Saturday, January 27, 2007

The press suddenly realizes why blogs have become first choice sources of news and information

Because the so-called liberal media is a crock and anyone with a few brain cells could see lies and propaganda were being dispersed, that 'journalists' had become embarrassing White House lackeys, that no one was asking questions that demanded to be asked. Mainstream media just laid down and rolled over on command.

It apparently became clear to them when Cheney's former top press assistant Cathie Martin was on the witness stand what people who had been paying attention knew years ago.

Los Angeles Times:
Cheney's demonstrated proclivity for rhetorical bullying aside, dismissing legitimate questions growing out of such views in the fashion aired by CNN this week is an expression of contempt for public opinion itself.

There's no particular reason why malfeasant members of the press or those who merely are incompetent shouldn't be held in contempt. The news media, after all, are like every American institution, home to its share of idiots, poseurs, slothful time-markers and self-interested time servers. The problem is that Cheney and his former aides aren't simply contemptuous of the individual reporters or even of the press itself. They're contemptuous of the principle under which the free press operates — which is the American people's right to have a reasonable account of what the government does in their name.

The lesson to take away from this week's unintended seminar in contemporary journalism is that the vice president and his staff, acting on behalf of the Bush administration, believe that truth is a malleable adjunct to their ambitions and that they have a well-founded confidence that some members of the Washington press corps will cynically accommodate that belief for the sake of their careers.

It's a sick little arrangement in which the parties clearly have one thing in common: a profound indifference to both the common good and to their obligation to act in its service.
Washington Post's Dana Milbank who started off the article with the title: Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you:
It is unclear whether the first week of the trial will help or hurt Libby or the administration. But the trial has already pulled back the curtain on the White House's PR techniques and confirmed some of the darkest suspicions of the reporters upon whom they are used. Relatively junior White House aides run roughshod over members of the president's Cabinet. Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose of burying it.

Martin was embarrassed about the "leak" option; the case, after all, is about a leak. "It's a term of art," she said. "If you give it to one reporter, they're likelier to write the story."

For all the elaborate press management, things didn't always go according to plan. Martin described how Time wound up with an exclusive one weekend because she didn't have a phone number for anybody at Newsweek.

"You didn't have a lot of hands-on experience dealing with the press?" defense attorney Theodore Wells asked.

"Correct," Martin replied. After further questions, she added: "Few of us in the White House had had hands-on experience with any crisis like this."

(I find it very instructive she used the word 'crisis' to describe the Joseph Wilson counterattack.)

Anyway. To the mainstream media: Welcome to the party, pal!

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