Friday, May 17, 2013
Psychics are running USA Today!
BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
USA TODAY'S GREGORY KORTE USED TEA LEAVES AND A CRYSTAL BALL TO WRITE THE FOLLOWING:
The scandal at the Internal Revenue Service goes far beyond the treatment of Tea Party groups and includes larger issues of abuse of power, the chairman of the House's chief tax-writing committee said at an oversight hearing Friday morning.
"With all due respect, this systematic abuse cannot be fixed with just one resignation, or two," said Rep. Dave Camp, R. Mich., who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. "This is not a personnel problem. This is a problem of the IRS being too large, to intrusive, to abusive."
THAT HEARING STARTS IN AN HOUR IN FIFTEEN MINUTES. REPEATING, THAT HEARING, THAT GREGORY KORTE IS TELLING US ABOUT, HAS NOT YET STARTED.
AS THE SCREEN SNAP DEMONSTRATES, PSYCHIC KORTE ACTUALY POSTED HIS STORY LAST NIGHT "11:40 p.m. EDT May 16, 2013."
THURSDAY NIGHT PSYCHIC KORTE 'REPORTED' ON THE HEARING. AS C.I. OF THE COMMON ILLS HAS LONG NOTED, THE BULK OF THE 'REPORTING' ON CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS THAT THE PRESS DOES IS NOTHING MORE THAN READING THE WRITTEN STATEMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE COMMITTEE 24 HOURS AHEAD OF TIME.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Monday came news of the Justice Dept secretly spying on the 167 year-old news organization Associated Press by seizing their phone records for April and May of 2012. Earlier this month, May 5th, US Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft observed:
Today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s proclamation of World Press Freedom Day, an occasion for the international community, governments, media organizations, civil society, and average citizens to promote press freedom around the world, to recommit to defend the media from attacks on its independence, and to pay tribute to the journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. Freedom of speech and expression is a cornerstone of all our democratic rights, for an uninformed citizenry cannot be a democratic citizenry. In the United States, our Founding Fathers saw this right as so crucial that they placed it first in our Bill of Rights, decreeing that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”
World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity for us all to oppose repression of the media, to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression, to protect journalists, and to tolerate opinions with which we may disagree. As democracy has increasingly replaced dictatorship around the world, the right of free expression has become a vital mechanism to maintain those hard-won freedoms. Journalists and bloggers keep citizens informed, keep governments honest, and often reveal uncomfortable truths. We must work to ensure that journalists are not persecuted, threatened, attacked, or killed for seeking to inform and educate citizens; we must prevent newer online technologies – sophisticated media tools, networking groups and bloggers reaching millions – from being censored, firewalled, or closed.
It's a message the Justice Dept apparently missed. In its 167 years this month, the Associated Press has won 51 Pulitzer Prizes, has lost over 30 journalists who died while practicing journalism and witnessed the changing technology: "AP delivered news by pigeon, pony express, railroad, steamship, telegraph and teletype in the early years. In 1935, AP began sending photographs by wire. A radio network was formed in 1973, and an international video division was added in 1994. In 2005, a digital database was created to hold all AP content, which has allowed the agency to deliver news instantly and in every format to the ever expanding online world." The Economist observes, "All manner of people who might have wanted to keep their contact with the press secret will have been caught in this dragnet; others might now hesitate to speak to reporters. That concern is not far-fetched: under Barack Obama’s watch, the government has indicted six officials for leaking secrets under a law called the Espionage Act, which had only previously been invoked against government officials three times since it became law in 1917."
Based on Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony to the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, this report by Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo from May 2012 is what has angered the government. It opens with, "The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Associated Press has learned."
Today on his radio program The News Dissector (Progressive Radio Network, airs Thursdays at 5:00 pm EST), host Danny Schechter observed that the Justice Dept's actions have "outraged people left, right and center." On parts of the left, sure, parts. As Danny quickly found out when he spoke to his guests. Cult of St. Barack member Al Gioradano (who will never live down his disgraces in 2008) declared it a "big yawn." Hobbyist Gioradano then referred to it as "pout rage."
Pouting is accurate -- in terms of describing certain elements of the left. For everyone decrying, you have a large number of pouters. Chris Hedges pouted yesterday on Democracy Now!, whining that his personal stories of choice (no, not his October 2001 front page New York Times article falsely linking Iraq to the 9-11 attacks) of choice didn't get coverage by the AP so what did it matter, the AP was silent, so what does it matter? Well the AP isn't silent on Bradley Manning. They do file repeatedly on Bradley Manning. That was one of his two stories. On Julian Assange? AP doesn't do feature writing. Julian Assange is yesterday's news. It's really not breaking news. AP is a wire service that covers breaking news. Some would journalist Chris Hedges would understand but those people probably missed his October 2001 front page effort to sell the war on Iraq. Before there was Judith Miller, there was Chris Hedges.
On Danny's radio program, it was said who could name a reporter at AP? Who can name a reporter anywhere these days other than TV? Most people can't. I can name a ton of AP reporters off the top of my head including Sameer N. Yacoub, Adam Schreck who are among the reporters covering Iraq. I can name former AP reporters such as Chelsea J. Carter but I'm someone who pays attention. I can track the career trajectories of the last ten years, for example, of Liz Sly and Sam Dahger -- two reporters who have changed outlets repeatedly.
AP stood alone in its coverage of the March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi by US soldiers stationed in Iraq. Brett Barrouquere owned that story. And though he wrote very important reports and would probably have emerged as the best in a crowded field, the reality is others ignored it after the initial revelations. There were court-martials of the soldiers still in the service and there was the trial of the ringleader who had already left the military. Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now!, The Nation, go down the list, didn't give a damn. In fact, Katha Pollitt only covered (half a sentence in a column) one of the most outrageous War Crimes of the Iraq War because she was shamed into doing so by the fact that non-feminist Alexander Cockburn had called it out and she hadn't. When readers and critics began noting that, she finally did a half sentence on a 14-year-old Iraqi girl at home with her family when US soldiers broke into her home, took her parents and her five-year-old sister into another room as they started gang-raping Abeer. As the gang-rape took place, Abeer could hear the gun shots and the screams as her parents and her sister were killed. Then Steven D. Green came back into the living room, took his part in the gang-rape and then shot and killed Abeer which was followed by an attempt to set her body on fire.
This wasn't news to The Nation magazine. This wasn't worthy of a column for feminist Katha Pollitt. When Green's trial started, the AP had a little competition -- local media in Kentucky and Arianna Huffington who, to her credit, saw this as a story worth paying for and The Huffington Post had regular coverage as a result. The trial kicked off April 27, 2009 in Paducah, Kentucky. Apparently, although I thought it was a nine hour drive from DC, it's actually all the way around the world and unreachable by our so-called 'independent media' who couldn't be bothered to cover it. By the same token, AP's the only US news organization filing regularly from Iraq now. Every day they're filing, several times a day.
The pouters on the left who can't be bothered by AP are joined by the Cult of St. Barack which will make you eat lead paint and tell you it's broccoli. Yesterday, Jason Linkins (Huffington Post) exposed Media Matters for America which was working a list of talking points about how the Justice Dept's seizure of records was no big deal:
Finally, the most obvious thing needs to be said: I'm pretty sure that if this probe of the Associated Press had been conducted by a Republican administration, you would not be doing all of this "Let's give the snoopers the benefit of the doubt."
I am pretty sure that your anger over the breach of these journalists' privacy would be epic and righteous and uncowed.
ThinkProgress! You guys need to check yourselves as well!
There are some deeds, I'm afraid, for which having the favored party identification is not an affirmative defense. It is not OK that the DoJ did this because the DoJ is being run by the guys who you perceive to be wearing the white hats. Snooping through the phone records of reporters doesn't become OK because Democrats are doing it, and it doesn't become evil by dint of the fact that Republicans are doing it. IT IS EITHER ALWAYS RIGHT, OR ALWAYS WRONG.
The thing is, Media Matters, you have painted yourselves into a corner here. Someday, in America, there is going to be a Republican in the White House. They will run the DoJ. They will contend with leaks of their own. They will face a choice as to whether to abridge the rights of the press to hunt that source down. They might even choose to do something very much like the DoJ did in this instance.
Linkins is kind enough to add a statement from Media Matters where they insist it wasn't them, it was Message Matters. Here is Message Matters -- above their name at the top of the screen is "Media Matters Action Network." Message Matters is a division of Media Matters. Yesterday evening Michael Isikoff (NBC News) filed a report that even put into question the supposed reason for the investigation:
Within hours after the AP published its May 7, 2012 story, then-White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, currently the director of the CIA, held a background conference call in which he assured television network commentators that the bomb plot was never a threat to the American public or aviation safety.
The reason, he said, is because intelligence officials had “inside control” over it.
Stephen Walt (Foreign Policy) observes, "The greater but more subtle danger, however, is that our society gradually acclimates to ever-increasing levels of secrecy and escalating levels of government monitoring, all of it justified by the need to 'keep us safe.' Instead of accepting that a (very small) amount of risk is inevitable in the modern world, our desire for total safety allows government officials to simultaneously shrink the circle of individual freedoms and to place more and more of what they are doing beyond our purview." On the first hour of today's The Diane Rehm Show, Diane's topics were the IRS and AP scandals. Her guests were (all men -- how sadly normal for Diane's pathetic show) attorney Scott Fredericksen, NPR gadfly David Folkenflick and the ACLU's Gabe Rottman. We'll note Rottman on the AP scandal.
Gabe Rottman: Absolutely. And it's important to realize here that the First Amendment and the freedom of the press that it protects is not protecting the press. It's protecting the public. It's protecting our ability and our right to know what the government is doing in our name. And that's all the more important when it comes to national security cases like this where the government has vast authority to make secret its activities. And this particular subpoena is so chilling because of two reasons. First, it's extremely broad. It covered 20 phone lines in offices where more than 100 reporters work. And then in addition to that and perhaps more troubling, the Department of Justice elected to delay notifying the Associated Press that it had issued the subpoena for these telephone records. What that means is the Associated Press was robbed of the ability to go to court to challenge the subpoena.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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"THIS JUST IN! ERIC HOLDER'S IS CONFUSED!"