Headline Howler: Too little, too late, too bad!

Mary Mapes’s article in the Huffington Post is a riveting read–not only because it exposes the cowardice inherent in the corporate news world, and not only because it exposes the scum-suckers that populate Rightard Blogistan, but also because of a single sentence that made me want to beat my head against a wall.

Here it is:

In retrospect, I think the real problem with this story is that it ran three years too early.


“This story” refers to Dan Rather’s revelation that George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States (and, hands down, the one least deserving of that high office), is indeed a craven, cowardly, crap-in-the-pantywaist chickenhawk. One whose rich, powerful daddy pulled strings to get him into a branch of the military guaranteed never to be sent to Vietnam, and from which he later went AWOL with impunity. The same story that was totally steamrolled by a seething, snarling rape-gang of freepers, who seized on the minutiae of typefaces as “evidence” that documents were faked (when, in fact, they were not fakes, but merely non-carbon copies of originals now presumed to be lost.)

My jaw would not drop, nor would my head be bouncing off the wall, if only that bothersome sentence had not been preceded by the following:

This is not a new fight. Journalism has always pissed people off. It is supposed to. It should be provocative. It should ask hard questions of everyone on every side. It shouldn’t play favorites and it shouldn’t fear honest criticism.

In a democracy, journalism cannot fear bullies or pull its punches because somebody powerful might get uncomfortable. That’s when we all lose.

No fucking shit. Why was this all was not reported at least three decades ago? Never mind three measly years ago–Jesus, Mary (and Joseph!), don’t feel you have to call out the corporate media for its recent state of cowardice now, when it’s finally “safe” to do so. The fact is, they weren’t even doing their jobs back when this all was still fresh.

Imagine what a coup it would have been, particularly at the height of the Vietnam war, if some enterprising reporter had only revealed evidence that the sons of wealthy Republican congressmen, senators, etc., were all taking refuge from ‘Nam in one cushy hotbed of nepotism or another. Or, for that matter, how about just reporting that one of those lucky duckies went AWOL from the champagne unit even after his daddy pulled all those strings? The fact that no one smelled a story there at the time, or at least, not one that wouldn’t be spiked, tells me that this particular back-down is not a new development, or even an isolated incident. The only thing new about it was the uncivilized manner in which it was orchestrated, using the latest technology.

But even that is ultimately irrelevant. The corporate media have always been wimps in the crunch. Don’t look to them to keep you well informed, folks; their job is to keep you in the dark while letting you feel as if you’ve just been enlightened.

And for fuck’s sake, all you freepers, just shut up about them being “liberal”. They are conservative as a goddamned motherfucker, even if they’re not quite as fascist as you. A truly liberal media outlet wouldn’t have ignored or buried this story back then, and it sure as hell would not have caved in the face of your collective insanity now. You should be kissing CBS’s ass for being so easy on your precious widdle Bushie; they could have gotten the goods on him 30 years ago, but for some strange reason known only to corporate boot-lickers, they failed to do so.

And while you’re at it, spare me the blather about the need to keep up the troops’ morale during a war by censoring the news. If they don’t get free access to an unfettered and brutally honest press, it means nothing at all to merely say that they are fighting for freedom. If being lied to and knowing it is not a suckerpunch to the morale, I don’t know what is. It wasn’t the “liberal” media that caused America’s defeat in Vietnam; it was a combination of unjust cause, imperialism, and an underestimated enemy named Charlie!

It’s not as if the troops had no idea that they were being sent to fight in the rich boys’ stead, either. There was a draft, and it inevitably shipped the poorest to Vietnam. It was an open secret that rich boys had the luxury of opting out. Creedence Clearwater Revival even had a popular song about it. The idea that a country and its armed forces would ever have needed to be “protected” from that truth by any form of censorship is as ludicrous as it is insulting to the intelligence of all concerned. Again, what were they really fighting for–the right of the ruling class to keep its ass covered, under the false flag of “freedom”? Sure smells that way.

The worst part is, individual reporters are being sacrificed to bogus causes by their own employers. It’s so bad that some of America’s finest journalists are no longer working at home. Just ask Greg Palast, who got the goods on Dubya at least four years ahead of Dan Rather, and who didn’t pull his punches. Palast has the documents–and says he can only surmise that they must be true, since no one in the Bush Crime Family has ever sued him for libel, even in the notorious British courts, where the onus is on the defendant, not the plaintiff, in libel cases.

Oh, and the BBC never gave Greg Palast any trouble about his unflattering reports on Bush, either. On the contrary, he still works for them. Death threats from Freeperville notwithstanding.

What a pity for Dan Rather that he wasn’t working for a British public broadcaster instead of CBS.

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