Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

All the President's Men

I was presented with the latest edition of the DVD of the Robert Redford film "All the President's Men". The DVD has a lot of extras, interviews with Woodward and Bernstein and also several other journalists. There were several things that struck me, especially with Sey Hersh getting slammed by the Administration.

The first is that people often miss the point of Watergate. It was about secret, about dishonesty, illegality, election fixing, and most of all, it was about abuse of power. How, in just 30 years time, can we so quickly forget? The generation that lived through Watergate, that was so outraged by it, that watched it play out, is now in power doing the same things.

The second thing that I am again reminded of is the damage that the 24 hour news cycle has done to journalism. Woodward and Bernstein had to work hard over 2 years to get that story nailed. They had to get 3 confirmations for every accusation. And the management of the Post allowed them the freedom, the budget, and the time to do what they needed to do. We should expect no less from journalism today.

The New Yorker benefits greatly from the quality reporting of Sey Hersh and so do we. And I only hope that he isn't the last of investigative journalists. Journalism is really the last resort at curbing government power and keeping it honest. It is frightening how the media has taken so long to wake up and challenge this Administration, especially when most of this Administration worked in the Nixon and Ford Administrations. That alone should have raised red flags among the 4th estate because it sure raised them for me. It was immediately apparent to me when the first cabinet was appointed that we were in for a horrid 4 years. I really had no idea how bad at the time. Am I the only one astounded at how quickly one group of people can change things for the worst?

Anonymous sources are the next thing that I am thinking about. Sey Hersh is getting attacked for using anonymous sources. He is using sources that he has known and worked with for years! Anonymous sources are key to making sure that we get at the heart of the story. These sources were key to keeping Woodstein (Ben Bradley's name for the team) on track. In a climate of fear and distrust, no one will go on record. But the stories have to be told. So I won't fault journalists for using trusted anonymous sources. Administration officials that try to use that as an argument against investigative journalists are putting up straw men.

I recommend that you all get a copy and watch it again just to remind yourselves of what we should be aspiring to. I also recommend that you get the latest version with all the extras because the interviews are thought provoking.

To close, here is a fun fact for you. According to Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian on Radio Open Source, the Guardian has 14 million readers on line, that is more than LA Times. A majority of these readers, according to Rusbridger, are in the U.S. So don't tell me that Americans like conservative media. They keep turning to liberal outlets for information.


Anonymous said...

What's more, in the movie, the main conspirators behind the break in and the sabotage campaign the "rat fucking" were friends from college who learned how to do all that in the Young Republicans.

Today, Rove, Abramof et al were all friends back in the early 70s and were in the Young Republicans during Watergate. Cheney and Rumsfeld worked in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

Not only did we as a people forget but we're letting the same people do it again with the same methods! 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

The damage to the media is so bad that it even hides a truth witnessed by a stadium of people. here   is an example. It is actually sort of funny. Cheney gets booed at a baseball game and you see how they twist the report. Isn't it sad as well that you can judge the popularity of politician by the reaction he gets from baseball fans? That is up there with determining the direction of interest rate changes based on the type of briefcase the fed chair is carrying into the office. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

And the Washington Post is supposedly one of those arch-liberal papers that only go out to attack "honest" Republicans. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

So I won't fault journalists for using trusted anonymous sources. Administration officials that try to use that as an argument against investigative journalists are putting up straw men.  

Claiming that using anonymous sources discredits the journalist is typical administration hypocrisy. Unless they tell us where their (mis)information about WMDs and nuclear programs comes from, and who talked about Valerie Plame, and why the threat level is where it is, it's just a fat pompous pot calling the kettle black. 

// posted by Bob

Anonymous said...

I just caught a headline this evening that the Washington Post  is getting called "wreckless" and "irresponsible" for contradicting the President's statements that the trailers found in Iraq were being used to build WMD.

So I guess newspapers aren't supposed to contradict the President? And how defensive is it to immediately say that the Post was making it sound as if the President knew at the time the report was false! Talk about insecurity.


// posted by USWest