It's been a great week to be a Republican. If you've been following the Newsweek fiasco, you can see the wonderful opportunity it has presented the radical Republicans: A guilt-free divorce from the consequences of their actions in the Middle East (even though we already know the infamous article wasn't at fault
). Check out White House lie-peddler Scott McClellan in this passage from Reuters
"The report has had serious consequences," McClellan said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."
"It has certainly caused damage to the credibility of the media as well, and Newsweek itself," he added later.
his Pentagon counterpart, Larry DiRita:
Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita blamed Newsweek's report for the violent protests that broke out in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Muslim countries.
"People are dying. They are burning American flags. Our forces are in danger," he told CNN.
These two are only the tip of the batshit iceberg, as the Bush administration finally has what it wants: An excuse to chill and/or censor the "liberal media" into further obsolescence. While I'm no fan of the article's author Michael Isikoff, it must be noted that stories of Quran desecration were myriad
. But that doesn't matter now; our boys overseas must be protected from the harm caused by people armed not with guns or improvised explosive devices, but pens and keyboards. Because, you see, is it their
"lies," their attempt to point out what's really
going on that is far more dangerous than the actual
lies that have caused thousands more deaths than can be pinned on Isikoff.
The fucking nerve of these people to say that America's image has been tarnished, not because of a war built on lies and torture, but because of an article is beyond my comprehension. Also beyond my comprehension, though not by much, is the capacity for people to fall victim to snake-oil salesmen like McClellan and his cronies in the Bush administration. These idiots, wandering the intellectual desert, are so thirsty for truth that they'll drink the sand - so long as people like McClellan and Bush keep making it look like water.
I can see the revisionism now: Thousands died in the Civil War because of something printed in the Bangor Daily Whig & Courier. Vietnam War? All the Athens Messenger's fault. September 11? The Athens High School Matrix. Don't people recognize what's going on here? Classic Republican tactics are at work. Skeletons in your own closet? Find a scapegoat onto which to pin your problems. Taliban back in business in Afghanistan? Iraq going terribly? It's the media, stupid, not the war machine fueled by greed, torture and imperialism. But now we've got an excuse to, as Randi Rhodes said yesterday, "cancel the news." Every time a Newsweek-esque scandal arises, the media continues to be beaten back, relegated to covering Michael Jackson and the Runaway Bride. And we don't seem to mind. We're as complicit as they are for what's happening. We want the lowest common denominator. And they're there to supply it.
So Isikoff is taking heat for relying on a single, unnamed source for the story. But here's the thing: In a variation on the standard IOKIYAR (It's OK if you're a Republican), we now have IOKIYSUSIOOO: It's OK if your single, unnamed source is one of ours. From Editor & Publisher:
Q: In context of the Newsweek situation, I think we hear the caution you're giving us about reporting things based on a single anonymous source. What, then, are we supposed to do with information that this White House gives us under the conditions that it comes from a single anonymous source?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to.
Q: Frequent briefings by senior administration officials in which the ground rules are we can only identify them as a single anonymous source.
MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I know that there is an issue when it comes to the media in terms of the use of anonymous sources, but the issue is not related to background briefings. But I do believe that we should work to move away from those kind of background briefings. ...
But there is a credibility problem in the media regarding the use of anonymous sources, but it's because of fabricated stories, and it's because of situations like this one over the weekend. It's not because of the background briefings that you may be referring to.
Q: What prevents this administration from just saying from this point forward, you will identify who it is that's talking to us?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of background briefings, if that's what you're asking about, which I assume it is, let me point out that what I'm talking about there are officials who are helping to provide context to on-the-record comments made by people like the President or the Secretary of State or others. ... And as I said, one of the concerns is that some media organizations have used anonymous sources that are hiding behind that anonymity in order to generate negative attacks.
Q: But to our readers, viewers and listeners, I think it's all the same.
MR. McCLELLAN: And then you have a situation -- you have a situation where we found out later that quotes were attributed to people that they didn't make. Or you have a situation where you now learn that a single source was used for verifying this allegation - and that source, himself, said he could not personally verify the accuracy of the report. ...
Q: With all due respect, though, it sounds like you're saying your single anonymous sources are OK and everyone else's aren't.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not saying that at all. In fact, I think you may have missed what I said. I think that we should move away from the use of -- the long-used practice of the background briefings, and we've taken steps to do that. ...
Q: We also have incidents, like most recently with the energy speech, where it was before the president made his comments, it was all we had - and we had to make the decision of whether to report this from anonymous sources who, frankly, in that case, we didn't even know who they were.
MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of that one, I mean, that was simply done because the president was making the announcement the next day. But, anyway, we've taken steps to address that matter.
Sure, Scott, you've got your top men working on it. Top men.