"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

No Regrets

Update: See my response to the comments if you're interested.

I have no regrets having dropped Newsweek about a year ago, what with the Bush administration CBS'ing them and Newsweek having no more backbone than the other "mainstream" corporate media so-called "news" agencies.

For their good behavior, I'm giving Newsweek and its owner, the Washington Post, this week's Yellow Streak Award for Craven Cowardice in Journalism.

As always, the competition is fierce, but Newsweek takes the honors by backing down on Mike Isakoff's exposé of cruelity, racism and just plain bone-headed incompetence by the US military at the Guantanamo prison camp.

Isakoff cited a reliable source that among the neat little "interrogation" techniques used to break down Muslim prisoners was putting a copy of the Koran into a toilet.

In the old days, Isakoff's discovery would have led to Congressional investigations of the perpetrators of such official offence. The Koran-flushers would have been flushed from the military, panels would have been impaneled and Isakoff would have collected his Pulitzer.

No more. Instead of nailing the wrong-doers, the Bush Administration went after the guy who reported the crime, Isakoff...

Have some sympathy for Isakoff: Mike's one darn good reporter, but as an inmate at the Post/Newsweek facilities, his ability to send out serious communications to the rest of the world are limited.

A few years ago, while I was tracking the influence of the power industry on Washington, Isakoff gave me some hard, hot stuff on Bill Clinton -- not the cheap intern-under-the-desk gossip -- but an FBI report for me to publish in the Guardian in England.

I asked Isakoff why he didn't put it in Newsweek or in the Post.

He said, when it comes to issues of substance, "No one gives a shit" -- not the readers, and especially not the editors who assume that their US target audience is small-minded, ignorant and wants to stay that way.

That doesn't leave a lot of time, money or courage for real reporting. And woe to those who practice real journalism. As with CBS's retraction of Dan Rather's report on Bush's draft-dodging, Newsweek's diving to the mat on Guantanamo acts as a warning to all journalists who step out of line.

Newsweek has now publicly committed to having its reports vetted by Rumsfeld's Defense Department before publication. Why not just print Rumsfeld's press releases and eliminate the middleman, the reporter?

The term "pussy whipped" comes to mind.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think that works, pussy-whipped traditionally means a guy who does whatever his woman tells him. The contempt implicit in the term depends on the view of the man as the natural controller of the woman and not otherwise.

Patrick Logan said...

I think the "natural" state of the so-called "fourth estate" is to keep the three branches of government in check. This has been the case to various degrees over the last 200 years. Now it seems to be almost non-existent.

The Republicans seem to have whipped the "major" news outlets into being a "channel" for the party line and believing if they don't tow the line they don't get to channel the news anymore. I sense a lot of fear for ratings and careers, which appears to be exactly what the Republicans want.

Anonymous said...

Old days? What are you talking about? In the "old days" the news was even *more* controlled by the government. You think the press had as much access during Vietnam or WW2?

And frankly I can't believe that you, as a blogger, can even pretend to make a statement insinuating that the gov't was behind Rathergate. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that "memo" was well discredited by *bloggers*, not the gov't.

Respectfully, what the heck are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

The Republicans are bad, I agree. But where are the Democrats? Only one congressman is needed to start the impeachment process. The 2 party system is the problem.

Patrick Logan said...

Well the "old days" phrase was a quote, not my statement. I agree with the comment to a large degree. I can recall no halcyon days of a truly free thinking and acting press.

I think the siutation has gone from bad to worse but I have nothing to pin my thinking on but perception.

Other comments: I agree the Democrats are as whipped as the press. For one year, 2004, I gave money to the DNC thinking they could actually get Bush out of office. How could they not? No more.

Nathan Bird said...

I recommend public broadcasting: PBS.org and NPR.org. They have the best reporting that I have come across, and it is all available for free from their websites.

Sinker said...

Well NPR and PBS aren't free bastions of the press anymore either. The right has slipped their tenticles into the upper ranks of Public Broadcasting inorder to obliviate "liberal bias" in the news. These are revolutionary times, fighting a revolutionary power, the media is as much pussy whipped as it is pistol-whipped.

-Sinker

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.