Dana Milbank is a pathetic hack trying vainly to suppress important news on the Iraq War. Fitting job for a journalist, isn't it?
The Washington Post is a joke.
In the past month I have watched the "venerable" institution run its Deep Throat/Watergate connection into the ground as it basks in the self-congratulatory glow only the media heaps upon itself. Countless interviews, editorials and debates have chronicled a descent into madness where news reports focus on how news was reported. Fascinating.
Seriously, who cares? I don't think the universe stands redefined because of the actions of one whistleblower with questionable motives, nor do I consider Woodward and Bernstein a crack crime-fighting duo looking to unseat Richard Nixon. I did, however, respect the paper's act of taking a subversive story and nurturing it, particularly in the face of an administration loathe to reveal its secrets.
Now 30 years later history is repeating itself. The citizens of the United States live under the rule of an administration with so many well-documented lies and crimes no insider is even needed to blow a story open. Draconian laws strip us of our freedoms and warhawks send our friends and family to die in illegal wars. These kinds of issues cry out for fair and accurate reporting — or perhaps a vigilant voice that has long stood for holding government accountable?
Those cries will go unheeded. As the Post'ssole piece — Dana Milbank's condescending piece of trash — on Representative John Conyers' (D-Michigan) Downing Street Memo hearings last week can attest, the Post has no desire to hold anybody accountable for anything. They just want to relive old glories, even in the face of appearing grossly hypocritical. The American people can't piece things together, can they?
If they've been raised on the mass media of the past two decades, not likely.
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The Downing Street Memo is not something that will go away. The consciousness raised by its emergence in May is growing, and it is only conspicuous by its absence in mainstream press and television.
While it shares the spotlight as a damning piece of evidence showing Bush's complicity in starting war at all costs, the memo is merely one of a dozen proofs that the president and his advisors lied to initiate combat in Iraq. Lies that were all propagated through mainstream media outlets in the United States, lies that were routinely forgotten or ignored when time for a retraction came.
Conyers' decision to hold a hearing outlining the lies that led the United States down the path to war should be an important and vital part of maintaining our democracy. It certainly demands more attention from one of the self-styled bedrocks of journalism than the drunken scribblings of a clearly biased columnist like Dana Milbank.
If you have not read Milbank's column, I invite you to do so now. Since its publication, the piece has been so thoroughly vetted as irresponsible journalism the Post rechristened it as a feature and not news.
In it you'll find members of Congress reduced to caricatures of kindergarten "playmates" engaged in a game of dress-up and running around like deluded patrons of the "land of make-believe." Snide, caustic remarks are made about everything and everyone; not even the décor of the room escapes unremarked. Veteran analysts and emotional parents alike were discredited as part of the lunatic fringe.
No accurate account of the hearings is present in Milbank's hatchet job. And this is the only account of the event the Washington Post chose to run.
It is so replete with inaccuracies Conyers wrote a letter to the paper refuting every silly and irresponsible point Milbank made. "Pravda on the Potomac" is a great read; Conyers truly is a dedicated servant of the People and his refrained rhetoric shows what class he has when dealing with an idiot.
All of this, however, raises the question: Why is the Washington Post trying to bury and discredit the kind of news it built its reputation on during the Nixon years? The Downing Street Memo paints President Bush in an even more unfavorable light than the money trail Woodward and Bernstein followed in the '70s — it proves undeniably that the tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq were for naught. It proves Bush is a war criminal more interested in the urban legend that Saddam tried to whack his daddy than in trying to keep American infrastructure from collapsing.
And, damn it, it makes for a great read.
I can understand why the hearings were broadcast on CSPAN-3 — the president obviously wants this downplayed as much as possible. But news outlets? Their reputations are already in the toilet after repeated flubbings of facts, plagiarism and attention to infotainment at the expense of actual news. Regardless of what they might lead us to believe, the media rely on people to buy it or watch advertisements. With declining ratings and readerships, how much of a profit margin are the executives willing to give up just to curry favor with the gang of thugs and miscreants in charge?
Forget even the profit line — how much respect is the Washington Post willing to toss in the Potomac in an attempt to dismiss truth from the public record? I know that Capitol Hill is one big orgy of power and persuasion, but look at what happened with Bob Woodward. By striking up a friendship with Mark Felt early in his career, Woodward inadvertently parlayed his dedication to the story into almost a celebrity career. What journalist nowadays climbs the ranks by investing in the trust of the disgruntled serfs in the White House? Those are the people with the best information, not the sycophants who tow the party line.
Better information, better work, more name recognition. It's win-win. But Washington, D.C. lives in its own little bizarro universe where fiscal responsibility means more spending, where red means go and green means stop, and mind-numbing idiocy is rewarded.
Looks like Dana Milbank is in for a promotion, then.
Canon Fodder is a weekly analysis of politics and society.
Canon Fodder is a bi-weekly analysis of politics and society.