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Taking a Week Off from the News

Voted for Dean
The funny thing is, I watch the news as if it were my job. I'm a news junkie. But I've been stewing in murderous rage most of this week, and I know why, and I know what I have to do about it. What I have to do about it is, stop reading and watching the news altogether for a week. OK, I may log into the Sunday NYT and read the features section. Or, if it's on the same subject, I may not. See, here's another funny thing: I'm becoming the guy everybody always thought I was. My facial expressions look angry even when I'm not; I'm prone to talking in an emotionally-drained sounding monotone even when I'm not, so all my life I've been confronted, over and over again, by people who tell me that I'm a very angry person, and I need to do something about that. Well, I wasn't, before, not really. Anger's hard to sustain, for me; it just bleeds away into no-longer-giving-a-crap within days or weeks if I don't keep getting prodded at. Well, guess what? I keep getting prodded at.

Here's the reason why I have to take a week off from watching the news. What we have seen, since Tuesday, has been the exact thing I've been bitching about for years about the Columbia Journalism School model of "professional" journalism: the belief that every news story has two sides, that the two sides are of equal value, that representatives of both sides should be quoted equally respectfully, that it is the job of sources and not journalists to determine if either or both sides are lying, and that it should always be left up to the reader to decide which side they want to believe. So ever since the Obama administration grudgingly gave in to the Freedom of Information Act request for "the torture memos," every journalistic outlet, but especially the newspapers and the network news, have been full of the same narrative: Side 1 says that these are evidence of intent to commit torture, so we should resolve to never do that again, but we certainly shouldn't "criminalize policy differences." Side 2 says that there was no torture, and it wouldn't matter if it was, because a "necessity defense" applies. And in all the mainstream news outlets, the stories mostly end there. Although there may be an article, way back in the paper (but absolutely not on the network news except during the opinion shows) that says that there are a tiny few people in side 3 who say that these memos are prima facie evidence of torture and that everybody who could have stopped this but didn't should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but the article then goes on to quote sources from side 1 and side 2 who say that these few people are "radical leftists" and shouldn't be listened to.

And if I keep hearing that, the very least that will happen is that I will go stark raving mad, screaming through the streets. If I keep hearing it even longer, without a vacation from it, I may even go on a killing spree. Because that narrative has me angrier than I have ever been in my entire life. What an honest god damned journalist would admit, if one could be found willing to research the facts and then report the facts in public, is that there is no god-damned controversy about any of the fucking facts at all, and only the criminals who were caught in the act, some literally red-handed, say otherwise.

FACT: As a matter of ample court precedent, every single form of "enhanced interrogation technique" they described in those memos, that they confessed to in writing, is something that past criminals have been convicted of in court as torture. It's not a matter of opinion whether or not locking someone in a stress position until their muscles ache is torture. It's not a matter of opinion whether or not slamming people into the wall over and over again is torture, no matter how careful you are not to hurt them. It's not a matter of opinion whether or not punching them in the stomach is torture. It is not a matter of opinion whether or not repeatedly dousing them in near-freezing water is torture. And it is, for gods' sake, absolutely and in no way a matter of opinion whether or not water-boarding is torture. All of these issues have been settled in courts of law, both here in the US and in US-run trials of other countries' war criminals, over and over again. An honest god-damned journalist, if one could be found, would privilege the facts over the opinion; if they did feel any "professional" need to let the criminals who did this make their defense, they would also show not somebody else's contradictory opinion but the actual proven facts to the contrary, and label them as facts.

FACT: As a matter of unambiguously settled US law, it is not up to Barack Obama or anybody else whether or not the people who are accused of doing this should face trial. No honest journalist would ask Obama, or Cheney, or Rush Limbaugh, or anybody for their opinion on whether or not accused torturers, or whether or not people accused of ordering torture, or whether or not people who are accused of facilitating torture, or whether or not people who attempted to cover up torture, should be charged, nor whether or not people who attempted to obstruct the prosecution of those people should also be charged. It's settled law: they must all be charged. The United States ratified the UN Convention on Torture, and that treaty does not allow any excuse whatsoever to not charge people accused of these crimes. There are only two questions about whether or not criminal investigations, leading to criminal trials for the indicted, will occur that an honest journalist would ask. An honest journalist would ask Eric Holder whether or not he intends to obey the law, as required by the UN Convention on Torture. And they would ask Barack Obama what he intends to do if Eric Holder does not. Nothing else about "should there or shouldn't there be prosecutions?" is an open question.

FACT: The people who are accused should not be making their defense in the media, or among the punditocracy, or from the podiums of civic forums, or on their blogs. Nor should they be making their defense in front of some flatly-illegal "truth and reconciliation" committee. The UN Convention on Torture was written, signed, and ratified specifically to take those options off of the table, lest our government or any other succumb to that temptation. There is a forum for the accused to make their defense. If they want to deny that they did what they're accused of doing, they may do so; if they want to deny that what they did meets the elements of the crime charged, they may do so; if they want to argue a "necessity defense" (even though the laws in question admit no "necessity defense" and no court has ever so ruled), they may do so: in court. There is nothing whatsoever political about it when the Attorney General presents evidence of a serious crime to a grand jury; there is nothing political about it if or when the grand jury indicts. Once the grand jury indicts, all the accused are promised their day in court. They may bring as much legal or expert assistance as they like. They are entitled to full procedural protection. They are entitled to voir dire and all other protections against biased juries; they are entitled to all protection against conflict of interest in the judiciary; they are entitled to appeal. But under the terms of the UN Convention on Torture it is just plain simply and factually and unambiguously not legal to settle the matter in any other way; asking people for their "opinion" on how this matter should be settled is dishonest and shoddy journalism.

I personally think, based on the evidence we have seen so far, that there is no question whatsoever that at least half a dozen top Bush White House officials are guilty of ordering torture; that no fewer than several dozen CIA and military personnel (but, praise the gods, no FBI personnel; thank all holy gods that Robert Mueller had at least that much integrity, or at least self preservation) are guilty of committing torture; I think that the four top ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are very probably guilty of covering up torture; I think that President Barack Obama would most likely be convicted by an honest impeachment trial of attempted obstruction of the investigation of torture and that he should therefore be impeached. I could also very possibly be wrong about all of these opinions. I'm also aware of the fact that according to today's Pew Research poll, 75% of all Americans think that we should disobey the UN Convention on Torture and at least occasionally torture prisoners, and don't think that that opinion isn't angering me almost as much as the journalistic coverage of this issue. These are all matters of opinion, and I do not object to them being reported as such.

But I need at least the better part of a week to calm down, and I cannot do that if journalists and members of the commentariat keep treating matters of settled fact and settled law as mere "policy differences." If I try, my rage absolutely will consume me even further than it already has.


Addendum: Why are we doing this? All I can say about that is that Sara Robinson is a lot more generous about this than I am. But you absolutely should read her thought-provoking article "The Truth about Consequences: Conservatives, Progressives, and Accountability Moments," Campaign for America's Future (ourfuture.org), 4/21/09.

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
anfalicious
Apr. 25th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Can't agree with this post more Brad. The quote "I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS" keeps running through my mind. I especially like Obama saying people won't be prosecuted, like that's even up to him and not the JUDICIAL branch of government. Democracies seperate powers for this very reason.

tangent

I saw Australia's most prominant human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside speak a few years ago about Guantanamo (specifically about David Hicks, the white Aussie who was detained there, also speaking was his Marine lawyer, who was awesome). He accused the PM and top cabinet members of war crimes who wouldn't be prosecuted because the ICC had more pressing cases (like African genocides). He then went on to say "if they weren't they could sue me for defamation, but as that would require full disclosure of their actions in court, they won't".
(Deleted comment)
anfalicious
Apr. 26th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
Really? Wow...
tahkhleet
Apr. 25th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
THANK YOU
You have once again put things together concisely and logically. I knew I had good reasons to be outraged. I'm glad to see the fine details of why. And yes, do what you have to for sanity's sake. "The Crow said 'don't look'" Unlike Eric, you won't be coming back with funky undeadness o_O
the_eleven
Apr. 25th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Hopefully the Spanish will clean our mess up. Or at least make sure none of those asshats get to leave the country, ever again.
lsanderson
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
honest god-damned journalist?
Ho! Ho! Ho! And it ain't even Xmas yet. ;-)
(Deleted comment)
subnumine
Apr. 25th, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)
There was no German government for some years after the war; the French, however, prosecuted Laval and Petain themselves. (For the "politically-minded", like the abominable Washington Post crew: do you think the Republicans would scream any less about an international tribunal?)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
tahkhleet
Apr. 26th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
because big countries are powerful enough that no one dares to enforce the law up on them? Esp since the big countries (esp the US) make up the backbone of the funding of what international agencies we have? Esp since those international agencies are often as corrupt as the regular organizations of the countries they are drawn from?

I am tired of living in someone's alpha test of a life.
antayla
Apr. 25th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
YES. It's amazing how many people are prepared to sell this country's ethics down the river in exchange for a little false security.

I honestly think making efforts to remain the "good guys" offers more general security than preventing a theoretical handful of terrorist attacks. Of course, if we become a country that tortures, we won't see the benefits we've lost. The torturers will point to their "successes" and never bring up the security that didn't happen as a result of international support for a "good" country, nor the terrorist attacks that didn't happen because fewer people hate us.
uniquecrash5
Apr. 25th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
I am keen to read the article you link to, but sadly it requires registration.
kimchalister
Apr. 25th, 2009 07:32 am (UTC)
It has never before required a registration to read, just to comment. However, I tried to go there to check, and it did indeed ask for a name and password -- I gave it what I believe to be correct ones, and got a server error message. Perhaps the site is wonky tonight. Try again later?
Or, I might have a copy of the post.... I believe I sent it out to my email list. How can I get it to you?
neonchameleon
Apr. 27th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC)
I got one when I went to visit the main site. Webserver problems, methinks.
amblinwiseass
Apr. 27th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
I saw the same thing ~20 min ago; they seem to have unhosed themselves now, though.
kimchalister
Apr. 25th, 2009 07:36 am (UTC)
even better, it's cross-posted at Orcinus!
go here:

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/

koogrr
Apr. 25th, 2009 06:49 am (UTC)
Yes, I was listening to the blathering and recalling your past arguments on why they should be prosecuted and wondering.

Also, based on recent unpleasant personal experience with Authority, yeah, it's torture. I met border agents who did a convincing enough job with mere words. I can only imagine what it'd be like to receive some "soft" slaming into a wall from someone of a similar disposition.

It's not excusable, and that such extreme things can be done with apparently no consequences has just allowed the "normal" procedures to slip even further off the edge as well.
kimchalister
Apr. 25th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
Well, the positive side of this is that so many Americans thinking torture is ok absolutely proves that this is not a Christian country.
(/sarcasm)
naath
Apr. 25th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
Yes.

Also ARGH ARGH ARGH ARGH. *bangs head against wall*. I'm fed up with the "it's OK if *we* do it" crowd. Torture is torture, and it's bad and wrong and furthermore doesn't work so it's pointless anyway.
kimchalister
Apr. 27th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
depends
"doesn't work" depends on your definition of "work". If your intention is to "break" someone and to terrorize his compatriots, then it works. If your intention is to get reliable information, then it doesn't work.
I would guess Bush and Cheney didn't really care about information, since they are very comfortable about making up "information" as they go along.
Disgusting. Bad, wrong, immoral, counterproductive in the long run, stupid, sadistic, etc.
phillipalden
Apr. 25th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
What I have to do about it is, stop reading and watching the news altogether for a week..

I don't watch TV, especially the TV "news." I also have stopped reading news web sites. There are many reasons for this, but keeping my sanity and serenity is the main one.

I'm also a "news junkie," so it was hard for me to pull away. (Though not from the TV. Every time I'm in someone's house and the TV is on I cannot get out of there fast enough.)

The one news outlet I have not completely given up is NPR, but I listen sparingly.

To me, most news is needless negativity. They want to get an emotional response from the reader/listener, and the easiest response is anger or fear.

I do subscribe to Mother Jones Magazine, read "The Nation" online, and read books about what's going on in our world. (For instance, right now I'm reading "Meltdown," by the editors and contributors to The Nation.

But I just view TV as a waste of time and energy.
shaktib0i
Apr. 25th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
I share your rage and disbelief. I can't even look at Obama anymore without thinking "what a fucking asshole; he's not really any different that the shrub, other than he talks like he's educated."
kimchalister
Apr. 25th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
It's not that he's no different, he's just not different enough. There really are some differences -- notably on the environment.
Obama has released the memos, and said the door is open to these prosecutions --but the President isn't the prosecutor, the attorney general is the one who has to do it, and decide to do it. If Obama said the door is open in response to our yelling about it, well, he's more responsive to We the People than Bush.
Obama is different on women's issues, he's pro-choice, he says he is going to withdraw from Iraq, Bush wouldn't allow us to see the war-dead, Obama does, Obama has reversed the policy about aid to countries that mention birth control, he is working on legislation to protect consumers from unscrupulous credit card companies, Obama has a bill going through congress to allow windmills off the coast, something that Bush forbade "for security", Obama has allowed CO2 to be declared dangerous.
There are lots of differences. Liberals just have a tendency to see all shades of grey as black.
So, yes, Obama could be better, but he could be a lot worse too.
bradhicks
Apr. 26th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
It's not about shades of grey, to me. It's about lines that must never be crossed. If the saintliest and wisest and most generous and most brilliant leader this country could have or ever will have single-handedly saved us from disaster, and then he used Secret Service protection to guard him while he kidnapped a small child, buggered that child on the White House law, and killed the child for fun, it wouldn't matter how many ways he was better than his predecessor, or all predecessors, or even whoever was in the wings waiting to replace him: he would have become a monstrous thing that is no longer qualified to govern us.

And I consider the obstruction of investigations into allegations of torture to be a crime scarcely any better than that hypothetical example.
kimchalister
Apr. 27th, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
you're quite right, Brad. I was just responding to the "they're all the same" meme, which is irritating and not accurate.
I think Obama wants us to "make him do it". He needs a clear mandate to prosecute so it's not seen as political, or something like that. I can't understand those political games, but Obama does. As Stephanie Miller says, he's playing chess while the rest of us play checkers.
I think we need to just keep up the telling him he has to slap them down for what they did, to let them know it was wrong. It's the only way authoritarians can tell when something is wrong, when they get punished.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Playing politics
I agree 100% with what you say.

The problem is that the right now aren't playing 'reality based' any more. Justice has to be *seen to be done*, and Cheney and co are doing a good job of seeding the idea that any investigation will be politicized.

It's Alice in Wonderland evil bullshit, but after years of laying the groundwork - Democrats are naive, judges are political activists, the media is liberal, we can't tell you what we found out without empowering the enemy ... they've set it up so that half the country will think a prosecution is political.

Obama's three months into an administration, and his statement 'let the justice system decide' is actually the most sensible thing to say. I want the people that did this dragged from their houses on live television, tried and sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor, their assets seized, their children impoverished, they names to become swearwords, I want people who supported them to be whipped in public squares.

And that is precisely why we have a justice system - to take its time, to be measured, to make it impersonal. To prevent that.

What I *really* want is the same I want for Bin Laden. A lengthy trial, followed by a process by which every possible avenue for appeal and re-examination is exhausted. I want it to be *boring*. I want a dispassionate, forensic laying down of exactly what happened, and an exactly proportionate, fair sentence.

I want the system to work.












drooling_ferret
Apr. 26th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
First, this mirrors my own feelings very closely.

I did have 2 questions, though:

1) While it may not be 'up to' the executive to decide if something is criminal, doesn't that branch actually have the power to enforce, or not enforce? Congress's recourse, then, is impeachment, or perhaps cutting off the money. From a separation of powers standpoint, I mean.

2) IIRC, you thought that Ford pardoning Nixon was the right move. I know, I know, not the same situation, but how's that square with your feelings on this one?
bradhicks
Apr. 26th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
1) As a rule, yes. But article 16 of the UN Convention Against Torture explicitly outlaws prosecutorial discretion in torture cases; signatory states must investigate torture allegations, and must prosecute them. This is the one case in US law where an affirmative duty to prosecute exists.

2) If Barack Obama tried to pre-emptively pardon everybody involved, it would pose several challenges. First of all, those who accepted the pardons would be, prima facie, accepting at the very least the equivalent of an Alford plea, admitting to all and sundry that enough evidence exists to convict them of the crime. That would open them up to civil liability, and almost certainly leave them liable to criminal prosecution in any country other than the US that they entered with no defense possible. So I don't think they'd accept it. Secondly, a presidential pardon has to name the people pardoned, and that would include a significant chunk of the CIA operations division. And third, there'd be a minor constitutional issue: the president's power to pardon is enshrined in the constitution, but the UN Convention Against Torture prohibits signatory powers from issuing such pardons. Which law takes precedence? Presumably the former, but if we asserted the former, would any nation ever trust our word on a treaty ever again?

Edited at 2009-04-26 03:18 pm (UTC)
drooling_ferret
Apr. 26th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ah, okay. Not as up on my treaties as I should be.

I think the concern, even from some of the "yes, this was really bad, but we shouldn't look into it too much now" crowd, is that the investigation, prosecution, and possible punishment of all the parties involved would be pretty traumatic / damaging to the nation... so better to move on than deal with it. I suppose the question then becomes: which is more damaging?
tahkhleet
Apr. 26th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
(shakes her head)
Read the link at Sarah's page it says it best: the Republicans have changed political discourse. They have succeeded in making anathema the prosecution of crimes particular to one political party. To start with, equating the 30 million dollar snark hunt to turf Clinton with prosecuting WAR CRIMINALS is obscene. If the Republicans seriously believe that the two are equivalent...and the Democrats cannot convince the "undecided middle" this is laughable...the Democrats are too politically incompetent to hold power...or America is too corrupt to even pretend to be a republic, much less the "leader of the free world".

Were not people shocked at Ahu Grahb (sp) ? If the dems will not risk getting political heat to put down injustice, they do not DESERVE to remain unmolested. Come on, make the fundies squirm :

G*d rises in the court of the mighty;
He pronounces judgment over judges
"How long will you pervert justice?
How long will you favor the wicked?
Champion the weak and the orphan;
uphold the downtrodden and destitute,
Rescue the weak and the needy
save them from the grip of the wicked."
But they neither know nor understand;
they wander about in darkness
while the earth's foundations [G*d's laws] are shaken
I thought you were G*dlike, children of the most high
but you will die like mortals,
like any prince you will fall.
Arise O G*d and judge the earth
for your dominion is over all nations"
psalm 82

...Are you allied with seats of wickedness
those who frame injustice by statute?
They organize against the righteous
They condemn the innocent to death
from psalm 94 (it isn't a distortion of context, just didn't want to go overboard on quoting)

If Republicans can no long tell the difference between substance and appearance...if they can ignore both secular and religious morality alike...and they can sell that to everyone...If there is no longer a belief that American laws can be enforced without causing a civil war, then America as it was originally defined is OVER.

Besides, if we were serious about avoiding "trauma" of a "partisan witch hunt" we'd round up the DEMOCRATS (including that wretch Pelosi) who supported this torture crap and prosecute the LOT of them.
drooling_ferret
Apr. 27th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
Re: (shakes her head)
You have to wonder how much that public outcry was due to the content of the photos from AG: bunch of soldiers (including at least one prominently featured woman) goofing off by sexually abusing male prisoners. You get prudishness, homophobia, all kinds of other things tied up in the public revulsion there.

Had the photos been of central-casting-type CIA or Blackwater dudes grimly beating a single prisoner at a time, would the outcry have been as great even then?

Also - there WERE photos. If we were talking photos of waterboarding 'high value' detainees, instead of a few somewhat redacted memos talking about it after the fact, the reaction would also be different.

And then, you know, we've got a hit TV show about a guy who runs around and does all this illegal shit in the name of saving the country from ticking time bombs. That'll do more to catch and sway the sentiment of the public than a lot of direct advertising or speeches by high ranking government officials will.
bradhicks
Apr. 26th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Let me make this as clear as I know how: I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut how "traumatic / damaging [it is] to the nation." No, that's not strong enough: I sincerely hope, before all spirits and every sacred god, that it is terrifyingly traumatic to the nation.

Or else we'll do it again. And again. And as bad or worse, we'll further enshrine the idea that some people are above the law, because it's more important to protect them than it is to protect justice or the rule of law. And I'd far rather live through any conceivable consequences of all-out criminal investigation of, and where the law and the facts warrant it criminal prosecution of, the ordering of torture, the facilitating of torture, the commission of torture, and the covering up of torture, no matter how bad they are, than see it done again and again, rather than go back to an America where there are people who can hurt you at their pleasure with no fear of legal recourse.

And if there are people who aren't okay with that, they should have thought of that before they did it.

"These are things we have dealt with once,
(And they will not rise from their grave)
For Holy People, however it runs,
Endeth in wholly Slave.

"Whatsoever, for any cause,
Seeketh to take or give
Power above or beyond the Laws,
Suffer it not to live!
Holy State or Holy King--
Or Holy People's Will--
Have no truck with the senseless thing.
Order the guns and kill!
Saying --after--me:--

"Once there was The People--Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, 0 ye slain!
Once there was The People--it shall never be again!"
-- Rudyard Kipling, "MacDonough's Song," from "As Easy as ABC"


Edited at 2009-04-26 08:20 pm (UTC)
drooling_ferret
Apr. 27th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
To be clear, I do agree with you. Running into plenty of people who don't 'get it' on this point, and trying to make sure I've got a concise, well-reasoned response when they say... well, really unfortunate things.

I actually went back and read over your previous post(s) that prompted my question, so I'm a little less confused by what at first seemed slightly out-of-synch lines of thinking.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Secondly, a presidential pardon has to name the people pardoned
That isn't the case - after the Civil War, blanket pardons for all Confederate soldiers were issued. Carter pardoned all Vietnam draft dodgers. There was some speculation that Bush might pardon everyone involved in investigating terrorist actions against the US.

The presidential pardon power is immensely wide-ranging and ill-defined. (And, to his credit, Bush didn't use it all that often, and defied expectation when he left office by not
pardoning a whole bunch of people everyone assumed he would).


(Anonymous)
Apr. 26th, 2009 06:54 am (UTC)
NOW we find out...
...That "Barack Obama" is Swahili for "Gerald Ford". Oh, well.

I signed a petition to get Congress investigating all this. Better than nothing, probably better than a killing spree.
kenshi
Apr. 26th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
ELL. OH. ELL.
bradhicks
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
I'm not seeing what you think is funny?
neonchameleon
Apr. 27th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
I think he missed an "H" off the front of "ELL". Would make more sense, anyway.
neowiccan
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
this is SO good.
let's keep letting our elected officials know this.
letting this go slithering by unremarked will damage us far, far more than the investigation and prosecution will.
khairete
suz
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
An honest god-damned journalist
Seek out Flat Earth News - http://www.amazon.com/Flat-Earth-News-Award-Winning-Distortion/dp/0099512688/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240844740&sr=8-1 - one of the most important books of recent years, one that just has that Power of Nightmares thing of you read it and *understand* the world in a way you didn't before. You'd love it, Brad, I think from reading your blog. It's also a useful rage-channelling device.

(and I'm in no way involved in writing or marketing the book, I hasten to add)

Great analogy in there: a journalist hires two gardeners to mow his lawn. At the end of the day, one of the gardeners comes in and says the job's done, the other comes in and says they didn't get it started. The journalist decides that in the interest of balance, and rather than looking out the window, he'll just report both viewpoints to his wife when she gets home.

Website at: http://www.flatearthnews.net/


hairyfigment
Apr. 28th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Re: An honest god-damned journalist
It actually seems worse than that. The media consistently treats matters we can test objectively as matters of opinion, while also making naive claims of fact about untestable factors like motive. In this case we have Broder spouting his non sequitur about revenge. He's keeping alive the fine tradition of blind-idiot telepathy we saw in the great Straight Talk Train-Wreck. (Perhaps the book deals with this elsewhere.)
samael7
Apr. 27th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Anger is good. No, not your personal, specific anger-levels, which, if it's anything like mine, is sufficient for about five people's worth of anger, maybe ten, and probably is etching bile-rings around your esophagus.

We just need to take our anger and spread it around with a big shovel. Make more people angry about it. Release some of that anger into the wild.

I second the above who claimed that Obama's basically saying, "Make me do it," and not in a taunt-y way. Digby had a similar view of it, and yes it involved getting enough people angry to hold their own government accountable for their actions, despite the overwhelming political inertia that the issue will face.

Because that's the only way this will ever go anywhere.
kimchalister
Apr. 29th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Brad -- You did see Sara's follow-up (on parenting styles) at Orcinus, April 25th, didn't you?
--Kim

wiseacre
May. 1st, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
For a self-proclaimed "news junkie" you don't seem to know much about how the business works. The timidity envinced in many reports likely has little to do with journalists. It is their corporate masters, afraid of any accusation of "bias", of even a whiff of controversy who are to blame. Corporations that now own newspapers and TV stations, run by people who have never filed a story and who are only interested this quarter's results and the next stockholders' meeting create bland news just as McDonald's creates bland hamburgers.
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