Monday, June 26, 2006

The Chicken Or The Egg?

According to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, the Bush administration is so secretive because the press has been publishing leaked information. I would imagine the press would say they’ve had to rely on leaked information because the Bush administration is so secretive. Too bad neither side understands their job fully. The press is supposed to push the administration for information, challenge their assertions and dig for the truth. The administration has forgotten that they work for the people and that while doing the people’s business, it is the people right to know how that business is being conducted.

The Bush administration has proven that they are an insular and secretive bunch and they have demonstrated over and over again that their ideology trumps the Constitution and the laws of this nation every time. Never has the executive branch claimed so much power and this administration has done so without any real opposition from Congress or scrutiny from the press. That is not a good mixture for a flourishing democracy.

Bush was pissed that his illegal activity with the NSA domestic surveillance was revealed, he was pissed that The Downing Street Memo’s revealed his strategy for building facts around an already decided upon policy of invading Iraq, he was pissed that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were made public, abuses that were allowed for by Alberto Gonzolas’s perverted idea of what constitutes torture, and now he is pissed that the New York Times has revealed the details of a program that analyzes the banking transactions of suspected terrorists. So pissed that he has sent out his surrogates to call the NY Times, “treasonous” and suggest that an investigation into possible criminal charges against the paper is warranted. Is it only a matter of time before investigative journalism becomes illegal altogether? Once government malfeasance is no longer fair game, is corporate wrongdoing next?

It has only been in the last year that traditional media has started to ask serious questions of this administration and go ahead with publishing stories despite personal phone calls from the White House attempting to quash them. We need a robust press in this country. This administration has been allowed to get away with too much already and the unchecked power they have acquired is treading on our Constitutional rights as citizens and threatening our democracy. Is the New York Times treasonous for shedding light on a White House with the drapes closed tight, or does that title belong to an administration that lied us into a war of choice, that spies on citizens and reveals the identity of a clandestine CIA operative tracking weapons of mass destruction into Iran for no other reason than political payback? Seems like a no-brainer to me.


Anonymous geocrackr said...

LG - A couple of points:

The administration has forgotten that they work for the people... I would posit that they haven't forgotten it, because they never believed it to be true to begin with.

Is it only a matter of time before investigative journalism becomes illegal altogether? The evidence of journalistic practices ever since Reagan eliminated the Fairness Doctrine suggests that it is already de facto the case. Investigations are expensive, and when "public" media corporations have a legal responsibility to maximize shareholder profits with no corresponding public responsibility, then naturally the cost of investigations become an "unnecessary" and legally perilous expense. In addition, I recall a legal battle a few years ago where a grocery chain was suing one of the networks which had two of its reporters obtain jobs at one of the chain's stores, going "undercover" to report on the grocery's health, safety and labor violations. The case wasn't about whether the facts of the report were wrong -- it was about the network being responsible for financial losses through permitting its employees to break the law by lying on their job applications. I don't remember how the case was resolved, but the message was clear -- what "news" organization wants to incur that kind of legal risk? Hence Donald Barlett and James Steele have just been fired, Greg Palast can't get a job in the U.S., and Sy Hersh is the exception rather than the rule.

And finally, to answer your question: BushCo and the righties have always promoted the idea that the real damage incurred from exposing illegal/unethical operations doesn't come from the illegality/unethicalness of the operations themselves, but from people finding out about it. An extension of the absurdity that what damages them by definition damages the country (L'État, c'est moi). That's the no-brainer.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Oh, and I almost forgot -- the egg, obviously.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

Bush has so poisoned his own credibility with secrecy and illegality, that it no longer matters whether what the NYT did was illegal or not. 7 in 10 Americans, a well as a majority of the press, are saying...Good. Screw Bush! He deserves whatever the NYT can dish out.

5:37 PM  
Blogger adria said...

You Rock! I love that you speak the truth!
I just hope everyone is listening.

9:40 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

we're listening....and yup- great post....excellent. ( and your comments are good too)..kee[ blogging it.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

It's hilarious how pissed the right wingers are. is keller the left wing ann coulter?

11:47 AM  
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