Thursday, February 17, 2005

Where's The Public Outrage?

Leonard Pitts, Jr. wonders why the American public isn't more outraged by Jeff Gannon's ability to gain access to the White House:
Bush spokesman Scott McClellan has pleaded ignorance, saying that, "In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it's not an easy issue to decide, to try to pick and choose who is a journalist.'' Which is patently ridiculous. Contrary to the press secretary's Hamlet-like agonizing, it's not all that hard to know who is and is not a reporter.

If an individual reports for a recognized media outlet that observes customary standards of journalistic integrity -- even if it tends to view the world through a conservative or liberal editorial prism -- that person is a reporter.

But if the person works for an outlet that simply promotes, or advocates for, one political party or another, then the line between reporter and shill has been well and truly crossed.

It's not brain surgery. So you'll have to forgive me for not extending the benefit of the doubt to McClellan. My problem is that he speaks for an administration with a long record of manipulating truth and propagandizing the public.

These are the folks who pay pundits to say nice things about them. The ones who pressure scientists to change science that conflicts with political goals. The ones who ignore their own experts when confronted with information they'd rather not
believe. And this is a president whose press conferences occur with only slightly more frequency than ice storms do in Key West, who ducks hard questions posed by actual reporters, preferring to bat slow pitches tossed by citizens prescreened for their support.

So planting a party stooge among the real reporters hardly seems out of character. The thing is, a government that is not scrutinized by an energetic and adversarial press is a government that is not accountable for its actions.

A government that is allowed to create its own reality is a government that can get away with anything.


Anonymous said...

It’s a great read and I agree with the column, but these guys are just going to stonewall the whole thing anyway. Who knows how many other reporters and columnists are on the payroll? They are just going to keep getting away with it, I’m afraid.

Prent Rodgers said...

Where is the evidence for this: "So planting a party stooge among the real reporters hardly seems out of character."?

Or for this in the comments: "Who knows how many other reporters and columnists are on the payroll?"

These baseless charges are undermining your credibility.

Isn't it far more likely that Gannon did this on his own, not as part of some sinister Karl Rove/Dick Cheney plot? I recommend that you look for the most probable cause for an event, not the most far fetched. As Nick Diamos said, "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity." Isn't it far more likely that the process of granting day passes was run by fools than by malicious plotters?

Repeating this kind of conspiracy theory over and over, like I see bloggers doing, will only end up with some gullible congressman, like Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) believing it in front of a national audience. Kind of like what Hinchey did last night when he claimed that Karl Rove planted to Bush National Guard memos in a deliberate plot to bring down Dan Rather. Evidence is not necessary. It is sufficient to have a feeling to repeat a claim, and have it picked up by the fools who run our government.

Prent Rodgers said...

I read parts of this post and the comments in my Podcast today at the Rip & Read Blogger Podcast. Give it a listen if you get a minute. I include the clip of Hinchey ranting about Rove and the Rather memos, and a part of Pitt's column to illustrate my point about conspiracies hurting the credibility of the left.