Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Palast Blasts CBS

Greg Palast has let loose with a superb blast at CBS and their recent actions in regard to Dan Rather's reporting of the Shrub's skipping out on his Air National Guard requirement.

"CBS said, "The Panel found that Mapes ignored information that cast doubt on the story she had set out to report -- that President Bush had received special treatment 30 years ago, getting to the [Texas Air National] Guard ahead of many other applicants ….

"Well, excuse me, but that story is stone cold solid, irrefutable, backed-up, sourced, proven to a fare-thee-well. I know, because I'm one of the reporters who broke that story … way back in 1999, for the Guardian papers of Britain. No one has challenged the Guardian report, or my follow-up for BBC Television, whatsoever, though we've begged the White House for a response from our self-proclaimed "war president."

Although the hounding from the wingnuts of the blogger world may at first glance seem justified, Palast goes on to note that the panel that "investigated" the vetting of the story seemed to have some authority, the members of same are far from impartial:

"The "panel" was just two guys as qualified for the job as they are for landing the space shuttle: Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi. Remember Dickie Thornburgh? He was on the Bush 41 Administration's payroll. His grand accomplishment as Bush's Attorney General was to whitewash the investigation of the Exxon Valdez Oil spill, letting the oil giant off the hook on big damages. Thornburgh's fat pay as counsel to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, the Washington law-and-lobbying outfit, is substantially due to his job as a Bush retainer. This is the kind of stinky conflict of interest that hardly suggests "independent." Why not just appoint Karl Rove as CBS' grand inquisitor and be done with it?

"Then there's Boccardi, not exactly a prince of journalism. This is the gent who, as CEO of the Associated Press, spiked his own wire service's exposure of Oliver North and his traitorous dealings with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Legendary AP investigative reporters Robert Parry and Brian Barger found their stories outing the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986 stopped by their bosses. They did not know that Boccardi was on those very days deep in the midst of talks with North, participating in the conspiracy."

You can read the rest of the story here.

Since the retirement of Uncle Cronkite, the major media have not really had a face that the viewers could trust other than Dan's. His involvement in the story (viz. his on-the-scene reporting from Vietnam) is legendary. It was puzzling to me that Dan took so long to actually take a stand on the real story of Georgie's abscounding, but with his refusal to back his own story (regardless of how busy he might have been at the moment) and roll over, and then quit, is shocking.

CBS News was at one time considered to be the crown jewel in the broadcast news media, with a proud heritage and a list of fine reporters.

Now the jewels are turned to paste, and offered by swine.

Monday, January 10, 2005

By the rivers of Babylon . . .

By the rivers of Babylon,
as we sat down,
and there we wept
as we remembered Zion.
- traditional folk song

As I read up on current events, researching the politics and the events that seem to be slamming us almost daily, from the misery of the people left homeless and without social services, health care, electricity, and food as we rage through Iraq, to the unspeakable misery, both physical and mental, of the millions affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, to the mess in the fight over the leadership of the Democratic Party, war, the systematic shredding of our civil rights by the so-called Patriot Acts (that name alone makes me want to smash things!), I feel a very nearly unresistable urge to just break down and hide under a table.

Mother Nature's outrages: the tsunami, torrential rains here in southern Callifornia that just won't quit . . . seem to be a reflection of the terrible things that are being done to my country.

Alberto Gonzales will be confirmed as Attorney General, the torture will go on, people will dissapear just like in the banana republics. The Shrub will lead us back into the Dark Ages, and I feel sick and trembling unto death.

A public thrashing

Over on the Smirking Chimp pages,
Joe Bageant lets loose with a diatribe on American stupity, malice and distain for the rest of the world and it's troubles.

"The people' however, do not deny reality---they create it from the belly of their perverse ignorance, even as the left speaks in non sequitur and wonders why the hell they cannot get any political traction."

Reading it almost made me feel better.