eliminate the middleman

Redsock posted this excellent excerpt from Greg Palast:
Was there a problem with the [Newsweek] story? Certainly. If you want to split hairs, the inside-government source of the Koran desecration story now says he can't confirm which military report it appeared in. But he saw it in one report and a witness has confirmed that the Koran was defiled. Of course, there's an easy way to get at the truth. RELEASE THE REPORTS NOW. Hand them over, Mr. Rumsfeld, and let's see for ourselves what's in them. ...

Despite its supposed new concern for hidden sources, let's note that Newsweek and the [Washington] Post have no trouble providing, even in the midst of this story, cover for secret Administration sources that are FAVORABLE to Bush. Editor Whitaker's retraction relies on "Administration officials" whose names he kindly withholds. ...

As with CBS's retraction of Dan Rather's report on Bush's draft-dodging, Newsweek's diving to the mat on Guantanamo acts as a warning to all journalists who step out of line. Newsweek has now publicly committed to having its reports vetted by Rumsfeld's Defense Department before publication. [Emphasis mine.] Why not just print Rumsfeld's press releases and eliminate the middleman, the reporter?
That pretty much sums it up for me.


G said...

Are We Still A Democracy? has posted a great summation/commentary on Scott McLellen's recent experience of being torn to pieces by the press.

As AWSAD puts it, the press was free for at least a day.

The money bit:

Behold the power of Facts

Q But may I just follow up, please? He didn't say "protest," he said -- he used the word very specifically, "violence." He said the violence, as far as they know from their people on the ground -- which is something that you always say you respect wholeheartedly -- it was not because of Newsweek.
MR. McCLELLAN: Dana, I guess I'm not looking at it the same way as you do,....{ see if you hold it upside down read it backwards it clearly says "the Walrus was Paul"}
Q You don't think there's any way that perhaps you're looking at it a little bit differently, now that you understand that the Newsweek report is false?
And When Scotty tried to regain the moral high ground by denying that again, another Reporter pounced:

Q Scott, to go back to Dana's question, are you saying that General Myers was wrong, therefore, that this -- the violence he's talking about? Are you saying he was wrong in his assessment of what happened in Afghanistan?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all. In fact, maybe you didn't hear me, but as I said, there are people that are opposed to the United States that look at every opportunity to try to do damage to our image in the region, and -- 
Q Okay - {, Eyes rolling}
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, let me finish Poor Scotty, he's either got to admit he's a liar or call his top military commander in the region one. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
And then there was the coup de grace a question both logical, brilliant and wickedly pointed (Ken Herman of Cox News tossed the fatal dart>

Q In context of the Newsweek situation, I think we hear the caution you're giving us about reporting things based on a single anonymous source. What, then, are we supposed to do with information that this White House gives us under the conditions that it comes from a single anonymous source? Boom. Nailed it. Reporters HATE the fact that this WH won't even tell them what time it is without first insisting that the answer be used only on background. Scotty tried to Play Dumb but Ken was having none of it.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to.
Q Frequent briefings by senior administration officials, in which the ground rules are we can only identify them as a single anonymous source. And Scotty tried to spin mightily, promising to reduce such background briefings (but ducking the question as why it can't simply eliminate them here and now) And then again lecturing the press about the credibility problems of anonymous sources, yada, yada
But Mr. Herman boiled it all down and exposed Scotty's hypocrisy on this issue

Q With all due respect, though, it sounds like you're saying your single anonymous sources are okay and everyone else's aren't.

Full commentary here

L-girl said...

Thanks so much, G. I'm very behind on my reading various blogs, planning to catch up this weekend. This reminds me to include AWSAD on that list. "d" (lower case, if I recall correctly) is excellent.