Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, October 17, 2005

None Dare Call it Treason

College-educated east coast liberals are often baffled, bothered and bewildered by most of what passes for political discourse in this country. How can it be that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 were supposed to be a reason to vote for George W. Bush in 2004? Why does the prospect of lesbians and gay men getting married in Massachusetts send the voters of the Midwest into a raging panic over the pending destruction of their own families? (Huh?) Why are people who stock shelves in WalMart passionately committed to cutting the capital gains tax and eliminating the estate tax?

But some the weirdest events since the alien invasion concern that flagship institution of east cost liberal elitism, you know what I’m talking about, it’s the All the News that Fits, $60 dollar entrĂ©e restaurant reviewing Newspaper of Record, the New York Times.

In the 1990s, the Times developed an obsessive, pathological hatred of the Clintons, who they pursued like furies with an almost weekly outpouring of 2- and 3-page stories relating incomprehensible details of fictitious scandals, and near-daily editorials calling upon them to be tarred, feathered, pilloried, imprisoned, drawn and quartered, hung, stretched on the rack, burned at the stake, keelhauled, flogged and made to sit in the corner – all over a campaign of scurrilous rumor and slander financed by a wealthy far right fanatic, and even though that same editorial page was in perfect lockstep with Clinton administration policies.

In the 2000 presidential campaign, their political coverage devolved to the level of giggling schoolgirls, obsessed with the color of Al Gore’s suits and endlessly recycled falsehoods about trivial things he had supposedly said in informal settings; while showing not the slightest curiosity about George W. Bush’s past or the blatant lies and contradictions in his campaign promises. Once the Republican aparatchiks on the Supreme Court appointed Bush president, the newspaper’s White House bureau had the hounds of hell put down and started concentrating on the new president’s wondrous affability and his favorite flavors of ice cream. No scandals in the Bush administration, no sir!

Then, after a bunch of buildings in their own city got knocked down while their best buddy was listening to a story about a goat, they started channeling the Office of Special Plans, a propaganda organ set up in the Pentagon to concoct phony intelligence about Saddam Hussein building nuclear weapons to give to Osama bin Laden. The medium, of course, was "reporter" Judith Miller, who had her stories dictated by Douglas Feith and the Pentagon's candidate for future president of Iraq, convicted embezzler Ahmad Chalabi. After they would plant a story in the Times, the Vice President, Secretary of Defense, and various minions would go on TV talking head fests to say, "See, even the pointy head liberal New York Times says it so it must be true."

Now we have the mind-boggling affaire Plame. Patriotic Americans tried to call the war plotters on their lies were excoriated by the Vice President and DoD officials as appeasers, dupes, haters of America, collaborators with terrorists, and the corporate media was happy to pile on. Then Ambassador Wilson was sent by the CIA to check out allegations (that turned out to be based on mysteriously forged documents), which had been used by Mr. Bush as a central justification for war in his State of the Union speech. Wilson publicly declared the allegations to be false, so the conspirators started spreading the lie among reporters that he had been nominated for the job by his wife, who by the way is a CIA agent responsible for investigating chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the Middle East, thereby destroying her operation and possibly endangering the lives of her collaborators and informants.

And we have sacrificed 2,000 of our young people's lives, forever broken the bodies of 20,000 more, killed more than 100,000 Iraqis, spent more than 200 billion dollars with no end in sight, brought shame and dishonor upon the country and won the contempt and anger of the whole world precisely why? They told us that the reason was to stop the development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

One of the people they discussed this classified information with was Judith Miller, who was not writing a story on the subject. Rather than testify as to who at the highest levels of government had committed an act of treason in order to protect previous treasonous lies, Ms. Miller declares herself a martyr to journalistic integrity and principle and spends 80 days in jail. The Times writes weekly editorials extolling her noble cause, gushing tears of pain and anger over an out-of-control prosecutor who would expect reporters and public officials to obey the law, and claiming without a trace of shame that the public interest depends on journalists concealing the truth from the public when their powerful friends commit treason. In furtherance of this ethical stance, the Times does not cover the story in its news pages.

The final denoument is if anything even more bizarre, but I won't waste your time pounding on what others have already beaten to a pulp. (I recommend Wolcott as a good starting point if you have yet to explore the blogosphere on this.)

What the hell is going on here?

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