Well, much as we’d like to have ignored politics forever, the absurdity of modern life keeps drawing us back like a chocoholic to an Oreo cookie.
The latest is how the blogosphere and web are alive with the sound of music. No, that’s not right. They’re raging infernos of outrage directed against the media for failing to adequately cover the Downing Street memo–proving once and for all that reporters, most of whom work for mega-conglomerates where wealthy contributors to the Bush Bubble Machine sit astride the Constitution as if it were a porta-potty.
Whew…what a sentence. Read that one again.
If that were all, I’d go back to sleep, but a Frank Rich editorial in last Sunday’s New York Times is the real story. (Since the Times won’t let you in unless you’ve got a subscription, I’ll liberally steal from his article.)
Basically, Rich argues that the current Administration’s muzzling and intimidation of the press makes Nixon & his band of wild and crazy guys look like a bunch of contestants on “American Idol” — that testament to the coming Fall of the American Empire. But I digress.
Here’s Rich talking about how Bush & the Bushettes are handling the First Amendment, and look who he cites:
- The fundamental right of Americans, through our free press, to penetrate and criticize the workings of our government is under attack as never before’ was how the former Nixon speech writer William Safire put it on this page almost nine months ago. The current administration, a second-term imperial presidency that outstrips Nixon’s in hubris by the day, leads the attack, trying to intimidate and snuff out any Woodwards or Bernsteins that might challenge it, any media proprietor like Katharine Graham or editor like Ben Bradlee who might support them and any anonymous source like Deep Throat who might enable them to find what Carl Bernstein calls ‘the best obtainable version of the truth.
The media aren’t liberals–they’re wimps.
- The attacks continue to be so successful that even now, long after many news organizations, including The Times, have been found guilty of failing to puncture the administration’s prewar W.M.D. hype, new details on that same story are still being ignored or left uninvestigated. [RE: the Downing Street memo] In the 19 daily Scott McClellan briefings that followed, the memo was the subject of only 2 out of the approximately 940 questions asked by the White House press corps. This is the kind of lapdog news media the Nixon White House cherished.
The main difference is that in the Nixon White House, the president’s men plotted behind closed doors. The current Administration is now so brazen it does its dirty work in plain sight.
In the most recent example, all the president’s men slimed and intimidated Newsweek by accusing it of being an accessory to 17 deaths for its errant Koran story; led by Scott McClellan, they said it was unthinkable that any American guard could be disrespectful of Islam’s holy book. These neo-Colsons easily drowned out Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Afghanistan president, Hamid Karzai, both of whom said that the riots that led to the 17 deaths were unrelated to Newsweek.
Then came the pièce de résistance of Nixon mimicry: a Pentagon report certifying desecrations of the Koran by American guards was released two weeks after the Newsweek imbroglio, at 7:15 p.m. on a Friday, to assure it would miss the evening newscasts and be buried in the Memorial Day weekend’s little-read papers.
Well, enough plagiarism. If you’re not disgusted by now–liberal or conservative–you need to get your outrage meter checked. Or move to Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, or any country where the word of the master is the word of God.
What is wrong with us, Mr. & Mrs. & Miss & Ms. America???