The Corner

Babs

She is not a very bright woman. Oh, I don’t say this because what she wrote is so blazingly stoopid so as to be beyond the pale. Though it is very dumb, but conventionally so. I say it because she’s a multi-millionaire and she has the resources available to sound pretty smart by having ghost writers, assistants or, for that matter, a Guatamalan guest worker from her garden do her writing for her. And yet she comes up with this nonsense nonetheless:

If you cross this administration you get your head handed to you. If you open your mouth and tell the truth like former White House Economic Advisor Lawrence Lindsay did when he told the Administration that the Iraqi war was going to cost between $100-$200 billion dollars, you get fired. If you disagree with the President, like Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill did one too many times regarding the President’s policy on tax cuts, you get canned. If you claim that the Administration is misrepresenting the facts and misleading the public, like Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson did, your wife’s career gets ruined when she gets outed as a CIA operative in the national media. If you tell the administration that several thousand more servicemen and women are needed in Iraq, like General Shinseki did, you get publicly scolded as being incorrect. And, if you choose to air a story about George Bush’s military service, or lack thereof, like CBS did last week, you and your award winning news anchor, get investigated by the FCC.

So it’s no wonder that the press has taken a backseat to reporting the misdeeds of this administration. It’s not surprising that the press failed to ask the hard questions leading up to the war in Iraq, when a more informed public still had time to speak up. Never mind that CBS’s story included substantive and uncontested evidence that Bush didn’t show up for duty when he was supposed to, that he skipped a required physical that grounded him from flying, and that he mysteriously received an honorable discharge. Yes…the documents CBS presented could not be confirmed for their authenticity, but these details of Bush’s military record have been out for public consumption for years. Why is the media not discussing the facts behind the story instead of just focusing on CBS? For example, Killian’s secretary said those memos accurately reflected the Colonel’s feelings. Ben Barnes, former lieutenant governor of Texas, admitted that he pulled strings to get Bush into the National Air Guard. And Robert Mintz, retired National Guardsman who served in Bush’s unit in 1972, doesn’t remember seeing him there. And in contrast to Senator John Kerry, who said “send me” when given the option to go to Vietnam, according to the LA Times, when asked the same question, Bush checked the box stating “do not volunteer for overseas.” The media’s attention is diverted from the real story because we now live in a time where the fear of revenge by this administration sends a chill through the corporations that control our media and overwhelms the press’ responsibility to investigate, educate and hold our leaders accountable.

Okay just to be clear: the people she mentions before Dan Rather, Joe Wilson and Gen Shinseki were political appointees of the White House. So when she writes “If you cross this administration you get your head handed to you” her examples are from a very select group of people. Al Franken, Michael Moore and countless others have gotten very rich by saying the very same things that Lawrence Lindsay and Paul O’Neill did. So her opening statement would be a bit more accurate if it was “If you are serving at the pleasure of the president and you cross them you will have your head handed to you.” Of course, her examples don’t back that up either because Lindsay and O’Neill were canned for lots of other reasons besides their candor.

As for Joe Wilson, well, a smarter liberal would be close to mortified to trot him out considering the laughingstock the 9/11 Commission report made of him.

And as for General Shinseki, an honorable man to be sure, is it really such a horrible offense to “scold” a general for being “incorrect”? Does Babs now subscribe to the school which says the civilian leadership of this country cannot declare a general incorrect without being authoritarian in some way?

And as for Dan Rather, his questionable “choice” was not to investigate Bush’s record so much as his decision to drag CBS through the gutter by rushing to air documents his own experts warned him were probably fake. Numerous news organizations have raised the same exact issues as the CBS story over the last four years. None of them have been investigated by the FCC because they didn’t use forged documents which have apparent — though not proven — ties to the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign. The reason the press isn’t discussing these issues as much as Babs would like is precisely the reason she’s making a fool of herself: they’ve discussed them endlessly already — and never paid a price for it. Meanwhile, Dan’s Nixonian self-immolation is news.

And, again: most people who “cross” this administration go about their lives doing just fine. I would be much more persuaded if Babs had cited a cab driver or one of her aroma therapists who paid a price — any price — for crossing the admistration, or is she simply made an intelligent argument. But that would take more resources than even she has at her disposal.

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