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As Atrios says, time for another conference on blogger ethics. From Dan Carol at Huffington Post:

I think it's time to ask former Bush 41 DOD chief press flack Pete Williams to take a bow out from actively covering the story which involves his old boss Dick Cheney and former DOD colleague Scooter Libby.

David Sirota:

[H]ow can NBC's Pete Williams be allowed to cover the Scooter Libby story for the network, considering Williams was a longtime former staffer for Dick Cheney?

That's right - according to Williams' biography on NBC's website, Williams is "a native of Casper, Wyoming" - where Cheney is from. In 1986, Williams "joined the Washington, DC staff of then Congressman Dick Cheney as press secretary and a legislative assistant. In 1989, when Cheney was named Assistant Secretary of Defense, Williams was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs."

Now Williams is being allowed to report on the indictment of Cheney's chief of staff for NBC, as if he was just a regular old nonpartisan objective journalist.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 11:56 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Business as usual... (none)
        
    •  yep Williams was embarrassingly biased @ pressconf (none)
      ridiculously skewed, biased conflict of interest. Brian Willimas should have been there; Williams was completely improper and inappropriate in biasedly freeping wverything and it was disgusting, ridiculous and embarrassing, a shameful disgrace for nbc. terribly desperate and inappropriate. they need to get a clue and do the right thing. pathetic.
      •  if my dyslexic typing weren't confusing enough... (none)
        to clarify,

        Pete Williams=blatant inappropriate and potentially illegal conflict of interest and should therefore recuse himself from dangerously biased freeping and compromising news information and fair and ethical reporting in this case

        if Brian Williams does not has this same conflict of interest, he would be far more appropriate if he can pursue investigating these matters unbiasedly and fairly as he did the New Orleans story...

        IMHO

        Terrific diary, thanks--excellent matter, very important issue.

  •  the same way A Mitchell reports on economics (4.00)
    with her husband as head of the Fed

    because there are really no meaningful EDITORS at the broadcast outlets

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 11:55:42 AM PST

  •  What Do We Do? (none)
    How can we take action?   Let's pressure NBC>  

    Absolute Horror: The Best in Bad Horror Movies

    by dansac on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 11:55:43 AM PST

  •  obviously no conflict of interest there (none)
    it's like they think nobody's paying attention...
  •  journalistic ethics??? (none)
    isn't that an oxy moron?!!
  •  Yes, (none)
    Let's document when he is not objective, and let NBC know...

    Stop mad cowboy disease!

    by wrights on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 11:58:01 AM PST

    •  Not Enough (none)
      The conflict of interest is more than enough ammo.  We need a concerted campaign of pressure on NBC.   And we need to make sure all other media outlets are aware of this conflict.

      Absolute Horror: The Best in Bad Horror Movies

      by dansac on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 11:58:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the very least he should be upfront (none)
        and let people know his background when he reports on anything to do with Cheney, so we can decide for ourselves if we wish to believe him.  Transparency!

        When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

        by flo58 on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:12:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe he really hates Cheney? (none)
    I've never noticed anything in his reporting that seemed out of line, but I guess I'll pay a little more attention.

    In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

    by soonergrunt on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 11:59:08 AM PST

    •  No, I saw him at a press conference (none)
      the other day, and he lobbed old Scotty a softball.  I was surprised, because David Gregory has been so aggressive lately.  Now it makes sense.

      "Mommy, did people know that Bush was stupid when they voted for him?"

      by litigatormom on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:13:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Williams was also on PBS's Washington Week (none)
      on Friday night.

      On This Week, reporters serve as commentators rather than as reporters, although the show is to be commended for only having reporters who are ACTUALLY COVERING a newsstory from presenting and commenting on it. This has been its long tradition, and for that reason I expect it to observe a higher standard than on most of the sorry news "panels" we see on TV, although it has let me down more and more in recent years.  

      When Pete Williams was introduced to be the point person this week on talking about Libby indictments, I was appalled. Williams may or may not have sincerely believed that he was presenting a fair accounting to the viewership, but his history with Cheney nevertheless made it wholly inappropriate for him to appear in that role.

      Furthermore, while admitting the investigation remained open, he assessed Fitzgerald's demeanor as suggesting that, barring unforeseen developments, he expected to take no further major actions targeting other major figures in the case. Anyone who saw the prosecutor's press conference knows that he pointedly said no such inferences should be drawn from his actions on Frday.

      In addition, Williams opined that it seemed reasonable that Libby's departures from the truth resulted from having just forgotten who had previously talked to him about Plame, given how many irons he had in the fire at the time and given the time that elapsed before being questioned by Fitz. Nobody really challenged him on that.

      Williams also appeared on CNBC in a round table led by Russert and repeated the same notion that it was quite possibly just an innocent lapse of memory that led to the Libby misstatements. As it happens, Andrea Mitchell was also on the program and did challenge that idea (I know, I know--I was thinking "Mitchell--?!?!"). She pointed out that if Libby just had fuzzy recall, you would expect his statements to be vague and imprecise, whereas what he actually produced was a very detailed cover story describing his conversations with reporters that simply did not jive with the documented facts. So at least Williams was challenged on that one thing, but the more salient point is he simply should not have been there.

      I am glad to see people speaking up on this point. Thank you!

      "If you give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican, they'll choose the Republican every time." - Harry Truman

      by Rydra Wrong on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 05:08:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for catching this. (none)
    I'd already sent a letter to MSNBC last friday about Pete W. after reading about his previous connections.

    Objective "reporters," indeed.

    Time to blow the lid off this joint, kids.

  •  Fascinating (none)
    somewhat OT but saw this in Newsweek just now.

    The president, just back from his own rally-the-troops address, was eager to chopper to Camp David for the weekend. But, in the small dining room adjoining the Oval Office, he was doing something uncharacteristic: watching live news on TV.

    "I don't read books, I read people," George W. Bush once said, half in jest, and so the figure on the screen spoke volumes to him: the Irish-American altar-boy visage; the off-the-rack attire; the meticulous, yet colloquial speech, a blend of the U.S. Code, Jimmy Stewart and baseball...

    ...Bush, an aide indicated, was as impressed by Fitzgerald's case as by the man who brought it. "The indictment speaks for itself," said the aide, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the situation.

    •  Bush's grandiose sense of self (none)
      ""I don't read books, I read people," George W. Bush once said"

      How nauseating.  This seemingly self-effacing statement -- "I don't read books," like everyone says, ha ha -- is really a tremendous effin' bit of bragging.

      Bush REALLY DOES BELIEVE that he's got some kind of bead on people, and he's able to see their "hearts."

      What a egotistic little scumbag.  He still has the alcoholic's sense of himself as someone profoundly special, and better than the average man just because...well, he just is.  

      This is one reason that the pathetic bastard has been played like a goddamned piano by all the rightwing con men in his administration.  They know that all you have to do with Dubya is make a big show of some good old fashioned ass-kissing on him, and the moron will deem you a "good man."  

      For Bush, a "good man" is de facto anyone who smooches his cowardly fratboy backside.   So he can be played like a fool by anyone who can stomach pretending he's a great leader, with lots and lots of yummy Resolve.

      What a waste of life.

    •  freepin bogus hype spin demonizing (none)
      fitz and trying to make shrub look sympathetic victim, gimme a break, investigate the crooks don't spin bs. unfuckinbelievable. desperate and pathetic.

      Time to boycott nbc universal GE, kossacks!

  •  As long as these guys paychecks (4.00)
    are being given to them by giant corporations we will never have an objective press. These people make a ton of cash and there is a long line to get their jobs. There will never be an msn that is not controlled by corporations as long as this situation exists.

    If you like incompetence, corruption and cronyism vote Republican

    by Jlukes on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:03:02 PM PST

  •  What about the Gellman article at TPM now? (none)
    supposedly an excerpt is different from the original in Nexis.

    Cheney died a natural death - on the phone with Halliburton.

    by annefrank on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:04:07 PM PST

    •  What do you make of that? (none)
      Too littl info to tell, but I'll guess that it sounds like the "well-placed source" got cold feet. "You can't put that in there! I was the only other person in the room, so they'll know it was me!" Except that now the damage is done, and someone in the VP's circle is going to be persona non grata.
      •  Armando front paged it! (none)
        so perhaps we'll learn more.

        Cheney died a natural death - on the phone with Halliburton.

        by annefrank on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:38:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My take: (none)
        Wilson appeared in NY Times July 6.  Tenet took responsibility for the SotU on July 11.  This flight was July 12.  Libby got the OK from Cheney, it was in Novak's column on the 14.

        I imagine the call was ala Rove; "Wilson's wife is fair game."

        Sounds like the White House wanted to hold pet journalist's stories until they officially had, or were ready, to come out against Wilson.  They had to throw somebody under the bus, so they chose the CIA.  Plame did both at once.

        Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it.

        by gavodotcom on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:51:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Who do we write? (none)
    Perhaps we can get an organized campaign to get this  man off the case. After all, this is what right-wingers would do if they were in our shoes.
  •  "there's no conflict here" (none)
    Well, Tim Russert and Andrea Mitchell continue to report and/or repine (the distinction between reporter and pundit is about gone on TV) even though they were both caught up in the leak scandal, and none of those other reporters is brave enough to say anything to them.  Chris Matthews too.  

    Pete Williams's connection seems pretty stretched compared to Tim Russert actually testifying against Libby at the grand jury, and probably at the trial too.  What's nice is the trial will be open, unlike the grand jury, so we'll actually get to see Little Tim entering the courtroom.

  •  What's NBC? (none)

    That's one small step for man, and one giant %#&* air for mankind...

    by mogulking on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:07:20 PM PST

  •  Imagine if... (none)
    ...Sid Blumenthal were to cover Hillary Clinton's Senate race.  

    Nope, I can't, either.  He's been banned from network TV ever since he outed himself as a Democrat.

    Meanwhile, speaking of Iraq-related GOP bullshit...

    •  didn't you know... (none)
      "he outed himself as a Democrat."

      ...that it's a Thought Crime to be a Democrat in the media?

      Partisan, propaganda-spewing Republicans are great.  

      Wimpy, "objective" Beltway journalists are O.K. ...as long they adhere mostly to GOP talking points.

      But progressives?  Real fighting Dems?

      Verboten.   Might make it a fair fight, you see.  And no one wants that!

  •  When ever I watch the MSM (none)
    which is RARE I always think.."WHERE ARE THE ADULTS!!"

    How making misleading comments and flat out lying are so common place, it makes me sick.  The complete contempt for the public is palpable.  

    The Supreme Court held that the First Amendment presupposes that right conclusions emerge from many tongues than through any kind of authoritative selection.

    Based on this belief the Court extended protection to false statements and opinions based on untruths. I think they assumed that a good faith effort would be made to speak the truth.
    Instead motivations based on money and power have  lead to constant intentional lying from reporters, pundits, public figures and politicians.  

    I doubt they could have ever imagined "public discourse" as it exists today.  Spinning out of control.

    Its not easy being a Floridian.

    by lawstudent922 on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:13:57 PM PST

    •  The reason why (4.00)
      there is contempt for the public is because so few demand more from the media and the politicians they elect.

      The dumbing down of America has been successful to the point that people really don't care. Listen to some of the callers on C-Span each morning make a point about some burning issue. Ask them for the basis of their claim. The answer is often times, they got it from Fox or Rush or some other wild source. Did they take the time to read up on it any furthr? No. Because Fox reported it, Rush said it or O'Rielly, it must be right.

      If the public does not demand respect, it will get none. Journalism is not what it used to be when most reporters could empathize with the man on the street because they themselves were struggling to make it.

      Now with corporations heading almost all of the big media companies and anchors making millions themselves, they're not going to rock the boat.

      It's all about the bottomline. When the almighty dollar speaks, everyone listens.

      •  Ware the broad brush (none)
        MOST journalists are not making big bucks. Most of them are just getting by. (Why do you think I left the business? OK, apart from the getting fired part.)
        •  hi fellow journalistic defector... (none)
          sorry you got fired. i left for a variety of reasons: i had been on the crime beat for four years and it was starting to get to me and they wouldn't reassign me to another beat (i think it was personal). I was growing more and more frustrated with "trend" stories and especially frustrated with the "he said, she said" balance approach - giving lying public officials equal time. And most important, I had to do things in secret. I secretly volunteered for the Gore campaign and every time I went to an anti-war protest I had to hide my face from the cameras.

          Never mind that I was covering all local news, police, courts, and politics, and hardly ever wrote about national stuff. We still were not allowed to participate in anything. Now I wear my bumper stickers with no shame, give money to who I want without fear of recourse, and protest my heart out against the Bushes.

          Oh yeah, did I mention I was paid shit? After five years of work in the NY/NJ metro area, I was making just under $40K. My business friends made more than that out of college. After I left the paper I found a writing job at a university that paid me nearly $10K more, with a regular 9 to 5 schedule (those calls at 11 p.m. yelling at me to get out of bed were getting old), and super benefits.

          Journalism likes to eat its young, it's widely known. I think the only people who go on to be successful in it really put the job first, or are just masochists. Young reporters are supposed to expect a below-living wage and shitty, abusive work conditions - union membership at newspapers and TV stations has plummeted. I think that's why we see so much lackluster reporting - particularly toward the end of my tenure, I didn't give a shit about the average everyday stories because there was no incentive to. I wasn't going to get a raise or a promotion. So why bust my ass? For the people I'm writing about? Yes, that worked in some cases but mostly I was bound by a tiny newshole where its impossible to tell the whole story. And too often, my editors were just not interested in hearing the perspectives of the poor, the marginalized, and people of color. I became a ticking time bomb and if I hadn't left sooner I may have gone postal.

          Whew. Feels good to get that off my chest. I hope post-newsroom life has treated you better so far.

          Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

          by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:18:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you kidding? (none)
            I have all the fun and none of the pain now! It's like being in a newsroom and still having a life. Getting fired (in '93, it was ages ago, in a station sale) was the best thing that ever happened to me. I almost literally fell into technical stuff and am now a web developer and programmer. Plus professional gossip rag maintainer. :)
            •  very cool (none)
              i know so many people who say the same thing, that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to them. it forced them to make a living out of something they really loved and did well. i admire all you've been able to do. i still think of returning to "the biz" but if I do, it will be on my terms.

              Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

              by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 04:00:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Conflict of interest (none)
    Having just had a long, mostly productive, conversation on blogger ethics, specifically talking about conflicts of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest... I have to say that this is a clear conflict of interest. One cannot expect Pete Williams to have an objective view. This is not demonization of Williams himself. It is simply well established protocol for such situations.

    Time to call for a conference on Journalistic Ethics.

  •  Incestuous relationships (none)

    What should we expect from years of incestuous relationships.
  •  Williams posed a question at the conference (none)
    about the amount of time and memories and wasn't Fitz concerned people might forget. Interesting that this is the defense Libby is using. I emailed Williams and asked "How come that wasn't a problem with the 20(?) year old Whitewater investigation?"
    He wrote back and said "It was."  Well I must have slept through any pre$$titute asking that.
    •  I didn't know about Williams' background... (none)
      ...but when I heard him ask that question -- the way he asked it -- I thought, "Why is this NBC guy so defensive about the indictment?" Then I saw him on another show and again felt that he was less reporting than trying to provide cover.

      Well, now those questions are answered. How sad that it's so obvious, and how ridiculous that NBC has no problem with any of these "deep embeds" covering the stories.
    •  oooh...what's his e-mail? (none)
      I'd like to send him my thoughts on his assignment as well as CC it to the management at NBC News.

      Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

      by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:27:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then liars will always succeed. (none)
      If the time it takes to catch a lie is longer than the time it takes for memory to deteriorate, then this regime has found the Eternal Loophole of Fabrication.
  •  check out Josh's (none)
    latest over at TPM. From the Nexis database this quote from a WaPo Barton Gellman column, contrasting it with today's version:

    On July 12, the day Cheney and Libby flew together from Norfolk, the vice president instructed his aide to alert reporters of an attack launched that morning on Wilson's credibility by Fleischer, according to a well-placed source.

    "Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

    by Glic on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:25:14 PM PST

  •  Stephanapolous (none)
    I was watching Pete Williams and the other dya and he came scross really sympathetic to Cheney and I was taken aback a bit.

    This explains things now...

    Thhe only problem with the argument above is George Stephanopolous worked for Clinton and covered Lewinsky, Russert worked for Moynihan...etc

    I don't think we'll get very far with this Pete Williams argument.

    "I got a letter from the Republican Party the other day. I wrote back, 'Go fuck yourself.'" - Bette Midler (Rolling Stone, 9/18/2005)

    by GregNYC on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:25:45 PM PST

    •  Steph not a reporter (none)
      A pundit.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:33:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not the same (none)
      Pete Williams is supposed to be a reporter - not a commentator or host of a public affairs program. Stephanopolous only "covered" Lewinsky by providing color commentary on ABC news programs, never as a White House correspondent, which would be equivalent of William's position.
    •  oh god (none)
      tomatohead worked for Moynihan? I knew he was an insider but not much else. I admired and respected Pat Moynihan. I can't say the same for his former staffer. Tomatohead is a big disappointment week after week, letting his "balanced" panel get away with lies...even now, they still allow the question of whether Valerie Wilson was or was not covert.

      Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

      by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Diane Sawyer worked for Nixon (none)
      David Gergen appears in so many administrations, I forget when I see him on the tube - who is he working for now?

      This story about Williams is nearly thirty years old. IMHO, George S. has a far bigger problem than Williams, if I apply your analysis.

      Sorry, I just don't see it

      We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

      by Mary Julia on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:52:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of which, check TPM (none)
    Josh has this important and bizarre change in a new WaPo story on Big Time's role....

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

    by Volvo Liberal on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:28:41 PM PST

  •  I disagree (none)
    Chris Matthews was President Carter's speech writer and Tim Russert worked for Senator Monnihan (?spelling) both Democrats.  However, I think that someone can act impartially to one side or the other if they are ethical.  

    I have been watching Pete Williams' coverage and it doesn't appear to be biased at all.

    •  Yes, but... (none)
      ...this is not about covering just any story or about media folks who cover a variety of stories. This is about one specific story and NBC being unwilling to reassign specific people.
    •  those guys aren't journalists... (none)
      they're bloviators, obfuscators, commentators, talk show hosts...anything but journalists. They are not out in the trenches doing the hard core note taking and pounding out stories every single day. True, they pose as journos, but they ain't. They have some value given their insider positions, but should never have been elevated to the level they're at now, where people think of them when they think of "journalists."

      Pete Williams has every right to go into, or back into, journalism. I work closely with a PR office and nearly everybody is a former journalist. Should they begin to feel the itch again to get back into the biz, it's not unheard of, it happens all the time. But a responsible news outlet would not let Town X's mayor's press flak turn around and cover the every day politics of that town. They can cover, let's say, education or the environment, and if a story ever led them to write about the mayor of Town X, they should either automatically recuse themselves or prove that they can be balanced and impartial. Normally good editors would just take the guy off the story.

      Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

      by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:35:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Surely you don't think... (none)
    ...there are still any old nonpartisan, objective reporters, do you?   I'm so sick and tired of the crap about reporters losing their "sources" if Fitzgerald has indicted on either of the actual "outing" laws...Cokie had the nerve to say that there would be NO REPORTING as we know it now...who thinks that would be a BAD THING?  I don't...perhaps then these shills would go back to just reporting what ACTUALLY happens...
    •  If Cokie Roberts (none)
      could not report anymore, I would be happy as a grasshopper.

      Not that I get any valuable information from her anyway - just half-truths, vagaries, and generalizations that insult the audiences she is supposed to work on behalf of.

      I am so sick of journalists talking down to us. If I hear Howard Fineman or David Brooks say "No one knows who Scooter Libby is," I'm tossing my TV in the river. I know who he is, you idiot. In fact, I bet my favorite pair of shoes that I know more about this story than you guys do!

      Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

      by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:38:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pete Williams, read this (4.00)
    We know you have had an ethics class somewhere, sometime.  But, just in case you need a refresher, here you go:  Journalistic ethics, 101.  Otherwise known as the Statement of Principle of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

    ARTICLE I - Responsibility. (snip)... The American press was made free not just to inform or just to serve as a forum for debate but also to bring an independent scrutiny to bear on the forces of power in the society, including the conduct of official power at all levels of government.

    ARTICLE III - Independence. Journalists must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict. They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity.

    Maybe if we contribute to a reporter ethics fund, they can all go back and get continuing education on their ethical responsibility and start living up to it.  

  •  This is fucked up (none)
    There is no objective media anymore. They are all political or corporate whores. And to be fair, we have to wonder about the Russerts and the Stephanopouli as well.
    •  Sounds like Tom Delay (none)
      Should we be looking at everything through "partisan eyes" meaning that everyone is partisan and has a agenda.  That is what Tom Delay thinks.  He sees everything partisan so much so that he wants to get rid of his judge who is a Democrat.

      I don't think everything is partisan.  I think that many people can see both sides of an argument and respects other people's point of views. Things are not necessary black or white, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat but there are many shades of gray.

      •  Sounds like a sell out (none)
        I want an independent media in this country. Not a bunch of sycophants "reporting" what the man wants them to report. I want them to report the objective truth. No more revolving doors in DC. Fuck the whole lot of them.
  •  Big Brother was more upfront. (4.00)
    Let's count our blessings. Williams isn't hiding behind sources. He is the source himself, spinning in our faces. That's an improvement over unattributed declarations.

    Even better would be Cheney himself delivering the news on television. His act works best behind the scenes. In it's own way, State Television would re-introduce authentic information.

  •  You can post a comment about your concerns.. (4.00)
    on Williams' blog..... he has one on the NBC news homepage.  I've sent them a letter before, asking about a specific story, and the producer actually emailed me back.

    It is the BEST way to get directly in touch with them, at least to notify them that you've noticed this.

    An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind--Gandhi (-9.38, -7.59)

    by hopefulcanadian on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:43:24 PM PST

  •  As a Wyomingite (4.00)
    I've long been aware of this conflict and, in fact, have often watched Pete Williams to get a clue about what is really going on with Dick.

    Here's a little more background.

    Pete Williams was a reporter for the one (and only) news station in Casper, WY, for several years. In that role, of course, he covered Wyoming politics, including Dick Cheney who was then Wyoming's sole House representative. At some point in the mid-1980s, he left the station to go to Washington, DC, to become Cheney's media person. When Cheney got promoted to Secy of Defense -- after the disastrous nomination of John Tower failed -- Pete Williams moved to the Dept of Defense with him and he was a daily face to the public, doing briefings during the Gulf War.

    But there's another piece of this that is equally interesting and perhaps even more telling in terms of what kind of loyalty Pete Williams owes to Cheney. Because, you see, had it not been for Cheney, Williams' whole DC career might have been thwarted before it ever really got going.

    Soon after he was moved to the Dept of Defense, rumors started swirling that he was gay. These rumors had been heard and substantiated in WY years earlier. Apparently, one of the blowhard Christian crazies the Bushies now so love approached Dick and said, "If you don't fire your press secretary, we'll blow the whistle and tell everyone he's gay." And Cheney, much to his credit, said, "I don't care. He's staying." And so he did.

    Now, whether Williams was trying to hide his sexuality in DC is not really clear. (He had been hiding it in Wyoming but, hey, it was the early 1980s and it was Wyoming, so....) Now, I'm pretty sure it's an open secret but, apparently, it wasn't in DC in about 1990 when this happened.

    So, if it hadn't been for Cheney's willingness to stand up for him, Pete Williams would have been out of a job in DC in abt 1990, long before his big reputation was made during his press briefings during the Gulf War. Would NBC have offered him a network job then? Highly unlikely. More likely, he would either have gone back to the Hill to work as a press flack for some other congressperson or come back to Wyoming.

    In any case, it's hard to see how he could ever forget the debt he owes to Cheney.

    We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

    by kainah on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:49:35 PM PST

    •  Cheney's best side (none)
      Cheney has a family member who is gay.  I understand that his family places itself before politics in this respect.  I hadn't thought about it but now I see that Cheney takes this attitude of tolerance into his employment.

      NOw if he could just get ALL the traitors out of his office, Cheney would get higher points for his hiring practices.

      •  yes (none)
        His oldest daughter is an out lesbian -- who, sadly, wasn't welcome on the stage at the Repub National Convention following her father's speech. She's been in a long, committed relationship for a very long time. She used to work for Coors as their liaison on GLBT issues. (Coors is surprisingly enlightened in that area, as well.)

        I table against the war at the union in the University of Wyoming almost every week and I am frequently challenged to "say something good" about the administration to prove I'm not just a "Bush-hater." I always fall back on Cheney's support for GLBT issues as the one thing I congratulate him for. It really did take a lot of guts for him to defend Pete Williams at that point.

        But Williams should only cover Cheney if he's willing to always inform his audience of his conflict of interest.

        We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

        by kainah on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 01:54:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  money is green (none)
          "She used to work for Coors as their liaison on GLBT issues. (Coors is surprisingly enlightened in that area, as well.)"

          Coors wants to make money. Pure and simple.

          Some hetero male's fantasy appears to be active conversion of 'wayward females' {usually more than one at a time} .. if Cheney instead had a son who was gay, why is it that I think Coors would run away screaming?

          Am I onto something here, or not?

          •  yes, I think you are (none)
            Am I onto something here, or not?

            I think you're absolutely right about that.  

            And I agree with you that Coors wants to make money, pure and simple. But there are lots of people and companies who want to make money and still manage to be horrible bigots. :-)

            We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

            by kainah on Mon Oct 31, 2005 at 11:33:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  BIAS (none)
      Williams clearly should not be covering Cheney.

      Just another reason to boycott NBC!

    •  Williams has been out of the closet ... (none)
      for a few years now.  Is he indebted to Cheney?  You decide.

      Greenspan is "one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington." -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

      by slip kid no more on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 03:23:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As with Church and State (4.00)
    We need a clear separation of Press and State. And we need it immediately.
    •  Quite right (4.00)
      Not one totalitarian state in modern history existed without state control of the media.

      The other possibilities are (a) codominium between protected media concentrated in the hands of an increasingly few competing cartels or (b) media dominance of the state, in a situation where a media monopoly arises and acts with effective veto power over public policy.

      But I'm sure there's no danger of that happening. I mean, really.

      When's the last time you heard of the Republican Party pushing media deregulation?

      pause

      Guys, that pitch was slow and soft. :)

      It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

      by cskendrick on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 01:10:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NBC (none)
    While Andrea Mitchell is a Penn classmate, I still find her reporting to show unacknowledgec bias.

    I saw Pete Williams on TV recently (was it Washington Week in Review) and I thought he was defensive and making excuses for Cheney.

    NBC has an ethically challenged news department.  I have felt some time that they tilt towards Bush and his outlaws.

  •  this sentiment re ethics was first posted here (none)
    at dKos by ottawa, Kathy, gp39m, diplomatic and others in response to my diary here.

    not to say that others took ideas from kossacks....just sayin....

    "Fitz, don't fail me now !!" ~~Mantan Moreland, bug-eyed actor in "King of the Zombies", 1941

    by seesdifferent on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 01:44:52 PM PST

  •  Journo ethics in general (4.00)
    have become a relative standard. Relative to their organization. Relative to the party in power. Relative to the scandal in progress. From where I sit, there are but a few journalists in print and broadcast who have earned the right to be considered independent of any overriding interest. Networks and papers owned by large corporations with standing government interests, financial or political, make it very hard for a journalist not to get hemmed in. Even if their instincts tell them to move ahead of the curve (and it's a Bell curve we're talking about), that's easier said than done when editors are under pressure to conform to corporate standards. Papers like the WaPo, which I read daily if not more often, suffer from other pressures which necessarily make their ethics and standards relative. Compare the latest editorial Re: Plamegate to any editorial Re: Whitewater and you'll see what I mean.

    I read tons of stuff, as many of you all do, on both the Left and Right. There are true voices on all sides, regardless of with whom you agree or disagree. The danger is, in my opinion, the average American who does not read 5 dailies and obsessively digest a broad range of online media gets stuck with "Pete Williams" and him only.

    Having said that, I also worry, as a progressive, about people on the Left living in the same kind of bubble that the President lives in. Look back at some of the wishful thinking on the outcome of Fitz's grand jury and you will see a lot of dire yearnings but not a whole lot of returns on that emotional investment. I am guilty of that, too, let me be clear. Going forward, however, we need to be more clear headed about what we are really up against in trying to wrest control of government away from the Right in '06 and '08. Big media sucks. We all know it, it is obvious, and we should call them on it, continuously. But I, for one, want to see a conversation about how to shift the balance. Yeah, liberal media is a fiction and falsehood. The MSM is RIGHT of center, not left. But only because the Right is in control of the message and medium. But the Left still has one advantage, and that is the People. Look at the numbers. Every poll and study shows that regardless of affiliation, when asked the questions, people's answers place them firmly in Democratic territory by margins of at least 2 to 1.

    ...and now that I'm cooking with THAT line of seasoning...

    by bastrop on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 01:52:41 PM PST

    •  but it's so nice and warm and cozy (none)
      in the bubble...please don't make me leave...

      Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

      by missreporter on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:50:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Armando, an odd thought..... (none)
    Did Rove roll on this one to Fitzgerald?

    Somebody rolled over!

    Who's trying to save their hide?

    "same old fears, same old crimes-we haven't changed since ancient times.." "Iron Hand" Dire Straits

    by boilerman10 on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 02:05:00 PM PST

  •  For What It's Worth (none)
    Was gonna diary this but then I saw this post. I have a bit of background on Pete Williams over on my blog. See the top story at the link in my signature.

    Terrance Heath
    Washington, DC
    terrancedc@earthlink.net
    http://www.republicoft.com

    by TerranceDC on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 03:09:11 PM PST

  •  a regular old nonpartisan objective journalist? (none)
    what's that?

    i thought those were extinct on the right and in hiding on the left...

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 03:58:22 PM PST

  •  Nice to see (none)
    this here. While watching the Fitgerald press conference and its lead-up, I noticed that Wilson was quite defensive and often siding with the Republicans. I wrote to a number of people at nbc after reading in the Times that Williams had worked for Cheney.

    "My own mind is my own church." Tom Paine

    by Snoutboy on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 04:10:14 PM PST

  •  The press has abdicated (none)
    Call it a lapse of ethics, dereliction of duty, or just the latest example of corporate greed in full bloom. The news business is a sordid little affair driven by profits and peppered with clandestine relationships that compromise the integrity of journalists and their employers. The vaunted Fourth Estate, once seen as the watchdog of the public trust, is in need of some oversight itself. It may be that journalism as we know it is dead and that the true guardians of the public trust will emerge from the ranks of bloggers. The press has been a willing tool of the administration and perhaps that is why Putin thought that Bush could fire Rather over the story about Bush's guard duty. Maybe we haven't yet reached the point at which the press is an official arm of the government, but the press is dangerously close to surrendering whatever independence they claim to still have.
  •  For those of us with a long memory... (none)
    You can catch Pete Williams on the academy award winning documentary "The Panama Deception", lying his ass off over issues of us troops abusing Panamanian detainees. He was a defence department spokesman.

    Oh, and by the way, he's gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    the more things change, etc...

    Petruk

    "Doing the world a favor since 1963."

    by Petruk on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 04:53:22 PM PST

  •  David Sirota Shouldn't Be Reporting on Dems (none)
    As a former journalist, with a journalism degree, I find Sirota's paranoia delusional. It isn't the first time I've disagreed with David Sirota, and frankly, Sirota is starting to annoy me--as are people who find Sirota credible. He's not credible. Sirota is a hypocrite. Here he is--like the Wizard, saying don't look here, look over there...look at Pete Williams; don't look at me!

    Wait a minute.....

    Didn't Sirota run a campaign for a Democrat who became Governor? Well then! Does Sirota have any right to report on Democrats?

    I have personally not seen Pete Williams report ANYTHING inappropriate. He may well have personal feelings for Cheney. I have not seen them in ANY of Pete Williams' reports--and that says more about his professionalism than Sirota's professionalism--let me tell you. No one who works in journalism in Washington DC or in politics for that matter, or who covers local politics, emerges without having forged relationships. It is how one manages those relationships that counts, not whether or not one has relationships. Without relationships, one does not have a career as a journalist, after all.

    Pete Williams immediately left government service and promptly returned to journalism--which is what he said he wanted to do the entire time he was working for Cheney. His reporting since has been--in my opinion--exemplary and non-partisan. Sirota's criticism is, frankly, paranoid.

  •  Pete Williams on Washington Week (none)
    I have watched this program for almost 30 years..faithfully. I wrote to them in the middle of Fridays show and told them they had just lost the trust of a long time viewer...Watching Pete Williams was more than I could take..There was no attempt by him to be objective. Shame on Washington Week.
    •  I watched the same program... (none)
      As far as I'm concerned Williams was fine. His relationships are well-known. His reporting is unbiased. Every journalist has relationships, particularly in Washington. That is how people GET SOURCES.

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