You are browsing the archive for Media.

Why I don’t defend James Rosen or the government

12:21 pm in Uncategorized by Libby Spencer

James Rosen

Crossposted at The Impolitic

It seems my friend Dan at Pruning Shears and I are having a disagreement. I don’t think we’re actually as far apart on the government surveillance of the media as he does. I think I made rather clear in my earlier post on James Rosen and also on the AP records grab that I don’t condone secret government surveillance on the media — or anyone. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that the government conducted these investigations illegally. The laws that make it possible have been creeping into our judicial system long before the Obama administration arrived. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that Rosen isn’t being charged with a crime regardless of the dicey allegations made by the government to get its authorization for his records.

Booman and I differ on that point. I don’t consider Rosen a criminal. I think he’s an irresponsible journalist. Rosen’s email to his source made clear his main interest was in scooping his competitors, not in changing any policy. However, his piece was written in a way that revealed our intelligence operation. If he had simply done the usual anon source says N. Korea will blah, blah blah… without revealing we had an inside source in N. Korea and had lost track of their missiles, I wouldn’t have seen it as damaging.

While Dan Ellsberg would probably disagree, I don’t see any comparison between the Pentagon Papers and what Rosen did. The Pentagon Papers revealed serious government misconduct. Our government lied to the people and to Congress. Big lies that resulted in tens of thousands of lost lives. That was whistleblowing in the service of public interest. I’m wondering what government wrongdoing Dan sees as having been revealed by Rosen.

I don’t suggest we blindly accept every government claim of acting in the interest of national security while they abridge our civil rights. We need to look no further than the odious NSLs the Bush administration was so fond of to see the danger in that. But neither do I trust the motives of our present day media so much that I’m willing to unequivocally defend them. Surely Jon Karl and his anon source who provided altered emails to perpetrate a false GOP narrative would suggest our skepticism should go both ways. What good is a free media if they lie to us too, or jeopardize our intelligence assets, simply to drive traffic? As far I’m concerned neither secret surveillance nor irresponsible journalism should be defended. We deserve better from both sides.

Alternative Realities

8:50 am in Uncategorized by Libby Spencer

(Editorial Note: Everyone please welcome Libby Spencer to the Lake! We are hoping to hear a lot more from her in the future)

Master of Reality

Master of Reality by country_boy_shane, on Flickr

As I’m sifting through the commentary on Ryan’s *very serious* budget proposal, I keep recalling how at the beginning of the Iraq war, as the Bush admininstration’s false narratives were being exposed, how little it concerned them. There’s that famous quote about how they were creating their own new realities even as the fact checkers were exposing their lies. I saw this then, and now, as their own personal “shock and awe” campaign against the American people. Ryan’s new “plan” is just the latest volley in that purely political operation. And now, as then, the media blithely play along, credulously repeating their slogans as if they meant something real.

Take for instance this new narrative that the GOPers just delivered a “serious proposal” and they’re just patiently waiting for Obama’s alternative. The media dutifully parrots this, apparently forgeting that Ryan is presenting the alternative to Obama’s budget which was filed long ago. Quoting Steve Benen:

Second, if the request is for an “alternative” budget, I might remind Halperin and Boehner that the White House already presented Obama’s alternative. Mid-February really wasn’t that long ago, but that’s when the administration presented a budget plan for the next fiscal year. They put it online, and it generated a lot of discussion. Halperin and Boehner might have heard about it.

“The president is certainly entitled to disagree with our budget, but what exactly is his alternative?” Halperin seems to like the question, but Obama’s alternative was sent to Congress nearly seven weeks ago.

Twitter also reminds me that a Congressional Democrat offered an alternative, realistic, deficit reduction proposal in November, 2010.

Today Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, offered a comprehensive proposal to reduce the federal deficit without making middle class Americans foot the bill. Schakowsky’s plan is an alternative to the Bowles-Simpson plan and would reduce the deficit by $441 billion in 2015, surpassing President Obama’s $250 billion target. Critically, the Schakowsky plan accomplishes deficit reduction without making cuts to essential federal expenditures that benefit the middle class.

The media dutifully ignored her sensible plan. No one called her serious, or bold. They did say that about Bowles and Simpson though, whose plan was more similiar than different from Ryan’s Roadmap to Middleclass Destruction. These superlatives are apparently reserved only for those who seek to rob from the poor to pad the wallets of the rich.