The C.I.A. Interrogation Report : What Was Left Out

We are the most powerful nation in the world. There is no excuse, only corruption.

We are the most powerful nation in the world. There is no excuse, only corruption.

On a Plane Ride Home From Paris Sitting Next to a Douchebag With an Ed Hardy Shirt Reading Glenn Beck’s Book

TEEVEE1

1441!

by John Tully
The New York Herald Sun
July 26, 2009


Whether it was Michael Wolff’s “piece” in Vanity Fair on Politico or the Paris tap water that produced the explosive diarrhea on a hot sweaty July night in the City of Lights, we’ll never know…

Time moves both slow and fast in these Dog Days of Summer and the memory hole of the past eight bloody years is fading and digging deeper.

I take you back to the city of D.C.

A few years ago…
A quaint city, soon to written about like Rome, gilded on their own lily and pathetic to boot.

Sucked in to television, watching the camera moves, editing, and heavy music to a story about a mom and a dad and a wife who lose their little/big man to a fiery explosion in Iraq. The soldier leaves a “just in case” final video for his bride, tells her of his deep love, and urges her to go on with life: “get married, have kids”  It’s a noble gesture from a brave young man and the camera cuts to the weeping widow watching the tape.

The evening news comes on and the 80 year-old man who marched against Iraq in a February freeze watches a report on two dead Marines and 17 Iraqi dead civilians . Remember seeing that look on the face of the Marines’ mother or the site of yet another widow with two babies that finally punches the gut.

At this point in the war,  President Bush hadn’t been to one funeral service for them.

Remember.

Remember banned television cameras at the arrival of the bodies from Germany, at the base in Delaware .

The cowering, obedient press corpse giving the President a free pass after 9/11 and the Administration using it to make the United States less safe, less secure, and spoil environmental and geopolitical progress for years to come.

Remembering Television and Freedom Fries and Terror Alerts here in Paris 6  years later, the mind once again boggles and crunches the serious, sad, mistaken war of choice that ignored all plans and warnings of consequences.

Powered by arrogance and breathtaking hubris and television’s Meet The Press and This Week With Will for the latest talking points of the day.

MR. RUSSERT: All right, this way: Should the blogs, talk radio, cable TV—should people lower their voices, and, and, and control their rhetoric?

Remember that very same week when the Vice-President poked a fat finger in the eye of Russia while the Bush Administration reflexively rejected the first written communication from Iran in seventeen years. Neither Vice President Cheney’s speech or the letter was ever mentioned on either program.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had blown the cover of longtime C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame who it turns out was working on nuclear proliferation. Her contacts through front company Brewster Jennings were actively working the underground nukes world. That intel might have been helpful that very same week in dealing with Iran.

Instead, the latest Cool-Kids Media Club Memes emerged: “Anger on the Blogs”

That’s right. Three different allusions to blogs and anger on both Meet The Press and This Week complete with an obligatory question from Tim Russert to new/old ham Newt Gingrich.

Schmuck David Brooks, perpetual mealy-mouthed defender of the Bush administration throwing out his  shoulder shrugging off the incident at Haditha in front of two shocked Marines: Mark Shields and Jim Lehrer.

Remember when columnist Tony Blankley said the war protests were organized by the communist party and the Press corps labeled Al Gore as Crazy for his pre-war criticism about invading Iraq.
How about when war hero Max Cleland was derisively compared to both Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in a television advertisement by his republican opponent, Saxby Chambliss during their Senate race? Mr. Cleland lost his legs and an arm during Vietnam but the republican claimed the democrat was soft on National Security. Mr. Chambliss sat out the war with a bad knee.

Go back in time and recall when Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had no idea how many Americans had been killed in Iraq and called the idea of two hundred thousand troops needed in Iraq as  “wildly off the mark”

It’s apparent that there Was Not a massive intelligence failure and the administration indeed was warned about the vagueness of the information about Iraq.

Remember that classic “Everybody thought-even-France and Germany” song about W.M.D.’s.
The Memory-Hole pieces together the events of the past six years but can never illuminate fully how one of the most brilliant countries in history could now be cowardly defending war atrocities and blaming, as Mr. Blankley said that very same week about the incident at Haditha: “Over reporting by a gleeful media is more damaging than any single fact”

Come to think of it-maybe that gleeful, fluffy, Politico piece that completely failed to mention the publication’s Reagan connection was responsible for that gut bomb the other night.

Either way, I’m still sick as a dog.

JT

Paris, France

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Americans Heart Torture

How Modo Lost Her Mojo ~ Maureen Dowd and the Myth of the Parasite Bloggers

Glenn Greenwald in S A L O N

06_dowd_lgl

The myth of the parasitical bloggers

(updated below)

Maureen Dowd’s wholesale, uncredited copying of a paragraph written by Josh Marshall (an act Dowd has now admitted) — for what I yesterday called her “uncharacteristically cogent and substantive column”– highlights a point I’ve been meaning to make for awhile.  One of the favorite accusations that many journalists spout, especially now that they’re searching for reasons why newspapers and print magazines are dying, is that bloggers and other online writers are “parasites” on their work — that their organizations bear the cost of producing content and others (bloggers and companies such as Google) then unfairly exploit it for free.

The reality has always been far more mixed than that, and the relationship far more symbiotic than parasitical.  Especially now that online traffic is such an important part of the business model of newspapers and print magazines, traffic generated by links from online venues and bloggers is of great value to them.  That’s why they engage in substantial promotional activities to encourage bloggers to link to and write about what they produce.  Beyond that, it is also very common — as the Dowd/Marshall episode illustrates — for traditional media outlets and establishment journalists to use and even copy content produced online and then present it as their own, typically without credit.  Many, many reporters, television news producers and the like read online political commentary and blogs and routinely take things they find there.

Typically, the uncredited use of online commentary doesn’t rise to the level of blatant copying — plagiarism — that Maureen Dowd engaged in.  It’s often not even an ethical breach at all.  Instead, traditional media outlets simply take stories, ideas and research they find online and pass it off as their own.  In other words — to use their phraseology — they act parasitically on blogs by taking content and exploiting it for their benefit.

Since I read many blogs, I notice this happening quite frequently — ideas and stories that begin on blogs end up being featured by establishment media outlets with no credit.  Here’s just one recent and relatively benign example of how it often works:  at the end of March, I wrote a post that ended up being featured in many places concerning the unique political courage displayed by Jim Webb in taking on the issue of criminal justice reform and the destruction wreaked by our drug laws.  The following week, I was traveling and picked up a copy of The Economist in an aiport, which featured an article hailing Jim Webb’s political courage in taking on the issue of criminal justice reform and the destruction wreaked by our drug laws.

Several of the passages from the Economist article were quite familar to me, since they seemed extremely similar to what I had written — without attribution or credit:

Salon

America has easily surpassed Japan — and virtually every other country in the world — to become what Brown University Professor Glenn Loury recently described as a “a nation of jailers” whose “prison system has grown into a leviathan unmatched in human history.”

Economist

“A Leviathan unmatched in human history”, is how Glenn Loury, professor of social studies at Brown University, characterises America’s prison system.

Salon

Most notably, Webb is in the Senate not as an invulnerable, multi-term political institution from a safely blue state (he’s not Ted Kennedy), but is the opposite: he’s a first-term Senator from Virginia, one of the “toughest” “anti-crime” states in the country (it abolished parole in 1995 and is second only to Texas in the number of prisoners it executes), and Webb won election to the Senate by the narrowest of margins, thanks largely to George Allen’s macaca-driven implosion.

Economist

Mr Webb is far from being a lion of the Senate, roaring from the comfort of a safe seat. He is a first-term senator for Virginia who barely squeaked into Congress. The state he represents also has a long history of being tough on crime: Virginia abolished parole in 1994 and is second only to Texas in the number of people it executes.

Salon

Moreover, the privatized Prison State is a booming and highly profitable industry, with an army of lobbyists, donations, and other well-funded weapons for targeting candidates who threaten its interests.

Economist

Mr Webb also has some powerful forces ranged against him. The prison-industrial complex (which includes private prisons as well as public ones) employs thousands of people and armies of lobbyists.

Salon

That is an issue most politicians are petrified to get anywhere near . . . .[T]here is virtually no meaningful organized constituency for prison reform. To the contrary, leaving oneself vulnerable to accusations of being “soft on crime” has, for decades, been one of the most toxic vulnerabilities a politician can suffer.

Economist

Few mainstream politicians have had the courage to denounce any of this. People who embrace prison reform usually end up in the political graveyard. There is no organised lobby for prison reform.

I don’t consider that at all similar to what Dowd did, since there wasn’t wholesale copying.  In fact, since there wasn’t really full-on copying, I don’t think there’s any ethical issue involved in this example.  I don’t think the writer of that article did anything wrong at all.  And anyone who spends any time writing a blog, or anything else for that matters, should consider it a good thing when their work is used, with or without credit.  Nobody would engage in that activity in the absence of a belief that they have something worthwhile to say and a desire that it have some impact on political discussions.

I raise this only to illustrate how one-sided and even misleading is the complaint that bloggers are “parasites” on the work of “real journalists.”  Often, the parasitical feeding happens in the opposite direction, though while bloggers routinely credit (and link to) the source of the material on which they’re commenting, there is an unwritten code among many establishment journalists that while they credit each other’s work, they’re free to claim as their own whatever they find online without any need for credit or attribution (see here for a typical example of how many of these news organizations operate in this regard).

It’s difficult to quantify, but a large percentage of political reporters, editors, television news producers, and on-air pundits read political blogs or other online venues now.  Many do so precisely because blogs are a prime source for their story ideas.  Contrary to the myth perpetrated by establishment media outlets, there is substantial original reporting, original analysis and the like that takes place on blogs.  That’s precisely why so many journalists, editors and segment producers read them.  And while some are quite conscientious about identifying the online source of the material they use — The New York Times‘ Scott Shane recently credited Marcy Wheeler for a major, front-page story on torture and previously wrote an article hailing FireDogLake as having the best coverage of any news organization of the Lewis Libby trial — credit of that sort is still rare enough that it becomes noteworthy when it happens.

The tale of the put-upon news organizations and the pilfering, parasitical bloggers has always been more self-serving mythology than reality.  That’s not to say that there’s no truth to it, but the picture has always been much more complicated.  After all, a principal reason for the emergence of a political blogosphere is precisely because it performed functions that establishment media outlets fail to perform.  If all bloggers did was just replicate what traditional news organizations did and offered nothing original, nobody would read blogs.  And especially now, as bloggers and online writers engage in much more so-called “original reporting” and punditry, the parasitical behavior is often the reverse of how it is depicted.  The Maureen Dowd/Josh Marshall episode is a particularly vivid and dramatic example of that, but it is far from uncommon.

UPDATE: A blogger who writes on TPM’s open blog site, Boyd Reed, reacted to the Maureen Dowd story today by randomly entering some of his own posts in Google, and found that a reporter at Salem News, Dorsett Bennett, copied several paragraphs of Reed’s post on Michelle Bachmann verbatim for Bennett’s column on the same topic.  Reed writes about his discovery today here (h/t Liberal Artist).  Compare Reed’s February 20 TPM post with Bennett’s February 27 Salem News column.  The copying is extensive and shameless.  Parasitical indeed.

– Glenn Greenwald

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers

%d bloggers like this: