Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Investigative Puppies

Via Carpetbagger, I read about Ari Fleischer’s damning testimony against Libby, in which he says that Libby told him about Valerie Plame days before Libby testified he had, and how Ari passed it on to reporters David Gregory and John Dickerson.  

Dickerson disputes this, saying:
My recollection is that during a presidential trip to Africa in July 2003, Ari and another senior administration official had given me only hints. They told me to go inquire about who sent Wilson to Niger. As far as I can remember — and I am pretty sure I would remember it — neither of them ever told me that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA.

What a dope.  How has he not figured out by now that this is exactly how the Whitehouse does things?  Ari was passing on a few hints that Dickerson was supposed to follow-up on.  Because that’s how they do things.  They want reporters to think they’re digging up some big story, which is really being handed to them on a platter.  They’ve trained these people so well that they think they’re Woodward and Bernstein, when they’re really little better than Drudge.  And that goes for Woodward too, whose greatest glories were largely reliant on a disgruntled insider handfeeding him information.  The only difference is that the Republicans figured out that he’d gladly be fed by anyone.

And while that technique was always invaluable for a regular story, it was especially so in this case, where they were pimping classified information.  Their plan was to drop all kinds of hints to reporters without giving any one the full story.  That way, they had their cover story that they learned about this from reporters.  Or at a minimum that everything was hazy and got dragged out of various officials by those conniving reporters who are just so clever at digging out the truth.  Except, they had it entirely backwards and it was the Whitehouse playing the reporters for the suckers they are.

And we’ve already heard testimony that this is how they did things.  They had their favorite reporters who they’d dish the “big stories” to, and the reporter felt like they were geniuses for consistently getting the big story.  And it was all a big game.  Had the Whitehouse outright given them these stories, the reporters would have been suspicious.  Instead, the reporters got to pretend to be journalists who magically could get the stories that no one else could get.

That’s Judith Miller’s bag.  Woodward recited two whole books of pro-Bush spin.  And that explains John Solomon and his investigative non-stories.  But it goes well beyond these three and includes most of the big names in journalism today.  That’s how they got to be big names.  These people are trained seals being handfed fish at Seaworld while imagining they’re sharks in the deepest ocean.  Liberals often accuse them of being GOP operatives, but that’s far too generous.  They’re just silly pups who are all too eager to please their masters.  

And if they weren’t that way, the Whitehouse wouldn’t feed them anything and their careers would hit a dead-end.  Because the only way they can get a frontpage story is if the Republicans write it for them.  All this is obvious to anyone wanting to pay attention.  But for reasons that are all too clear, that’s not what any of them wanted.  Perhaps some day, we can have a blogger’s ethics panel to discuss the quid pro quo involved of journalists furthering their careers by pleasing the political establishment.  But as things stand, journalists seem to be the last people to even understand that it’s happening.

1 comment:

whig said...

In other words, they got played.

On the plus side, we have a new generation of journalists coming up in the wake of this embarassment who will hopefully know better. Keith Olbermann and the comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are inspiring us on the blogosphere and are we not in many cases amateur or professional journalists?