21 March 2004

Worth a Chuckle

Newsweek actually ran an interesting article this week in which filmmaker Kevin Smith sits down with a film critic from the magazine who actually didn't like his latest film Jersey Girl, and they have a lively conversation about it of the sort that needs to happen a lot more often. I'm inclined to agree with the David Ansen -- doesn't sound like a film I'd enjoy -- but my respect for Kevin Smith has gone up even higher for defending his vision of the film so honestly and candidly.

So while I'm there, I hunt around and look at some other articles of interest, and I come across this one, "The Smell of a Real Scandal" -- and I realise just how far behind the blogosphere the traditional media really are:
The Bush administration now has an old-fashioned credibility gap. If numbers are released saying that the economy is perking up, why should anyone believe them? After all, it counts hamburger flippers as manufacturing jobs. The context of the election only magnifies the issue. New Bush ads charge that Kerry wants to raise taxes by $900 billion. This is a made-up number; Kerry has no such proposal. But even if he did, voters would not be able to take the Bush campaign's word on it, because its word is no longer good. The challenge for the Democrats is to resist the temptation to make their own phony claims, or to hype the usual petty distortions of politics into "lies." The truth is damaging enough.

I'd laugh if I wasn't crying. The Bush administration now has a credibility gap? Their word is only now not believable on things like budget numbers, deficit numbers, war numbers?

Geez, Newsweek, how are things back in 2001? Because that's apparently where your head is at. Some of us have been aware of a "credibility gap" with the Bushies ever since we attacked the wrong country after 9/11; ever since Bush said in his 2001 SOTU speech that "this administration will run a small, temporary deficit"; indeed, some of us have known something was fishy ever since the election itself, an issue you and the other mainstream media never bothered to fully investigate.

While I'm at it, how can you or any other media outlet manage to write so many words about Bush's "credibility gap" using other phrases such as "made-up numbers" and "hype" without ever using the un-asterisked, un-"quote-marked" term lies? Why is it taboo among the major media to say that so-and-so or this department or that figure is a lie? What does it take for the mainstream conservative media to admit that an in-power member of the government or some department thereof has lied?

Oh, and in regards to the notion that the Medicare bill lies, bribery and other assorted illegal behaviour might actually become a true scandal: um, I hope you won't mind me pointing out that even by the conservative estimates of your own magazine, that's at least the twelfth major scandal of the Bush administration:

1. Lying about WMDs (or, as you like to put it, "self-misled")
2. The ballooning national deficit, trade deficit and shrinking dollar.
3. The adminstration had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and did nothing.
4. The emerging confirmation from Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neil that this adminstration had plans to attack Iraq before (or at least on) 9/11, despite a complete lack of evidence of any involvement or tie to terrorism.
5. The switcheroo (often repeated) of giving a major speech promising increases to (veteran's benefits, soldier's pay, children's education, AIDS research -- take your pick), followed by an almost immediate and substantial cut in exactly the same program.
6. Lying about the whole "Mission Accomplished" appearance on the carrier.
7. Bush's service record.
8. The systematic gutting of environmental laws.
9. The illegal detainment and torture of prisoners at Guantonamo Bay.
10. The forcing of rigged (or at least "easily-riggable") electronic voting machines with no paper trail on states even when massive evidence exists that they are not reliable.
11. Selling out the White House's Lincoln Bedroom (*and* Camp David) to campaign contributors -- going even further than Clinton did, and he got in big trouble for it. Where's the outrage now?
12. Lying to members of his own party (including offering bribes) to pass the Medicare bill, which is now clearly seen for what it was -- a bloated giveaway to rich industries at the expense of seniors.

And that's just off the top of my head. Many of these (though not enough) are currently being investigated, some for criminal prosecution. Yet Newsweek seems to think that only the twelfth one is worthy of being deemed "a real scandal."

How far we have fallen in four short years. Liberal media my ass.

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