Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Sell-Out of the Washington Post

It's nice to think back to a day when an independent press doggedly sought to publish the truth and expose the corruption of our nation's capitol - but it's mostly an illusion. "Insider" press corps members have always shielded the American public from knowledge they didn't think we could digest properly, and shielded government officials from scrutiny of matters they didn't think were the proper concern of the public. Examples include the health issues and philandering of certain presidents. Who knows what other revelations have remained hidden in the buddy-buddy world of Washington?

It's also nice to think that things are improving, and that our press corps has develped a more complete sense of duty since Watergate. Alas, that is also a fanciful illusion.

Take a moment and read this paragraph by the Washington Post's "liberal" Richard Cohen:
With the sentencing of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald has apparently finished his work, which was, not to put too fine a point on it, to make a mountain out of a molehill. At the urging of the liberal press (especially the New York Times), he was appointed to look into a run-of-the-mill leak and wound up prosecuting not the leaker -- Richard Armitage of the State Department -- but Libby, convicted in the end of lying. This is not an entirely trivial matter since government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.
If you're not dismayed and disgusted by the prospect of a so-called journalist arguing that the prosecution of Scooter Libby (begun by a criminal complaint filed by the CIA, not the NYT) represent an unwarranted shining of light onto the "dark art of politics", then go here and read Glenn Greenwald's explanation of why you should be.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

1) It's an opinion piece, Dan. That means it's opinion, not so-called "unbiased" news. It's SUPPOSED to generate controversy and disagreement.

2) Why would I want to read ANYTHING by Greenwald? Predictable, and badly written to boot.

3) It WAS a mountain out of a molehill. That does not excuse Libby's acts (one does not lie under oath, at any time, for any reason), but this is essentially a criminal prosecution for what was undelying it, a political act. Politics is a contact sport.

6/20/2007 8:41 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Kinda ironic for you to rip on the WaPo after your dogged defense of Funk's poor ethics. I mean, how exactly can you disparage Richard Cohen as a supposed "liberal" after you defended a guy who sold out the appearance of good ethics and his appointment of a hate group member to a city board.

You might want to try a little soul searching before you critique anyone else.

And if you want to smack around a paper for bad journalism, why leave the city limits. Talk about a mediocre paper. No wait, you probably didn't think there was anything wrong with the Star's coverage of the mayor's race did you?

6/20/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

anonymous me - so by this same reasoning I assume you would agree that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was even MORE of a mountain out of a molehill since the "underlying" act that he was actually being prosecuted for didn't even rise (no pun intended) to the level of a political act. It was an incredibly personal act.

Right?

6/20/2007 9:01 AM  
Blogger les said...

Also, XO, Clinton was not even convicted. Still impeachable. Anonymous me exhibits the best of IOKIYAR. A repub CIA files a complaint, a repub DOJ appoints a repub prosecutor, a repub judge finds evidence of perjury and obstruction obvious; but poor Scooter should be pitied and coddled because it's just politics as usual. Unfortunately for us, to today's repubs, it is politics as usual. Unfortunately for them, it's also a felony.

6/20/2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger les said...

I also have to ask: if there was no underlying crime or problem, why did the Scoot think he should lie to the FBI and the Grand Jury? I mean, I know incompetence is a hallmark of the Bush administration; but nobody in that courtroom bought the "I'm too stupid to remember what I did" defense in this case.

6/20/2007 9:29 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Clinton lied to every single one of us to our face on national television. He didn't serve one day in prison.

Yet, y'all are ready to hang Scooter Libby (and I bet some of you would want him hanged) for lying about a crime that never happened.

So tell me, why is one forgiven, even adored, and the other hated?

And, as for the Post, I agree, it was an editorial. By it's very nature, it's a biased opinion.

6/20/2007 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Keith Sader said...

travelingal,

If you can't see the difference about lying about a blowjob and exposing the identity of an undercover CIA operative, I don't know what to say.

Some lies are bigger than others(apologies to The Smiths)

6/20/2007 1:10 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Well, actually, I'm laughing. If anybody thinks most of our politicians aren't somehow rotten, then we're all in lala land.

6/20/2007 3:47 PM  
Anonymous anonymous me said...


If you can't see the difference about lying about a blowjob and exposing the identity of an undercover CIA operative, I don't know what to say.


I think they are about the same.

6/20/2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

anonymous me - so then you agree that Clinton was unjustly hounded and persecuted by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy over a consensual sexual act that was no one's business?

Or, are you saying that getting a little head under your desk at work is as bad as outing a CIA agent and that both Clinton and Libby deserve everything that gets thrown at them?

Perhaps you could elaborate and clarify your response.

6/20/2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous Me -

Of course it's an opinion piece - my complaint is that it is a flagrantly stupid opinion piece. If you are not offended by a so-called "journalist" arguing that we should not shine the light on people while they are practicing the "dark art of politics", then I fear you have no sense of outrage left, and that is sad.

Nitwit - I was correct about Funk, and you know it. And even if I had been wrong, it wouldn't mean that Cohen is less of an idiot.

Travelingal - yes, of course it was an editorial. The problem is that it was a flamingly stupid one voicing opinions that would shame any thinking journalist.

And, back to Anonymous Me, your lack of familiarity with blow jobs is unsurprising.

6/20/2007 7:03 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Even "if" you were wrong? Ha. You're just too full of the Funk to see how wrong he was. And you weren't right about Semler, a point you finally conceded.

I'm not defending Cohen (frankly, he's a pathetic hack who should have been retired long ago). But come now, Dan. Pots shouldn't call kettle's black. You can't equivocate on whether belong to a hate group is a good or bad thing and then question whether someone else is really a "liberal."

Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, isn't another Funk appointee to the Parks Board employed by (or possibly part owner of) a firm that does work on the parks? He may recuse himself on some bids, but I wonder if you would buy that line if it were Mayor Brooks instead? Somehow I doubt that one too. No go on, quibble and nitpick and find a lame excuse to show us how you're still right about everything.

6/20/2007 7:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Nitwit -

Let's put this to rest right now. I was completely right about Funk's car - he was correct on the ethics, but the Star manufactured enough faux outrage that it wasn't worth it to hold onto it. No big deal.

As for whether I can question Cohen - I can, and I will. I'm not sure I can track your "grammar" well enough to understand what you were trying to say, but I challenge you to identify where I have equivocated whether belonging to a hate group is a good thing or a bad thing. Let's have a little clarity on that point, okay? If you're going to accuse me of supporting hate groups, bring some proof, okay?

As for your last "point", come on, say what you mean. Are you claiming that someone else on the parks board shouldn't be allowed to serve? If so, why are you making such a claim?

And if you want to complain about me always being right, all I can say is that I have this comment feature. You can use it two different ways if my correctness is such a problem. Either prove me wrong, if you can, or try to use it to make your own valid points. Because all you've done so far is waste time.

6/20/2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

And I would also strongly encourage you and others to stop obsessing about what I would and would not be writing if Brooks were Mayor. First of all, I genuinely like Brooks, and if he had won, I would be supportive and inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt - unlike the pack of ravenous anti-Funk critics. Secondly, even if it were accurate, it's irrelevant. Even if I would be arguing that Brooks was unethical in acceping a Honda, that neither proves nor disproves the point.

6/21/2007 6:06 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Dan, you weren't right anywhere outside of your own mind on the Honda. Ethics experts and a slew of Funk supporters and others (including multiple members of the city council) had issues with the move. Just because you refuse to admit it was wrong, hardly makes it right. The Star didn't "manufacture" anything. It asked some real questions about a real issue. I know the Star took a total pass in challenging Funk during the campaign, but get used to it. For a change, the paper is doing it's job and holding him accountable. Why won't you?

As for Semler, you're the one who spent an entire day defending the Minutemen and Semler's membership. You finally woke up, but it took you way to long. I didn't meant to imply that you see nothing wrong with being in a hate group, hardly. My point is that your failure to recognize that it was an issue with Semler was way off base. Especially after all your crying foul about "anti-Semitic" this that and the other thing in the city council race. Your inconsistency on the issue of "hate" was absolutely hysterical.

As for the other member of the Parks Board, it's a valid question. Why is someone with significant contracts with city parks on that board? Doesn't that present a real conflict of interest both for him and for other members? I'm not saying he should resign, but I think it's a very fair question that's so far gone unasked. You decry Barnes handing the city over to developers, well then how do you jibe that criticism with this appointment?

As to your suggestion that anyone should "stop obsessing" about what you would say if Brooks had won, Dan, it cuts to the chase of what is the problem with much of your defense of Funk. It doesn't matter if it was Brooks or Cleaver or Barnes or anyone else. If you would criticize them for it, then YOU need to ask yourself why you are defending Funk, why are you giving him a pass.

6/21/2007 10:12 AM  
Blogger les said...

Travelingal: "Yet, y'all are ready to hang Scooter Libby."

A 30 month sentence for multiple felonies, committed in obstructing an investigation into possible illegal exposure of a U.S. undercover agent, working in one of the most volatile parts of the world. And that sentence is so excessive it's equivalent to hanging. A pattern of lying, misdirection, and information twisting leading to the destruction of a foreign country that was no threat to us, thousands of U.S. military deaths, tens of thousands of civilian deaths, hundreds of billions in wasted money; but it's no worse than..in fact, morally superior to...a blow job and an accusation--no conviction--of perjury in connection with it.

"Conservatism" in this country is so divorced from reality you have to wonder if it can get back. And you have to hope we can recover from the imperial presidency, and the politicization of the executive, that has been its hallmark.

6/21/2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Nitwit - the issue is not whether people could have an issue with the Honda. Clearly, people did, and I consistently stated it wasn't the smartest thing he could have done. But it was not unethical under any articulated standard, and it was not illegal. I'm glad he changed his mind, and I was right through the whole controversy.

One day is too long to get up to assess whether someone who holds positions which are both common and legal should be allowed to serve in a role where those positions are essentially irrelevant? Okay, I'm a horrible failure as a person, then. And you're the one who accuses me of being close-minded?

As for the other parks board member, make a clear charge with specific facts. You're not interesting or credible enough to make me do your research for you.

Finally, if you want to criticize me because you imagine that I might criticize someone else in a different situation, well, okay, then. But you're not making any sense.

(Now do you see why I prefer to respond to people who manage to articulate a position in 64 words, instead of having to respond to your tedious non-sequiturs, bogus assumptions and wordy rants?

6/21/2007 8:34 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Come on, Dan. "It was not unethical under any articulated standard." According to who? You and you alone. On Semler, you didn't take a day to assess the appointments before lauding Funk, so why should you get a free pass for taking a full day to backpedal on an obvious mistake? And I never accused you of being "close-minded." You're a hypocrite.

The above is 62 words, so suck on that.

6/22/2007 9:49 AM  

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