Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Kevin Drum recently suggested that the reason the Downing Street Memo has been relatively overlooked by the media is that it is old news. Everybody already knows that Bush had decided on war long before the invasion took place. Frank Rich said precisely the same thing last week on Al Franken, where he was given a far more sycophantic intro than he actually deserves.
No doubt this is true. It would also explain why the press gave so little coverage to the Monica Lewinsky story. After all, by 1998, it was clear to everybody that Bill Clinton was pretty much a cad in his private life. One more instance didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. And that's why the story was ignored, however much rightists wanted it to get bigger play.
Oh, wait - it didn't actually happen like that. One excuse after another gets hauled out, and we continue for some strange reason to take them seriously. The press went after Clinton agressively? Well, that's the natural relationship of the press to power, and after all it's healthy. The press doesn't dare challenge George Bush? Look, it's an intimidating setting and nobody wants to just attack the president in a crisis. The press repeatedly told outright lies about Al Gore? Well, he was uniquely unpleasant and unsure of himself - even though he'd spent most of his life in Washington and nobody noticed these traits until 1999. Of course stories about Bush committing insider trading at Harken Energy aren't going to be covered - they're too complicated and unsexy. Naturally the media won't write about Jeff Gannon - way too sleazy. It would invade Gannon's privacy, and we all know how much the media respects privacy.
The punditocracty and the corporate media wants very much for us to believe the excuses they throw out, one after another, for their Republican bias. I suspect that they want, even more, to believe themselves. After all, the people dominating today's media, in their 40s and 50s, are largely a generation inspired by Woodward and Bernstein. They went into journalism with visions of protecting the downtrodden and uncovering the truths hidden by corrupted power. It can hardly be pleasant to admit that they have become the power they once dreamed of fighting, with no higher causes than keeping the taxman away from their high 6 and 7 figure incomes, and a devotion to hiding any truth that might endanger the authority of tax cutting Republicans.