Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Dead Horse That Must Be Beaten

I know. The last person you want to hear more about is Jeff Gannon, aka James Guckert. But there’s a few things you might want to know before we inter that old nag. Let’s start with the fact that Bobby Eberle, ultimate owner of Talon News, was a delegate to the 2000 convention, and thanked G. Gordon Liddy and Karl Rove on his site for their assistance.

How about adding to that the fact that Talon News ran with an erroneous story saying that an intern had recorded interviews with the major networks substantiating charges of infidelity concerning John Kerry?

So what's the big deal? Why do we persist in dealing with this story? Well, it all has to do with the reliability of the information we are presented with.

Bias is a minor consideration, usually. You can always lift the facts out of a story and build your own theory on what's going on. What we are dealing with here is the story at its very point of origination. When the facts are compromised from the very start, even the most reliable news organizations picking these things up can be compromised.

Let's face up to fact here: many politicians are self-serving, and given half a chance, they use the media to smear their opponents and elevate themselves. Most of the time, that has to be done indirectly, and the reporter doesn't necessarily have the politician's agenda front and center.

People can argue this point concerning Dan Rather, but ultimately, Dan Rather, rather than stonewall forever and admit nothing, as GOPUSA and TalonNews are doing, finally ran a report admitting they were wrong about the documents. They would also follow up with an investigation that would wipe out the team involved. Have Bob Novak or Jeff Gannon fallen on their swords on their role in the Valerie Plame outing, a clearly illegal event?

Let's just imagine for a moment that this was me in there, not Gannon, and I didn't write for Watchblog or anything, but some hard left online agitprop site. Let's imagine there's a Democrat in the White House. I'm not getting paid anything to write here, so I'm not supporting myself by my "journalism". I write these pro-presidential articles, and by some quirk of the system, I get to hang around among the paid reporters, getting a provisional day pass every day from the administration. I get this pass before I even have a publication to represent At least one that isn't openly partisan.

Not only that, I get to attend two of their Christmas Parties, trouble being that these things are kind of Exclusive.

I get, by some great coincidence, documents showing that a certain former ambassador's wife was NOC, a secret agent supposed to work under a cover that's not diplomatic, and therefore not subject to diplomatic immunity. I get this leak the same way the much better established Robert Novak would get it.

Is it just some massive trick of fate that my pro-Democrat news organization magically gets such extraordinary access, so quickly after its founding? And even before it?

Some Republicans might start raising some questions about whether I was close to this president. It might be especially interesting if I had been throwing them ideological softballs, designed to give them opportunity to opine, instead of having to face the skeptical questioning of less well-aligned reporters.

That's what we really need: flatterers at the court of the king, whether that Democrat or Republican. Especially flatterers to which we have great access and influence. It doesn't matter that we're presenting non-professional journalists as the real thing, or reprinting party platforms and press releases as informative articles. What matters is that our administration gets the image it wants, regardless of whether it's done the work to deserve it.

Putting aside this fiction for a moment, let's see the bigger picture here: This is the shaping of public opinion, not by the honest persuasion based on informed consent, but based on social instincts and peer pressure that circumvent rational thought. This is the big lies, told over and over again until the very insistence on the truth becomes the evidence.

I think as a country, even as fellow party members to our respective administrations, we have a right to know, a right to be informed of the facts of the decisions that are going to make historical and day to day differences in our lives. When the press is simply made to be a smokescreen for activities and conduct they would rather not have us know or accept, then it starts to corrode at our capacity to exert control over our elected officials.

When we start talking about reining in activist judges, instead of keeping with the judicial prerogative to interpret the law and judge cases by the facts, for example, we forget a crucial check against our legislature and our Executive branch. They, in their zeal to be tough on crime, may forget to be just, fair, accurate, and humane about their laws and their policies. There needs to be a way for such errors to be corrected.

When our parties start telling us that by removing this check, or this balance, or this watchdog here or there, we can free ourselves to do greater and better things, pray to whatever God you worship, or meditate on whatever principle or discipline it takes, and stand firm. Why? Because your protection from your rivals and their protection from you are one and the same. The great compromise of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that no faction or group, whether political, religious, or ethnic can win forever, especially if they chose to ignore people's needs and wishes arbitrarily, or fail to get the various jobs given to them done right.

In the end, our system works best when our government's workings are known to us truthfully, and our questions find answers we didn't even know we needed. This isn't about partisan interests, but the best interests of the American people, regardless of who's in charge. The abuses, corruption, and excesses Democrats and Republicans mutually loath depend on two things to continue their hateful existence: our ignorance and our apathy. Planted political propagandists will only aid the politicians and Washington insiders in covering their asses, and thereby putting our nation's collective ass in a sling. Whether we get our news from those with Republican or Democratic bias, we deserve the truth, not the party line.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2005 8:16 PM