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The Partisan American media and the Whitehouse/CIA scandal (english)
04 Oct 2003
The effects of years of media consolidation certainly become obvious when you compare the treatment of 'scandal' during the Clinton Administration with the kid glove treatment given the Bush administration for genuine scandals about a hundred times worse...some cartoon commentary from Tom Tomorrow seems appropriate...
The partisan American press
Years of media consolidation have placed the media into the hands of wealthy far right wingers, with obvious results. Propaganda has replaced information, and thus public policy is being manipulated in the crudest manner in service of narrow agendas. While it might be argued that everything on the planet be privatized and then consolidated and then monopolized for profit, the current state of affairs leaves on to wonder if a truly independant media is not some kind of sacred cow that should be bought, sold, manipulated, and used for base political purposes.
PIPA (Program on International Policy Attitudes) studied three "misperceptions" (pdf) people might have picked up from the media : that the Saddam's regime was linked to al-Qaeda, that people around the world supported the U.S. war effort in Iraq, and that weapons of mass destruction had been discovered in Iraq.
Now the way this sort of thing often works is that first false information is reported, and then later the bare minimum is done to retract the false information, or perhaps nothing at all. For example, you might remember stories from the past that claimed that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. These would be followed by retractions, but the way this works is that false stories, later retracted, tend to stick. For example we had this story, earlier in the year, which was retracted later as being just a misunderstanding, a mistake.
United States military finds chemical weapons ... WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. forces near Baghdad found a weapons cache of around 20 medium-range missiles equipped with potent chemical weapons, the U.S. news station National Public Radio reported on Monday. NPR, which attributed the report to a top official with the 1st Marine Division, said the rockets, BM-21 missiles, were equipped with sarin and mustard gas and were "ready to fire." It quoted the source as saying new U.S. intelligence data showed the chemicals were "not just trace elements." It said the cache was discovered by Marines with the 101st Airborne Division, which was following up behind the Army after it seized Baghdad's international airport. U.S. Central Command headquarters in Qatar had no immediate comment. The United States and Britain launched the war against Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies having such weapons.
calpundit.com also featured a range of media reports on the current scandal concerning the outing of a CIA agent working undercover on the weapons of mass destruction beat. The outing was done by someone in the White House, with the Guardian paper in Britain reporting that several reporters have been told privately that it was Karl Rove, one of the principal advisors of Bush at the White House.
Washington Times, Traitors Shouldn't Be Tolerated. : "As former President Bush said in 1999 of those who expose intelligence agents, they are "the most insidious of traitors." "
Weekly Standard, Fire 'em, And Then Apologize. :
The president has, as the Washington Times suggested last week, taken "too passive a stance" toward this misdeed by one or more of his employees.
National Review, Exposing Agents Is No Big Deal. :
The flap about the putative outing of Wilson's wife Valerie Plame as a CIA employee is not the important story in this affair as far as I am concerned. The only reason this incident has any legs is the eagerness of the press to set themselves on scandal autopilot.
Wall Street Journal, Exposing CIA Agents Who Oppose the President is a Moral Duty :
An avowed opponent of war with Iraq, Mr. Wilson was somehow hired as a consultant by the CIA to investigate a claim made by British intelligence about yellowcake uranium sought in Niger by Iraqi agents. Though we assume he signed the routine CIA confidentiality agreement, Mr. Wilson blew his own cover to denounce the war and attack the Bush Administration for lying. Never mind that the British still stand by their intelligence.
By the way, Tony Blair might still 'stand by the intelligence' but he and his would probably be among the few who did. You might recall the bit about how British Intelligence, as it was called, consisted of a bunch of crap pilfered from the internet, some old obsolete crap from before the first Gulf War, and a plagarized grad students paper which was copied word for word, including bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Just who is still standing behind that 'British intelligence', besides the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the redoubtable National Review, and of course Tony Blair and George Bush?
Now that the big past scandals of Republicans has blown over, including Enron bilking Californians (and getting away with it), massive fraud and book cooking basically being buried and pushed off the front pages by the much more important business of the Iraq war (with one Tyco executive thrown to the wolves to make it look like something was actually done about it), Dick Cheney running Haliburton while Haliburton was also cooking the books and engaging in fraud, yes, while every Republican scandal just rolls off their backs like water off the back of duck, while the Teflon Republicans can worm their way through terrible scandal after terrible scandal, it might be a good time to reflect on the horrible scandal of the orgasmically stained party dress, the non-existent 'White Water Scandal', which were endlessly, endlessly pursued, and raked back and forth, back and forth over the coals endlessly for years and years, and then compare the obviously partisan performance of the media at the present time, where, as one example, the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that it is okay to out CIA agents working undercover on WMDs (supposedly a real big deal these days) just so long as a Republican is doing the deed.
That the American media is heavily partison (in favor of the far right) is no surprise, since after all the media consolidation, the media properties are now owned by the far right, so this kind of behavior is what you would expect.
Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World has a nice summation of what is involved in the scandal, for those who have been watching to much biased right wing media, and are now becoming convinced that this is just a 'partisan' scandal mongering exercise by Democrats, that really doesn't amount to much.
Ray McGovern, who was for 27-years a senior analyst for the CIA, further confirms the status of Plame within the CIA. "I know Joseph Wilson well enough to know," said McGovern in a telephone conversation we had today, "that his wife was in fact a deep cover operative running a network of informants on what is supposedly this administration's first-priority issue: Weapons of mass destruction."
McGovern further elaborated on the damage done when such an agent has their cover blown. "This causes a great deal of damage," said McGovern. "These kinds of networks take ten years to develop. The reason why they operate under deep cover is that the only people who have access to the kind of data we need cannot be associated in any way with the American intelligence community. Our operatives live a lie to maintain these networks, and do so out of patriotism. When they get blown, the operatives themselves are in physical danger. The people they recruit are also in physical danger, because foreign intelligence services can make the connections and find them.
Speaking of Tom Tommorow, a few of past cartoons seem particularly relevant today...
The long list of Enron connections to the White House fails to knock off a conservative 'off message'...
And then of course there are those Haliburton connections...
And those Taliban connections...
How to contain a scandal
A Republican accidentally frozen during the WhiteWater investigation, is unthawed right smack in the middle of a huge series of Republican scandals about a hundred times worse ...
Meanwhile, the Democrats are once again getting taking to the cleaners, and if you tour Democrat sites on the net, you can tell that they are getting sick and tired of the partisan Democrat bashing, and are often stewing with moral indignation over the hypocrisy of it all. But there really isn't much that Democrats can do about it, because you see, Democrats, as I see it, are like a beaten, battered wife, who nonetheless stays loyally married. Democrats are a pro-Capitalism party, and it is Capitalism which has created this privatized right media monopoly that is so obviously partisan, and loyal as she is, she can only expect to get one good beating after another, in particular since she refuses to get divorced.
And speaking of scandals, why is it the case that the Democrats don't jump all over that bit about blocking the investigation of 9-11. As one would know, the relatives of the victims have had to fight tooth and claw with the Bush administration to get an investigation done, and this sort of behavior constitutes obstruction of justice.
I have a theory to partially explain this. Given how Democrats have this unfortunate habit of dying in plane crashes in recent years perhaps they just love life a little to much to make to many waves. I recall a quip made by George Bush Senior a while back when he said that when people make waves around this place, they die. So perhaps Democrats are fond of life, which might explain why they keep their critique carefully contained, but it doesn't explain why they stay married to someone who just keeps beating them all time.
By the way in calling for a genuine indepedent investigation of 9-11 that would not mean an investigation by a bunch of Bush appointed hacks.
Similarly having John Ashcroft (of all people) supposedly 'investigating' the White House scandal isn't exactly what anyone would have in mind, but then having Bush once again appoint himself his own 'investigator' like he tried pulling of with 9-11 isn't exactly above board either...
Perhaps someone could find somebody who isn't consumed with the fear of death who might want to actually tackle both those jobs, and all the rest of those scandals on the back burner that need full investigating as well...
Speaking of scandals, there is also that one brewing around Arnold in California...perhaps you heard about those secret meetings with Ken Lay...you see Enron is getting sued for the 9 billion, which is about the amount that California is in the hole...solution...recall the governor...that whole business should be looked into as well...
Have a nice day...