Richard Cohen, Ostrich
“This is not a major story. It's a crappy little crime and it may not be a crime at all."
--Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen this morning on Valerie Plame’s outing
“It is the solemn obligation of a columnist to connect the dots.”
--Richard Cohen’s comments today in his column
Read how easily Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen dismisses the Plame outing at a media event this morning, and remember that federal judges thought enough of Patrick Fitzgerald’s case on national security grounds that they allowed Fitzgerald to threaten Matt Cooper and Judy Kneepads with jail time for not cooperating.
And does Cohen lose any sleep over the role his editorial bosses played in selling the war?
Cohen said that everybody got it wrong, that reporters are not CIA agents, and that you have to rely on your sources. "I don't fault reporters for getting it wrong," he said.
This is a perfect example of what I call the “stenographer mindset”, where many coddled, lazy, and scared Beltway media types appear to care more about maintaining access and their perks than they do in actually questioning what they are being told by our government. It is a mindset that eliminates accountability in government, a mindset that enables those in power to get away literally with murder by leading us into wars on lies, and a mindset that gives us the Judy Millers of the world, who willingly become tools of those in power to further their own careers.
Yet to Richard Cohen, it is someone else’s fault that the reporters got it wrong. He should tell that to the actual reporters at the Post who really did their jobs in questioning the propaganda that came out of the White House’s Iraq Group, but who saw their work buried in the paper day in and day out by the Post’s editors (Cohen’s bosses) so as to not cause any problems for Bush’s drive to war. I wonder if Mr. Cohen raised his voice in protest at the idea his paper was going to sponsor a war rally as just one more example of the Post’s willingness to see itself as an official mouthpiece for this administration. What's troubling here is that Cohen is sometimes a damn good columnist, who is able to see the big picture when he wants to
as you can see from his piece today. Yet he appears to be incapable of coming to grips with the smashmouth politics employed by this White House and see the big picture through that prism.
Cohen better hope that Fitzgerald has nothing on Rove, Libby, or that nothing of consequence came out of the roll-up of Brewster Jennings or Plame’s overseas contacts, not to mention any ties there may be to the Larry Franklin/AIPAC debacle. Because the real threats to our democracy, namely this administration, feast on guys like Cohen, who
never rarely see the bigger picture beyond their window offices and next cocktail party invitation, every day.