Monday, June 29, 2009

Stenographers to Liars

posted by Armadillo Joe

Considered against the backdrop of the kerfuffle between Nico Pitney and Dana Milbank this week (appropriately covered by Broadway Carl's DBOTW yesterday), Dan Froomkin's firing makes perfect sense. The big, fat, well-trained and meekly compliant traditional media is accustomed to strolling the cocktail party circuit in Washington D.C. like some roly-poly dog at a suburban pool party trolling for scraps off the grill. They fear anything that threatens to muss up that really cozy deal they've got for themselves wherein they unquestioningly re-print the lies of those in power in exchange for "Access" which gives them the panache to be blow-dried media celebrities which gets them on the list to receive the lies which they re-print, etc...

Now, whether those lies bore out or not, whether they proved correct or not on a factual level (to say nothing of the underlying rightness and wrongness on a moral level) was less important than taking all possible measures not to upset the very lucrative, reputation-enhancing apple cart. So Milbank gets his knickers in a twist because a DFH (a blogging DFH, popular with the rabble) gets to speak with the president over a room full of people who have scraped and bowed and crawled through shit to be among the soulless but powerful chosen few. All that guy ever did was talk to a people in Iran, collect sources, do his homework and act like he was a journalist or something. He never actually ate a cocktail weenie at any cozy little Washington parties, so he's just a nobody and a show-off who won't play ball.

And the Dirty Fucking Hippie Dan Froomkin (I mean, hell, look at the guy) simply never wanted to play ball either, which was fine when the captain of the red team was in the White House because Froomkin got to be a sop to all his fellow DFH's on the Inter-Webs while Very Important People went about the Very Important Business of Running The World.

But even after one of his moonbat lefties took the White House and all those DFH's invaded Congress, he continued to have -- you know -- standards, evenly applied, as though he had proved right about torture and Iraq and the economic meltdown and the domestic surveillance and all those Establishment-types had been proven wrong. Over and over and over again.

Hey, man, your guy's in office now -- ease up, OK? You're making us look bad.

So he had to go. And he does go. He goes out in a blaze of glory.

And he names names:
I started my column in January 2004, and one dominant theme quickly emerged: That George W. Bush was truly the proverbial emperor with no clothes. In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve.


The ensuing five years and 1,088 columns really just fleshed out that portrait, describing a president who was oblivious, embubbled and untrustworthy.

When I look back on the Bush years, I think of the lies. There were so many. Lies about the war and lies to cover up the lies about the war. Lies about torture and surveillance. Lies about Valerie Plame. Vice President Dick Cheney's lies, criminally prosecutable but for his chief of staff Scooter Libby's lies. I also think about the extraordinary and fundamentally cancerous expansion of executive power that led to violations of our laws and our principles.

And while this wasn't as readily apparent until President Obama took office, it's now very clear that the Bush years were all about kicking the can down the road – either ignoring problems or, even worse, creating them and not solving them. This was true of a huge range of issues including the economy, energy, health care, global warming – and of course Iraq and Afghanistan.

How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily basis, as I did, one could certainly see the major themes emerging. But by and large, mainstream-media journalism missed the real Bush story for way too long. The handful of people who did exceptional investigative reporting during this era really deserve our gratitude: People such as Ron Suskind, Seymour Hersh, Jane Mayer, Murray Waas, Michael Massing, Mark Danner, Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (better late than never), Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Charlie Savage and Philippe Sands; there was also some fine investigative blogging over at Talking Points Memo and by Marcy Wheeler. Notably not on this list: The likes of Bob Woodward and Tim Russert. Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.

It's also worth keeping in mind that there is so very much about the Bush era that we still don't know.
Will somebody hire this guy, please?


veralynn said...

nicely done sir

Anonymous said...

Dan was the best at exposing the hypocracy and lies coming out of the Bush whitehouse thats why he needed so much space on his blog which sometimes was 5 pages long.
The only reason that he and Knight Ridder(the only ones who were sreaming that the evidence didn't support the facts about Iraqi WMD)didn't get the pulitzer was because the people who vote for that award are the very same media elites who refused to do investigative reporting in the run up to the Iraq war.
To vote for them meant that they would've to admit they were to fucking lazy or they didn't want to be left out of the beltway inner circle.The best example were the Downing street memos. when they came to light and exposed the fact that Bush was fixing the intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion I thought, finally!The main stream media will now be forced to expose Bush for the lyng,war mongering son of a bitch that he was.Now we will have real investigations!What a fucking asshole I was!Johm Peter Zenger is spinning in his grave.
Icommend your blog Armadillo and I pray Froomkin gets another job soon.