Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The poverty of the press

Watching footage of Scott McClellan get absolutely ravaged by the White House press corps yesterday, I was amazed. The press were relentless - baraging McClellan with questions about Cheney's shooting accident while not tolerating any spin. Which makes me ask: why don't the apply the same zeal to real issues of substance? This one was easy, its sensational stuff, good for ratings, but when it comes to other more relevant issues they are passive and tame.

Of course I think Cheney should be reprimanded for suggesting the shooting was the fault of the person he shot, and that the Vice President shooting someone is newsworthy. But while the reporters focus intensely on this story, they ignore numerous other stories that have much more significant ramifications for the American public.

Imagine if the press had applied the same tenacity to questioning the White House on:

- The GAO report finding that our electronic voting systems have significant flaws which have "caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes" that has gone virtually unreported since the report was issued last October.

- The American Bar Association denouncing the NSA surveillance program as unConstitutional.

- Ex-CIA agent Paul Pillar's allegation that the decision to invade Iraq was made irrespective of the intelligence.

- Lewis "Scooter" Libby stating that Cheney authorized him to leak classified intelligence (similar to what the Dept. of Justice is looking to criminally prosecute the New York Times for)

- Allegations that outed NOC agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was part of the intelligence Cheney would have authorized Libby to leak, worked specifically on Iran's nuclear capabilities and that outing her has compromised our intelligence gathering activities on Iran.

- The report that a significant number of those detained at Gitmo, where it has been ruled the Geneva Convention rules don't apply, where Donald Rumsfield authorized harsh interrogation tactics, and which we were assured that they were the "worst of the worst", are being held there in error.

- The fudging of the budget and the hidden private retirement plan.

Tom Delay being given a seat on the subcommitee which oversees the Justice Dept. - the same Justice Dept. that will be investigating the Abramoff scandal.

-Allegations of a Bush/Blair pact to go into Iraq and plans to stage their own version of the sinking of the Maine (by flying UN disguised spy plane over Iraq)

- The Downing Street Memo and other leaked memos, also virtually unreported, in which we see that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of invading Iraq.

- The Bush administration having spent 1.6 billion dollars on PR in the last 2.5 years (considered in the context of the administration's demonstrated efforts to manipulate the 4th estate)

The list goes on.

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