Now Cough

Sunday, July 03, 2005


How Appropriate

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and the irony shouldn't be lost on anyone that by the end of this week two reporters could be going to jail because there is no federal law protecting reporters who pledge to keep their word to anonymous sources. One of their publisher's has chosen profit over journalistic principle.

The other, more serious irony is that we are in an undeclared war that a sitting president knowingly sold to the public again and again on allegations and charges he knew to be false. So far more than 1,700 Americans have died because of that lie.

Instead of high-fiving over Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Hamilton maybe we should cheer Willliam Randolph Hearst.

I for one will never buy a TIME magazine again. And I urge all of you to boycott any of the publications from Time, Inc. No journalist in their employ is safe from being sold out by their corporate bosses. In a statement and crocodile tears from editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstein, TIME has turned over reporter Matt Cooper's notes to the Special Counsel investigating who leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the press. Here's the TIME statement. in all of its patriotic smarm. This excerpt:

Time Inc. shall deliver the subpoenaed records to the Special Counsel in accordance with its duties under the law. The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments. That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity. The innumerable Supreme Court decisions in which even Presidents have followed orders with which they strongly disagreed evidences that our nation lives by the rule of law and that none of us is above it.

Here's how David Halberstam described Time Warner in The New York Times:

"It is a strange company and it is a different company now, and it is really part of an entertainment complex. The journalism part is smaller and smaller. There is a great question out there: is this a journalistic company or an entertainment company?"

Does this have to do more with bizness than journalism? I'll let you answer that based on this quote from Pearlstine in the Washington Post:

"Matt believed he'd granted confidence to his sources and ought to protect that. I respect his position, but as editor-in-chief, I have an institutional view of how a journalism organization ought to behave"

Uh huh. Here's the difference between a president and a reporter: the reporter should be allowed to suffer the consequences of violating the law which, in my opinion, is a wrong law that violates the protection of Freedom of the Press. [July 5 update from the Columbia Journalism Review] And, it should be up to Matt Cooper if he wants to go to jail to a) protect his sources and b) protect all the other reporters at Time, Inc. from similar fates.

But by Wednesday we might see both him and NYTimes reporter Judith Miller behind bars. She never even wrote about the Plame affair, and Cooper only did after columnist Robert Novak who broke the story!

And what of Mr. Novak? Well, he isn't talking--and he shouldn't reveal his sources. But, has he been subpoenaed by the Special Counsel? Has he appeared before the grand jury? Has he said anything in support of Cooper and Miller and this ridiculous prosecution? Don't know. Don't know. Hardly.

Is Novak, a conservative, getting a bit of a free pass from the special counsel? Heaven forbid that a columnist who has consistently supported the Bush administration and the war in Iraq might be construed to be benefiting from his politics.

It is appalling that Novak, who actually got the leak about Plame and then first wrote about it, is getting off scott free AND not being a more vocal supporter of his colleagues who are protecting his right to protect sources.

Anyone got "lives, fortunes and their sacred honor' they are willing to sacrifice for democracy? Nope, I didn't think so.

Happy 4th of July.


President Bush. This past week at Fort Bragg (or is it braggadocio?). Speech about Iraq. Again. Misleading. Tying the war to 9/11 even though there IS no link between Iraq and the terrorist attacks. Distortion. All of it.

We have more work to do, and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve. We're fighting against men with blind hatred -- and armed with lethal weapons -- who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September the 11th, 2001. They will fail. The terrorists do not understand America. The American people do not falter under threat, and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins.

And people voted for this clown?


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