Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheney: The Man Behind the Curtain

Cheney's recent high profile adventures and comments do not appear to be working in his favor. The media is beginning to nail Cheney for some of his nonsense. Remember all the bizarre stories we've heard over the last six years that are by anonymous sources high in the administration? Editor & Publisher has an AP story on one possible source:
So who are those "senior administration officials" you hear quoted in the media?

Sometimes they're VERY senior administration officials.

Take the person who briefed reporters aboard Vice President Cheney's plane after his secret stay in Afghanistan. He didn't want his name used when he talked to reporters, but he kept using the words "I" and "me" as he referred to Cheney and to the reason for the vice president's visit.

It makes it hard to quote Cheney if reporters have to recast quotes in fictional form (I know, I know, there are accepted conventions for this sort of thing, but when anonymous sources are abusing the process to float politically convenient fictions or to out CIA operatives to exact revenge, journalists and editors need to acknowledge they're being used).

Editor & Publisher also has an item on Bob Woodward and his thoughts on journalism:
Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward said Wednesday that journalists in the U.S. should have been more aggressive in their reporting during the buildup to the Iraq War, according to the Agence France Presse wire service.

Speaking at a conference in Tokyo, the journalist who broke the Watergate scandal reportedly said that the media should have done more to verify claims that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Woodward means well and certainly has caught up to events to some extent but he goes on to say that reporting on the ground was probably necessary (in Iraq) and that the story might have taken years to properly investigate. Actually, there were red flags stretching all the way from June 2002 to the invasion in March 2003. There were reporters, particularly of the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau (now McClatchy), who were doing stories that seriously challenged administration claims, but many big-name reporters (Woodward included) didn't follow up on those developments. And of course, it would have been useful at the time to know which high level administration figures were doing such heavy-handed spinning and whether indeed there was any reality to their claims. But at this late date, we do know one thing for certain: Cheney's calculated habits of political expediency have done enormous damage to our democracy, our national security and our nation.

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