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Today's revelations that the "President's Surveillance Program" was much broader than formerly reported is hardly shocking. Coupled with all of the other Bush era scandals that have been uncovered, partially uncovered, and those that have yet to be revealed, this one barely registers on our burnt out outrage-meters.

But there is something about this particular story that is unique. The media's own failure to report this matter timely may have handed reelection to George Bush.

More on the flip

The New York Times first reported the NSA's illegal wiretapping program on December 16, 2005. Now remember, the Times is purportedly the charter member of the "liberal media." So, of course, the criticism was strong. But in December 2005, things were already going poorly for Bush for the first time after 9/11.

Bush had been decisively turned around on his attempt to scrap Social Security. Hurricane Katrina happened. Then this scandal came out. This was all part of the beginning of the wave that broke on his ass in the 2006 elections.

The problem is, it should have broke before the 2004 election.

According to many sources, this one is the Los Angeles Times, NYT could have published the story before the 2004 election.

The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.

But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper's internal discussion.

IIRC, the initial reports were that the NYT had not learned of this before the 2004 election, only after. But the truth was they knew. And they didn't report it. That's old news. It's obvious that they were scared and didn't want to be criticized of affecting the election. But they assumed—wrongly—that they had the whole story and, gosh, it wasn't that bad. They were wrong and it has affected all of us.

We can't know if Bush would have been reelected anyway. We can't know if the report would have backfired and played into the Swiftboating. But, on the other hand, these revelations in the harsh light of a Presidential campaign may have led to the revelations that only came later coming out earlier, even those today.

I'm not writing this specifically to attack the NYT, but to ask: how many more reporters, federal workers—how many people are out there that could have blown the whistle sooner but were scared by Bush's "war on terror" rhetoric? How many are there still?

Originally posted to Attorney at Arms on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 01:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  For war crimes, and high crimes (10+ / 0-)

      Petition Badge
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      Tipped and Rec'd, attorney at arms.

      I like that user name, to quote paraphrase Terry Pratchett it must be like an attorney "with all the trimmings"


      The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

      by MinistryOfTruth on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 02:01:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, NonnyO, chigh, Calfacon, polar bear

      We can't know if Bush would have been reelected anyway

      He wasn't "re-elected".  There were shenanigans in Ohio - even the small vote verification recounts were rigged.  Knowledge of the surveillance may have tipped the scales and made vote rigging irrelevant.

      What would have tipped the scales more would have involved some truthiness and questioning regarding the necessity of invading Iraq.  The press was unquestioning and seemingly unconcerned with the house of cards rationale for the war.  The media even went so far as to stop booking interviews with anyone who questioned the "evidence" of WMD.  Then, just like good drooling sycophants, they went along with all the other excuses for war that were given when the WMD weren't found.

      And now the print press is sitting there scratching their heads wondering why they're going under....

      Those who yell do so because their arguments are so weak they can only be supported by massive amounts of hot air. Sue, West Allis, Wisconsin

      by Puddytat on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 02:09:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wish we could impeach the gray lady (4+ / 0-)

    they were pretty darn complicit in the whole sordid mess of the Cheney/Bush fiasco.

    "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by SteveP on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 02:02:31 PM PDT

  •  Gray Lady's out of danger . . . . (6+ / 0-)

    along with Messrs Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.  There will be NO investigation or prosecution of wrong doping lest it mar the gleaming edifice of bi-partisanship currently under construction Inside the Beltway.

    Justice is, apparently, fungible.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 02:10:34 PM PDT

  •  War of Convenience (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, polar bear

    There is no such thing as a "war on terror", never has been.
    The real war on terror will begin when we start asking the right questions and demand answers from those who were elected to represent us.

  •  Or maybe they were satisfied with (0+ / 0-)

    the Bush/Cheney regime?  Wars to report traditionally increase reader/viewership.  Then they were given all that access to high level Bush Admin folks after all those years of being shunned by the Clinton WH.  Of course during those eight years their journalistic skills withered to the point that they swallowed whole everything Bush's gang purposely put in front of them - "unnamed administration source says, ..."  So, how could we expect them to believe the incredible story that illegal spying was going on when they couldn't triple source/corroborate it?  

    What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

    by Marie on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 02:24:06 PM PDT

  •  I've been saying this for some time (0+ / 0-)

    Bush had and entire Gestapo like army that sought to harass and intimidate any perceived threat to his agenda.  I my case they deemed me a threat to exposing corporate corruption, and had to be neutralized in the eyes of the corporate fascist.  Heck the wiretaps were a small part of this harassment, they were the easy part.  But having goons following me around and threatening me is what I take issue to.  I’m far from a terrorist threat, I was born and raised in America and have never had any extremist ties, yet was treated under this program as though I was a terrorist.

  •  Meanwhile back in congress... (0+ / 0-)

    The part that bugs me is that congress got surprised by all of this. I mean, hasn't anyone figured out that all powers will eventually be abused? It wasn't even the first time that Bush had lied to their faces. But, of course, even though these powers have been PROVEN to be useless, no one will be able to figure out how to repeal them, or how to punish the guilty.

  •  Title modification suggestion (0+ / 0-)

    would be appropriate to put "re-election" in quotes...

    Republicans: YOU'RE the PROBLEM, WE'RE the SOLUTION.

    by dagnome on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 05:49:17 PM PDT

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