerly of the New York Times, and Robert Parry, formerly of the Associated Press, who uncovered the Iran-Contra scandal. The operative word here is “formerly.” Parry tells me that he can no longer do this kind of investigative work within the confines of a U.S. daily newsroom.

One of the biggest disincentives to doing investigative journalism is that it jeopardizes future access to politicians and corporate elite. During the I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby trial, the testimony of Judith Miller and other U.S. journalists about the confidences they were willing to keep in order to maintain access seemed to me sadly illuminating.

Expose the critters and the door is slammed. That’s not a price many American journalists are willing to pay.

It’s different in Britain. After the 2000 election, when Harris’ lawyer refused to respond to our evidence, my BBC producer made sure I chased him down the hall waving the damning documents. That’s one sure way to end “access.”

[PW adds: Of course, one reason that the Beeb journos don’t worry about “access” is that unlike our broadcasting systems (public and private), the BBC’s funding doesn’t depend on maintaining the goodwill of corporate advertisers or the politicians bought by those advertisers. They get their money from a yearly license fee which is so far sacrosanct, though an enraged Tony Blair has made stabs at undoing it.]

12 Responses to “Your American Media At Work”

  1. Mark Richards said

    I once complained during a family gathering about an interview of Bush that we were watching: “why does the questioner allow him to get away with that”. “That” being one of many bold lies.

    On of the guests said, “because that journalist will never again be able to interview him”. I replied, “So what. No great loss. But at least the truth will be told.”

    Like politicians who have known what the jig is for a long time and refused to reveal it, so too some journalists. They know their future success depends on “access” and should they bite the hand that feeds them, or call the hand, it’s over.

    Does this argument not lower both politicians and journalists from their perceived high calling of serving Americans and the truth to one of being a bunch of litter upon the heap of history? If you want to serve yourself, choose a profession like American business, which prides itself on slashing and burning your way to the top. Being a “professional” journalist is both entitling and confers some responsibility to pursue the truth, no matter where it leads.

    So where are the real journalists in America? Do we truly only have a handful?

  2. mark said

    Let’s not forget Murray Waas. (Thank goodness for him!) But it’s the blogs and the “Internets” that are going to either compel “professional” newspeople to get with the program or be rendered irrelevant.

    There’s also the issue of scandal saturation.

  3. Batocchio said

    Nice analysis, PW. I really like Rich’s Alsop vs. Halberstam analogy. As to the line on Parry – ouch. Newspapers still break most important stories in the States, but many of them have slashed their investigative budgets and/or closed their foreign bureaus. Independently-owned papers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post are typically several notches above in the quality of their coverage (despite their flaws, which can be severe), but even they are feeling the crunch. The BBC system has its own flaws and stumbles but overall their coverage is quite good. In the States, more robust and secure funding for PBS and NPR (with firewalls against takeover moves by Rove and his ilk) could help the situation.

  4. Ciaran said

    See Carole Coleman’s interview of Bush. Made me proud.

  5. Ciarán said

    You can find it here

    There’s an interesting piece in her book about how she was treated afterwards.

  6. Mark said

    *rotflmao* who in their right mind believes that the very liberal and anti-American AP would do anything for GWB? Get a clue. You might as well say that Rueters is an honest photo-news outlet. That would be more credible.

    As for the Beeb, it does not have to maintain any moral, ethical, journalistic standards as it has no one to answer to. Pffft, don’t tell me that they could lose funding. They are like PBS, firmly entrenched and with many backers who want to destroy the US.

    What I find ironic is that the biggest whiners on this issue are the ones who have attacked the administration on a daily basis. Only when their nutty ideas became indefensible to the left not in the nutroots were they pushed out.

    In the Beebs mind attacking Christians, Americans (not liberal ones), Conservatives, and anyone who has a real job is consedered “investigative”. If you don’t pander to the left, you are considered a rube.

    How sad that so many are so blind.

  7. Got any cites, Mark? Can you prove any of your assertions? I take care to provide evidence and cites for my assertions; how about you? Do you have the guts to do that?

    Of course not, because like almost all right-wingers, you are a coward. And you know you’re wrong.

    C’mon, we’re waiting.

  8. Jasaka said

    I guess my question is this. The people rely on the news and therefore it affords journalists a certain level of power. Why have they not joined forces and chosen instead to not be denied? Why would they instead choose to be puppets in a very sad show put on by a ill-intentioned horribly disfigured puppeteer?

  9. […] so love it when the lefties say the media is biased to GWB. […]

  10. Mark said

    So Phoenix, if I post a bunch of cites that are biased to my view point does that prove my point? [hint: that is what you have done]

    Just because some moonbat says something, does not make it true or even fact.

    Oh and the biggest users of prostitutes in D.C.? Liberals. They are far more concerned about it than Bush. The difference is that Bush will get rid of anyone connected with this tramp. Democrats will reward them with more money, better jobs, and support of all sorts.

  11. […] Your American Media At Work [image][image] (Guess which one of these DC prostitutes once had a White House press pass?) Pull up a chair, gra […]

  12. Gee, Mark, if you were an honest person and actually read and followed the links in my post, you’d be forced to admit that I was right. But you won’t. But thanks for the site traffic!

    By the way: I intend to take your first post and dissect it on the main page just so everyone can see just how deceitful you are. This is going to be fun!

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