Monday, May 8, 2006

Monday with McKenna: Give Us this Day, Our Daily Lie

We have seen before how, when tyranny is left to fend for itself, it tends toward both criminality and incompetence. Today, the Bush tyranny has been kind enough to help demonstrate our proposition once more. If you'd like to see some real-world background on the qualifications of Gen. Hayden for a key civilian post in our government, check here and note the fumbling grasp of the Bill of Rights exhibited by our possible future head of the CIA. Once you've had your daily dose of Bushian nausea, then you can proceed to Monday with McKenna:

I have written a number of times about how our news media have been so cowed by special interests that they are afraid to speak the truth. To avoid criticism – and this criticism seems to come most heavily from the right - news outlets present controversial stories by allowing partisan spokesmen from each party to present their spin. The consequence of this practice is diminish the effect of any controversial story. This has been especially bad for America, because it has allowed the president and his men to lie to us with impunity.

But not this week.

No, the president’s war is so unpopular that he has finally been forced to explain himself to the American people. This week, his secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld went to Atlanta, and there he was confronted by a number of protesters – several unfurled banners (and each was summarily removed by security). Then a single well informed critic got up to ask a question – but instead, confronted Mr. Rumsfeld for the administration's lies. This blog has already published a video link. What I want to do now is re-imagine the week’s news as it might have been reported by an unafraid press.

Let’s go to this week’s news:

The big story is the price of gas. The popular press is going for straight reportage. They show the prices at the pump, and show a few big cars being refueled; and then they present what the politicianss are saying (which is not much). The Republicans have already been embarrassed by a poorly thought out plan for a $100 rebate. The Democrats are happy to live off Republican squirming, but they too have little to say.

The more sober talking heads assure us that – in fact - there is nothing that we can do in the short run to cut gas prices.

But here is how an unafraid press would report the gas crisis: this week, gas prices reached a new high, demonstrating that an energy policy focused on supply and not demand would fail. Thus the ambitious energy plans of the Bush administration have come to nothing.

Then there is Zacarias Moussaoui. The popular press has spent years on the story of the so called 20th highjacker. This week, Mr. Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison. And most are satisfied.

But what about the Real News? Zacharias Moussaoui was not the 20th highjacker. He is more the “Artie Bucco” of terrorism - and a not ready for prime time player. So – yes, he may have known a little of the real plotters, but he himself is a joke.

Then on Friday, we got the surprise announcement on Porter Goss – he is resigning. That’s right, after less than 2 years, he’s leaving his job. The popular press has pointed out that the timing – on a Friday afternoon – is suspicious. But beyond that, they’ve said little.

But here is the real news: Porter Goss, another failed Bush appointee, left his job as CIA Director. Appointed for his right wing Republican credentials – he and his staff failed to earn the support of seasoned professionals, many of whom resigned. Reminds us of another unqualified Bush appointee, former FEMA Director Michael Brown.

And last, let’s get to the Donald Rumsfeld story. Yes it got a bit of airplay, especially on the internet. But mainstream media focused on the protest and the shock on Rumsfeld’s face.

But this is what an unafraid press would say: after 3 years, the President, his Secretary of Defense and his Vice President have finally been confronted on the lies they told about Iraq.

And yes, I know, this is not news to most of us. But for the popular press (even including NPR) I’m still waiting for the headline: BUSH LIED TO AMERICA.

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