Why Does the Media Not Care About Lies From the Bush Administration?

The White House has been straight out lying about the US Attorney Purge. As Steve Benen points out, just yesterday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow lied about the lying:

Q: Okay, but at the beginning of this story, the President, you, Dan Bartlett, others said on camera that politics was not involved, this was performance-based. MR. SNOW: That is something -- we have never said that.

Of course, Tony Snow himself said exactly that:

"[W]hat the President has -- the Department of Justice has made recommendations, they've been approved. And it's pretty clear that these things are based on performance and not on sort of attempts to do political retaliation, if you will."

Was the Media always so ho hum about being lied to by the White House? Why no. Of course when President Clinton's White House did not give the Beltway Gasbags the answers they wanted, it was a Constitutional Crisis:

THE LYING OFFENDS THEM. For both politicians and journalists, trust is the coin of the realm. Without trust, the system breaks down.

"We have our own set of village rules," says David Gergen, editor at large at U.S. News & World Report, who worked for both the Reagan and Clinton White House. "Sex did not violate those rules. The deep and searing violation took place when he not only lied to the country, but co-opted his friends and lied to them. That is one on which people choke.

"We all live together, we have a sense of community, there's a small-town quality here. We all understand we do certain things, we make certain compromises. But when you have gone over the line, you won't bring others into it. That is a cardinal rule of the village. You don't foul the nest."

"This is a contractual city," says Chris Matthews, who once was a top aide to the late Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill. "There are no factories here. What we make are deals. It's a city based on bonds made and kept." The president, he went on, "has broken and shattered contracts publicly and shamefully. He violates the trust at the highest level of politics. Matthews, now a Washington columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and host of CNBC's "Hardball," also says, "There has to be a functional trust by reporters of the person they're covering. Clinton lies knowing that you know he's lying. It's brutal and it subjugates the person who's being lied to. I resent deeply being constantly lied to."

Republican Alan Simpson, a longtime Washington insider now teaching at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Boston, still identifies with his colleagues in this situation. "There is only one question here," says the former senator. "Did he raise his right hand and lie about it and then lie again? Lying under oath -- that to me is all there is. Did this man, whether he is head of the hardware store or the president or applying for a game and fishing license, raise his hand and say, 'This is the truth'?"

Certainly Clinton is not the first president to lie. But the scope and circumstances of his lying enrage Establishment Washington.

I'll tell you who the liars are - the Beltway Esablishment. What a despicable, mendacious, sanctimonious lying group of lowlifes.

They let the Bush Administration lie to their face time after time after time and all they want is a pardon for Scooter Libby.

And so-called "Democrats" - Beltway Democrats I call them, are the worst. What do Lanny Davis and Martin Frost have to say today?

Martin Frost, a former Texas Democratic representative, said Snow will just have to tamp down on those in his new position.

"I think Tony obviously has credibility ... He's somebody that the press respects. . . . Snow is a good choice for the position because he has a good reputation, Frost said.

"I think he was a good choice and I think it's good for the president to put somebody out with somebody like Tony who has credibility and let's hope that people can work together in Washington a little bit more," Frost said.

Lanny Davis, former White House counsel to President Bill Clinton, said Snow should not be compared to more divisive radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham.

“I hope that the Republicans don’t try to label him as a right-winger because he’s a conservative, but he’s a man of fairness and integrity. I think he will have a great deal of credibility on behalf of President Bush,” Davis said.

Anyone familiar with Tony Snow's work at Fox News prior to his joining the White House knows that Tony Snow was one of the lyingest liars in Washington. The problem with Washington's lack of integrity, respect for the truth and and general crappiness is exacerbated by the likes of "Democrats" like Frost and Davis.

If there actually was any integrity in the Washington Press Corps, they would be scalping Tony Snow, who has lied to their face every day now. Of course they won't. They are too busy protesting on behalf of the convicted felon, the perjurer and obstructor of justice, Scooter Libby. That, you see, is what they are about, protecting their own scumbags.

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    Helen? (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 03:18:50 PM EST

    How has the media become so Republican? (none / 0) (#2)
    by MSS on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 04:28:34 PM EST
    All the rhetoric said that the media is "liberal."

    Cleverly, all the mainstream media (via the excerable Drudge) repeats the gratuitous attacks on anything said by anyone from the Democratic or liberal side of the aisle.

    Media Matters reports that although most Americans do not call themselves "liberal" or "progressive" (since the term "liberal" has been so vilified by the mainstream media). Yet a solid majority of Americans actually support all of the "liberal" positions -- on the need for a supportive government, for a rational climate policy, to protect our wilderness, to educate our children, to treat gay and straight families equally respectfully.

    So it is no wonder that the media loses audience to 'niche' media -- including the internet -- that actually reflect reality and peoples' real points of view.

    I find it interesting that the left blogs (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 04:36:30 PM EST
    deride the mainstream meadia as in the pocket of the right and the Rebulicans say the mainstram media is liberal.  

    Ownership and control of major US media (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 05:47:12 PM EST
    slowly concentrated over 20 years from about 50 corporations in 1983 to only 5 major companies controlling the vast majority of media in 2004.

    The right says the MSM is liberal as a strawman way of framing debate about it to divert argument away from the concentration and put critics on the defensive wasting time and effort refuting lies.

    They'll do their standard rhetorical trick of pointing to one or two and say those instances substantiate their claim.

    Who controls the media?

    Media Reform Information Center


    On the other hand, the "netroots" blogs (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:00:59 PM EST
    frequently condemn the MSM as evil incarnate while freely cutting and pasting from the MSM.

    This comment is not intended to criticize BTD's post.  


    True (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:06:43 PM EST
    But that in most cases is done to refute misleading articles.

    The purpose of the lies I think is what I said above - to put critics on the defensive wasting time and effort refuting lies.

    They'll even lie about the lies, as BTD pointed out, to control debates and keep critics reacting defensively.


    While people are using up time (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:10:00 PM EST
    focused on and refuting lies they'll be busy doing other things they don't want attention on.

    But a lot of the cut and paste isn't (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:11:09 PM EST
    to criticize.  I don't thing blogs could survive w/o the print media.  I'd like to see some acknowledgment of that fact.  The blogs do not do their own investigation, interviews, gather documents, etc.  O.K. to criticize the results of newspaper journalism--just don't deny the debt.

    bloggers ancillary to MSM? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Sumner on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 08:26:51 PM EST
    I am saying that... the American people are believing what they are being repeatedly told. [...] Advertising and repetition works. -- jimakaPPJ, on May 24, 2007

    Of course advertising works, is why they use it. And yes, it uses repetition. Just like the Big Lie technique that tells something over and over until it bridges synapses and establishes and strengthens neural pathways.

    The initial process is called "repetition priming", or simply "priming".

    I know people who simply "slide" on new information unless it comes to them from their regular news channel or newspaper:

    [M]ost people have built in 'slides' that short circuit the mind's critical examination process when it comes to certain sensitive topics. 'Slides', is a CIA term for a conditioned type of response which dead ends a person's thinking and terminates debate or examination of the topic. For example, the mention of the word 'conspiracy' usually solicits a slide response with many people. -- Author and de-programmer FRITZ SPRINGMEIER

    Jeralyn and BTD et al. regularly present original thinking. Some people simply cannot process information until it derives from some familiar pre-accepted news source, and then often only after they have heard and/or read it multiple times.

    Most MSM recycle the news, anyway. Or they find a different angle. New stories often "go in one ear and out the other".

    I wrote here that Attorney General Gonzales was not testifying properly, on April 07, 2006. I do not recall that anyone in MSM reported that prior to its being blogged here.

    Another half-dozen examples easily come to mind.


    Sounds like (none / 0) (#27)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 11:52:21 PM EST

    "I have seen the fnords!"


    Yes (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:15:44 PM EST
    In January 2006 Jeralyn wrote a post about exactly that: The Intersection of Bloggers and Journalists, quoting Jane Hamsher Of FDL:
    ...bloggers serve the function of analysts. Or re-analyzers, more aptly, who attempt to contextualize as they sort through available data and look for patterns, inconsistencies and greater truths.

    ....From our standpoint we're trying to come up with new ideas and theories as we try to sort through the available information and expose the systemic bias from which it comes. We're not afraid to be wrong in our speculations, nor are we afraid to interact with people who like to think along side us.

    I've come to believe though that (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:20:06 PM EST
    the lies are purposeful not in the sense that they are expected to be believed, but simply as a time-wasting and diverting device. Similar to a troll hijacking a blog thread with a bunch of lies and strawman arguments - it's done to force people to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" because their time is used up refuting the lies.

    Running interference, IOW. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:22:12 PM EST
    I think you miss the point of THIS post (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 06:58:13 PM EST
    I do not believe the WASHINGTON Press Corps is biased per se. I think they are incompetent.

    I also think they are hypocritical and sanctimonious.

    I also think they hated the Clintons.

    I think Washington Dems let them be that way without criticism.

    I think they live in a strange world of their own that has been coopted.

    I think that you need to understand the difference between POLITICAL reporting and news reporting.

    In short, you need to read  my pieces on theMedia.



    Well... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:11:32 PM EST
    They're pretty incompetent at telling truth. They don't seem so incompetent at blatantly lying to divert though.

    Credo. (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:33:18 PM EST
    Actaully no. Blame MSS. (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:42:19 PM EST
    Traditional media does very little (none / 0) (#14)
    by sphealey on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:15:55 PM EST
    > The blogs do not do their own
    > investigation, interviews, gather
    > documents, etc.

    The traditional media does very little of that itself, today.  There is the AP, which have a fairly strong Republican bias (and also a bias to printing Administration spin), but which does apparently have reporters in the field.  The NYT, the WaPo, and the WSJ have some reporters who do original work, although here too the NYT and the WaPo are heavily invested in their "sources" and tend to print whatever they are told in anonymous White House offices (Karl Rove and Irving Libby for the last 6 years).  

    Beyond that?  Can you point to a local or regional newspaper that does much investigative reporting?  Can you point to any newspaper except the WSJ whose reporters dig deep into documents?  Can you point to any newspaper other that the WSJ whose reporters even use Google to verify the factuality of what their "sources" tell them to print?

    And the WSJ is soon to be a Murdoch paper...



    Not (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:21:43 PM EST
    newspapers, but... truthout, and The Nation, are pretty reliable, and their reporters do dig deep.

    TomPaine dot com also. TomDispatch, Orcinus, and quite a few others.


    As much as I detest the San Diego Union (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:32:52 PM EST
    Tribune, their staff reports, who won a Pulizter for their efforts, were the investigators of the Randy "Dunke" cunningham storys, starting with his house turnover deal in Del Mar.  When I subscribed to LA Times, I felt their investigative reporting was pretty good. I understand they downsized many reporters though.  NY Times reporters dig up information not available elsewhere (yes, made up in the past, but still.)  

    I like the San Francisco Chronicle too (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:36:50 PM EST
    OT--still--but (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:41:17 PM EST
    I can't think of the Chronical as a treal newspaper.  Too light weight.

    A bit (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:52:53 PM EST
    but SFGate has done some very good reporting, I think.

    Example. And another.


    Chicago Tribune I like also. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 08:14:32 PM EST
    I don't know who owns them. Houston Chronicle is pretty good too.

    Tribune Co. owned Chicago Trib., (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 01:08:10 AM EST
    L.A. Times, Cubs, and WGN until recently.  

    i disagree BTD (none / 0) (#23)
    by cpinva on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 08:16:08 PM EST
    they are either incompetent, or consumate liars. as well, their editors are hacks, who allow speculation and supposition to pass as journalism.

    they got all atwitter over the big lie of watergate, and went nearly hysterical because clinton lied about a blowjob. this was the press' great "constitutional crisis" of the clinton presidency.

    make no mistake, the republican congress pushed a lot of this, but it was the so-called "liberal" press that initiated most of it; the good little boys and girls who get paid big bucks to lie to your face on a daily basis.

    Just found this - still reading it.... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 08:30:47 PM EST
    "A Great Little Racket": The Neocon Media Machine
    "The neocons stand accused of many errors: imperialism, Leninism, Trotskyism (New York school), militarism. Some believe that the real problem is that so many of them are Jewish--this is an alarmingly popular theme, to judge by my e-mails. But the problem with the neocons is not that so many of them are Jews. The problem is that so many of them are journalists."

    Calling neoconservative media pundits "journalists" is a stretch--the fact is, most don't report, they spin--but Rachman's point is a good one. From top to bottom, from tabloid TV like FoxNews to powerhouse newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, neoconservatives have extraordinary presence in the nation's media. And Washington always seems to be listening.
    The attainment of this power owes a great deal to the early neocons who saw value in becoming "gatekeepers" of information and ideas. Starting with Irving Kristol's early days at Commentary, the movement gained a voice, but one largely aimed at intellectual and academic elites. In fact, the evolution of the neocon movement parallels the growth of its founders as publishers and media figures. Later, when Bill Kristol founded the Weekly Standard, the neoconservatives could present specific policy objectives to Washington elites.

    Not by any accident, the neoconservatives' time of greatest influence on U.S. foreign policy coincided with the explosive growth of mass media outlets from which they could promote their policies. The omnipresent fluttering American flag on Fox News exemplifies the new über-patriotic packaging through which the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and the escalation of tensions with Iran are marketed packages.

    Pivotal paragraph from the article above (none / 0) (#26)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 08:49:41 PM EST
    When asked why the Weekly Standard and Fox News have increased in popularity over the past few years, Matt Labash, a senior writer at the Weekly Standard responded that it was "because they feed the rage. We bring the pain to the liberal media. I say that mockingly, but it's true somewhat. We come with a strong point of view and people like point of view journalism. While all these hand-wringing Freedom Forum types talk about objectivity, the conservative media likes to rap the liberal media on the knuckles for not being objective. We've created this cottage industry in which it pays to be un-objective. It pays to be subjective as much as possible. It's a great way to have your cake and eat it too. Criticize other people for not being objective. Be as subjective as you want. It's a great little racket. I'm glad we found it actually."

    IHT (none / 0) (#28)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 12:02:56 AM EST
    From the IHT on Reid's "incompetence" statement:

    The article prompted White House spokesman Tony Snow to blast Reid for insulting U.S. military leaders. Then, Snow acknowledged, he did not know if Reid actually said them.

    "In a time of war, for a leader of a party that says its supports the military, it seems outrageous to be issuing slanders toward the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and also the man that is responsible for the bulk of military operations in Iraq," Snow said at his daily briefing.

    "Indeed, Sen. Reid has at some point declared the war lost and also has declared the surge a failure, even though it has not yet been fully enacted," Snow said, referring to President George W. Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq.

    It is unusual for a presidential spokesman to make such strident comments from his briefing podium without verifying accuracy first.

    Snow added: "I don't know if it's true or not. If it is true, I certainly hope he does apologize."

    How very rare to see even that much of a reality check.

    Seeing how the story propagated from a single source - with none of the other publications that picked it up doing any original reporting or even checking out the truth of the story apparently, just repeating it - was like suddenly seeing the whole mass media system as some kind of vast monoculture, with all the vulnerabilities that implies.

    alien abductee, (none / 0) (#30)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 06:41:08 AM EST
    Seeing how the story propagated from a single source - with none of the other publications that picked it up doing any original reporting or even checking out the truth of the story apparently, just repeating it

    it's called "outsourcing".

    ha (none / 0) (#31)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 01:44:49 PM EST
    Except the whole point of outsourcing is specialization, handing off non-core competencies so you can concentrate on your core business. What would that say about what the core competency of our current media really is? Hmm....