Saturday :: Oct 8, 2005

'We Have Awakened A Sleeping Giant, ...'

by pessimist

These words, questionably attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, summarize the dilemma Bu$hCo now finds itself: the media is slipping out of their control like an octopus in a jar [scroll down to 'A Great Escape']

How It Used To Be

The media used to be an agreeable lap dog, ready, willing, and able to sway public opinion in the direction favored by Bu$hCo. Remember those silly stories about Al Gore in 1999-2000? They were slanted in such a way as to make Gore look silly (admittedly, he didn't help himself with this much). But whenever Bu$h was acting silly, his behavior was spun as 'being one of the guys'. Gore was the boring policy wonk while George was 'funner'.

David Shuster covered the Whitewater investigation of President Clinton for Fox News. He currently works on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews He recently spoke on the topic, "TV News Rediscovers Its Critical Voice: A Look at the Way That Coverage of the Bush Administration Has Changed Since 9/11" at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington.

The University of Michigan graduate said the gist of his address will focus on how the changing mood of the country has driven news coverage to be more critical of the administration.
"I don't want to say the media always follow the weather vane of public opinion, but in any administration there is an accumulative effect and the particular circumstances of the past five years have driven the media to examine issues more critically than was the case early on," he said.

When asked whether he would have had that opportunity while working at Fox, Shuster laughed, remained silent for a pregnant pause and said, "No. The answer is no."

He reveals more about the practice of news slanting by Fox News on the next page.

The Rooster In The FOX House

He went on to recount his six-year tenure at Fox. "At the time I started at Fox, I thought, this is a great news organization to let me be very aggressive with a sitting president of the United States (Bill Clinton)," Shuster said. "I started having issues when others in the organization would take my carefully scripted and nuanced reporting and pull out bits and pieces to support their agenda on their shows.

"With the change of administration in Washington, I wanted to do the same kind of reporting, holding the (Bush) administration accountable, and that was not something that Fox was interested in doing," he said.

"Editorially, I had issues with story selection," Shuster went on. "But the bigger issue was that there wasn't a tradition or track record of honoring journalistic integrity. I found some reporters at Fox would cut corners or steal information from other sources or in some cases, just make things up.

"[Fox] Management would either look the other way or just wouldn't care to take a closer look. I had serious issues with that."
The Bloomington native encountered a markedly different culture when he jumped to NBC/MSNBC in June 2002. "One of the first things that happens is you're given a 50-page manual of standards and practices ... and you immediately sense this is an organization that cares very deeply about journalistic integrity."

We reserve judgement on that concerning MSNBC. As for Shuster, making that change has made a difference. He reports neither of his parents liked the fact that their son worked for Fox: "My parents always wondered why it took me so long to get out of there," he said. "I wonder, too."

Back in May, I discovered the National Conference for Media Reform going on in St. Louis. Bill Moyers gave a speech - which will live on long after he himself has gone to that op-ed column in the sky - in which he called upon the media people to rise to the defense of their profession and return it to being the watchdog of our liberties and freedoms. He gave a similar speech at the first National Conference for Media Reform, but I don't think the country was yet fed up enough with Bu$hCo Bull$hit and incompetence to hear his message.

I have seen many subtle signs that many in the media heard the call this time, and since that conference, we have heard them take Scott McClellan apart, and they have also begun covering sensitive stories in a much different manner. I looked at one such story - God "instructed me to strike at Saddam." - just yesterday. This story has been around since June 2003, and yet only now has the media taken it up and presented it as a real news story.

Do you need any more proof that Bu$hCo has hit the iceberg and is going down, taking all of those desperate wrong-wingers with it?

Here it is:

The Giant IS Awake - And Filled With A Terrible Resolve

Vermont to Leahy: Mess with Texas

In the days after Sen. Jim Jeffords left the Republican party, Leahy, who became chairman of the Judiciary Committee as Democrats took control of the Senate and helped to thwart some of Bush’s most conservative nominees from reaching the federal bench, said proudly: “All those bumper stickers that say Don’t Mess with Texas should be replaced with ones that say Don’t Mess with Vermont.”

Which brings us to Texas, the so-called “tough on crime” state that still lacks the legal basics — enough crime labs, public defenders, and police training, not to mention an effective white-collar crimes division — but never skimps on money for prisons.

Texas is also the place where a poor defendant can get a lawyer who sleeps through much of his death penalty trial.

Is this the kind of judicial atmosphere Miers cultivated as one of the state’s leading legal administrators? Given Bush’s talent for poor judgment, we could be looking at the high court equivalent of New Orleans — a fragile but avoidable situation made worse by an unqualified political hack.
When Leahy announced his support for Roberts, he said: “I have drawn the line only at those of President Bush’s nominees who were among the most ideologically extreme and who came to us in the mold of activists. Unfortunately, the president has opted not to seek moderate candidates. Instead, he has insisted on nominating several extreme choices and has politicized the process to a greater extent than I have seen in my 31 years in the Senate.”

Given that statement, we still wonder how Leahy voted for Roberts.

Miers is not the qualified candidate that Leahy and others sought in return for their votes for John Roberts. [I]t was Miers who helped to shepherd Roberts through the nomination process and ensure that he would tread lightly when it came to revealing his judicial thinking.

This should be a clear signal of Miers’ likely take on constitutional rights: The less we in the public know and have at our disposal, the better.
As Sen. James Jeffords pointed out, given her lack of a judicial record, committee hearings will be critical to learn more about how Miers would approach the law. But by failing to strip the cloak of secrecy from Roberts’ judicial temperament during his testimony before their panel, Leahy and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have set a dangerous precedent. They will be hard-pressed to demand answers from Meirs after they were satisifed with none from Roberts.
With a lack of any experience on the bench, her corporate-heavy resume reveals no deliberative or constitutional background that would serve the interests of the people of the United States.
Vermont’s senior senator must remember that he is representing the conscience of our entire state, not just his own. Sen. Leahy, it’s time to mess with Texas.

When conservative Vermont newspapers call upon their elected officials to challenge a conservative (sic) president, it is clear that said president has lost the support of the common American. AP-IPSOS polling confirms this, stating that "Evangelicals, Republican women, Southerners and other critical groups in President Bush's political coalition are worried about the direction the nation is headed and disappointed with his performance."

Some of our Wrong-Wing Wregulars have been desperately spouting nonsensical accusations about everyone from Aaron A. Aardvark to Zephyr Z. Zygote trying to take the spotlight off the biggest loser America has ever had to suffer governing us.

We would have been much better off with Michael Dukakis than George W. Bu$h.

My advice to our Wrong-Wing Wregulars is to change your meme.

If you were to claim that Bill Clinton covered up the fact that the Roswell Incident was really the Second Coming of Christ, and He was being held captive at Area 51, more people would believe that than will believe that George W. Bu$h isn't a lawbreaker and a traitor to his nation.

He's finished - and so are you.

Copyrighted [©] source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.


This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

pessimist :: 11:18 AM :: Comments (15) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!