Friday, October 26, 2007

The Pravda Administration

Holy shit! Via Atrios, I see that FEMA is now staging fake press conferences with FEMA employees pretending to be reporters. This is simply disgusting. I can't believe this could happen in America. It's bad enough when reporters regurgitate the lines the Bushies feed them, but when the only people allowed to ask questions are government employees, we're only a few more steps from having the government directly write the news articles. And why not? That's what the Republicans think the role of the media is anyway. And unless the media starts to make a bigger fuss about this stuff, that's all it's going to be.

And the excuse for why they did this is entirely absurd. They insist that they were getting calls from the media all day long, but announced a press conference with only fifteen-minutes notice...and actually expected reporters to be there?? That's absurd. This could make sense if this was an issue that reporters weren't interested in. In fact, I've always wondered what you'd do if you held a press conference that nobody in the press bothered attending. But that clearly isn't the case. The media clearly wanted to be there for this and there is absolutely no reason why an emergency press conference needed to be called in the first place. This story has been on-going for a few days now and there is no reason why this press conference couldn't be delayed by an hour.

And their 15 minute deadline gives the whole game away. If FEMA actually expected the media to be there, how was it that the FEMA staffers already had questions ready? Tough questions like "Are you happy with FEMA's response so far?" That's the kind of question you ask a football coach after a big game, and even the coach is likely to insist that he's happy, even if he had just finished chewing out the team moments earlier. And with FEMA, the question is even more absurd, as he's basically being asked to evaluate his own performance. Needless to say, he thinks it was great. But don't worry, we are assured that the FEMA administrator didn't know the questions beforehand; despite the fact that reporters had supposedly been asking these questions all morning.

Gannon Media

And again, the fraudulent nature of this is exposed when they staged stuff like having the FEMA press secretary announce that the end of the press conference was coming. As if the fake reporters didn't already know that. But of course they did. That was all just part of the phoniness; giving realism to a bogus event. And according to the article, this press conferencc was televised; meaning that far more people are likely to have seen it than will read the WaPo columnist exposing the fraud.

I'm honestly sickened by this. This is horrible. Had they come right out at the beginning and apologized for the short notice, and let people know that no reporters were present, I could accept that. It would be the equivalent of a press release; and they could have done away with the fake questions and just had the man speak. But the fact that they staged a fake press conference with fake reporters giving softball questions...that is simply unacceptable. I really hope some people get nailed to the wall for this. But I doubt they will. Sure, reporters probably would have liked to have asked real questions. But honestly, any tough questions wouldn't have been answered anyway, and it was easier for reporters to not have to go all the way to the FEMA building.

So as with everything else, they're likely to let this slide. Had this been done by the Clinton Administration, the media would have a great time beating him up for it. But these are Republicans and reporters all know that Republicans are con-artists; that's why they love them so much. So this is probably going to be allowed to slide. This one fake press conference was a blow to democracy, and if they get away with this, they're likely to repeat it in the future. Hell, I'm sure Bush would love to have a roomful of his employees asking him questions, and we already know all about "Jeff Gannon," who strongly believed it was the media's duty to regurgitate the government's lines.

But again, why not? Bush doesn't answer real questions anyway and the media almost never mentions the fact, so why not just allow him to avoid real questions in the first place? What's the point? This is all just a game for the media and they have no problem when the Bushies play them for suckers. Even the WaPo columnist writing about this makes it sound more like a joke, with the phoniness of the event being saved for the end punchline. He's not outraged; simply amused.

For the Government, by the Government

And this just isn't how a democracy can work. In any government, the leaders need to have good information to know how to make good decisions, and in a democracy, the leaders are the People. And while we don't have time to go to the FEMA building to ask questions directly, we pay people to do that for us, and those people are reporters. Now the Republicans continue to try to abolish that system, and the media still doesn't understand why that's a problem; and are simply allowing the government to in-source their jobs by making journalism a government function (probably the only case that conservatives oppose privatization, I imagine).

And hell, at this point, wouldn't it be better if we just got the charade out of the way and outright admitted that the media works for the government? If reporters are content with allowing their names to be used on stories they didn't really write, shouldn't we just cut-out the middleman and remove their names all together? At least then people would know that they're being lied to by the government, rather than imagining that some third-party observer has verified the information being given.

But no. The Bushies insist on spoon-feeding propaganda to the media, and the media is perfectly content with eating it. We have met the Soviets, and they is us.


Jeff Gannon said...

Old Media Ablaze Over Staged FEMA Presser

Liberal activists and the Old Media are aghast and outraged over a press conference conducted last Tuesday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Reporters were only able to listen to a department spokesman respond to questions about relief efforts for the California wildfires posed by other members of the FEMA staff. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appropriately chastised the sham press conference and promised an investigation and disciplinary action and the White House expressed its displeasure with the incident.

Surely no one at FEMA believed that the staged event would not immediately be discovered and criticized. What could the motivation have been for such a stunt? Perhaps FEMA wanted an opportunity to present its version of events before the Old Media created its own reality about the fires and the actions of the agency. News consumers had already listened to reporters making comparisons to the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and attempting to find fault with the handling of relief efforts. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had to take ABC’s Claire Shipman by the hand to convince her that everything possible was being done and that she should stop trying to invent mistakes and shortcomings. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and other environuts demagogued the tragedy as evidence of the effect of global warming, while California Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer and Lt. Governor John Garamendi incorrectly claimed that relief efforts were impeded by having troops and equipment in Iraq.

One of the lessons learned in the wake of Katrina is how the unaccountable Old Media are able to create a false impression that their ideological soul mates in the Democratic Party use for political advantage. In my book, “The Great Media War: A Battlefield Report”, I detail the flawed coverage of one of the greatest natural disasters in American history – a record that has yet to be corrected.

When I learned of the fake news conference, I expected that the characterization of Jeff Gannon as a “phony reporter” would be revived. Liberal media activist Keith Olbermann noted it on his nightly train wreck of a talk show and the lefties of the blogosphere dutifully repeated it ad nauseum. This is a classic case of how a lie becomes reality, since the record proves otherwise. I was as real as a reporter gets, writing over 500 articles as a White House correspondent, a job that Secret Service records indicate I actually showed up for more than 200 times over the course of two years. The veracity of my work as a reporter has never been successfully challenged.

Further, in 2006 – a year after my supposed exposure as a “phony reporter” - my peers accepted me into the National Press Club, the most prestigious association of professional journalists in the world. My book about the media will be featured at the National Press Club’s 30th annual book fair on November 1. Not bad for a “fake, fraud and phony.”

Doctor Biobrain said...

Jeff - There are ways for people to communicate to the press without staging phony press conferences: They're called press releases. One can even give speeches too. But one does not use employees to pretend to be reporters. There is no legitimate reason for that. It is complete sham.

What else is a complete sham is having a reporter who doesn't work for a news agency receive special treatment in order to lob softball questions on the belief that the media is biased against them. And yes, that refers to you.

I'm sorry if you think the world is biased agianst you, but that still doesn't give you the right to pimp propaganda under the guise of "setting the record straight". People either have to use the media or they have to speak using their own voice; but under no circumstances can they pretend to be the media when they're not. And you've already admitted repeatedly that you think this is your job.