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Establishment Boys Will Be Boys

“The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.” –Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette

Our establishment media helped get us in this mess. (I won’t get into what the media establishment did to Hillary Clinton for 18 years, which impacted her presidential run because today’s wider media establishment, including new media, aided by cable talking heads, even our brightest, joined in on the pile on.) But like countries around the world where women are not a major force so their country stumbles, our media is woefully unequal, which perpetuates the abysmal situation that now exists.

“Every blogger or writer who has ever offered an opinion is now on warning,” Sullivan wrote. “Your opponents will not just argue against you, they will do all they can to ransack your private life, cull your email in-tray, and use whatever material they have to unleash the moronic hounds of today’s right-wing base.” – Andrew Sullivan

Having Andrew Sullivan whine about privacy is sort of like hearing Republicans whine that Democrats are blaming Bush when they haven’t stopped blaming Bill Clinton.

Anyone been reading Sullivan on Sarah Palin since she hit the big leagues? Fake pregnancy fantasy ring a bell?

Between Sullivan vs. Breitbart, and David Weigel vs. everybody else, with a side of Ezra Klein’s listserv drama, I’m wondering if these self-important, puffed up males have any time to actually do any work.

At least Markos Moulitsas’ drama over his polling firm is actually a real issue.

You can bet Jeffrey Goldberg, and Joe Klein taking time out from his vacation to swat his favorite nemesis, Glenn Greenwald, isn’t the stuff of intellectual stimulation. It began out of Weigel’s resignation when Goldberg suggested “toilet-training” in a post that was embarrassing, but considering The Atlantic’s top writers it’s expected from that crew (saving Marc Ambinder, James Fallows). Later Goldberg said he “despise[s] violent keyboard-cowboyism,” trying to extricate himself out of his pissy potty post.

If you’re waiting to see where the girls fit in among this upper echelon establishment fight, we’re still outside looking in, even as traditional media outlets bring in more bloggers to raise their sagging status. So…

Jeffrey Goldberg, Joe Klein, Jonathan Chait and others went after Greenwald by manufacturing a lie about what he wrote, because the former got pissed they were called out for their Iraq war cheerleading, but also their Judith Miller-esque “reporting.” Greenwald got in trouble because he dared to have an intellectual exercise about our preemptive misadventure on Iraq with the pro-preemption crowd, citing the Kurds, while bringing in the historical fact that the Sudetan population welcomed the German invasion. This inspired Goldberg to invite Greenwald to sit down with the Prime Minister of Iraqi Kuridstan to explain to the Kurds in a sort of town hall why the Iraq invasion wasn’t good for them. Glenn gets at the larger point, which the establishment preemption boys cannot afford to consider:

Pointing to some happy Kurds who remained largely shielded from all of that destruction, and who even benefited from it, doesn’t erase the serial deceit of Jeffrey Goldberg’s pre-war “reporting,” and it certainly doesn’t justify the untold human suffering that was and continues to be unleashed.

Too bad we can’t get Patrick J. Buchanan to disabuse the three blind mice of mendacity, because it would be worth the words to watch Buchanan take Greenwald’s attackers down, with Buchanan on his side likely to make Glenn cringe. Reading Buchanan’s “Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary War,” you can find any number of quotes to make Goldberg, Klein. etal look ridiculous; also remembering that even with Buchanan’s many philosophical faults he was able to see the bankruptcy of the Iraq war. Preemption made for odd foreign policy bedfellows.

But for bringing up Germany’s invasion of the “Sudetanland,” Glenn got a reaction from Goldberg that basically said “he’s an unpatriotic Kurd-hater who is comparing the U.S. to The Nazis!!!!!,” to quote Greenwald’s mocking of Goldberg, because Goldberg’s writing isn’t worth it. It all turns around the word “invasion” but also the incredible statement by this guy that “[t]here was no Nazi invasion of the Sudetenland, no invasion of Slovakia, hardly one of Austria and even less of Bohemia.” um… I guess this alleged historian thinks it’s a cute argument because we’re talking about Czechoslovakia and the Sudetan Germans, but that he won’t admit “invasion” doesn’t turn on any resistance thereof is one for the debate books. Nuremberg Military Tribunals, cited in this brilliant post, prove Glenn is correct, which anyone interested in history, while not thinking their own analytic ass saving for supporting preemption more important, would know.

The reason I go through this rundown for you is that it all gets down to why our government isn’t working. Think Thomas Jefferson’s views on the importance of a free, unfettered and independent press. Glenn links to a new study from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government on torture and the media.

The current debate over waterboarding has spawned hundreds of newspaper articles in the last two years alone. However, waterboarding has been the subject of press attention for over a century. Examining the four newspapers with the highest daily circulation in the country, we found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding. From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture: The New York Times characterized it thus in 81.5% (44 of 54) of articles on the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3% of articles (26 of 27). By contrast, from 2002‐2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture. In addition, the newspapers are much more likely to call waterboarding torture if a country other than the United States is the perpetrator. In The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in 91.3% of articles (21 of 23) when another country was the violator, but in only 11.4% of articles (9 of 79) when the United States was the perpetrator. 2

You can also throw in Fox News channel in this how we got into this mess media misinformation. The torture crowd over at Glenn Beck central is the widest watched network on cable.

Think high school boys on Bush’s squad fighting over the last preemption pom pom.

It also tells you why when I turn to ask the real question about nation building after McChrystal’s revealing implosion no one, certainly not Pres. Obama or anyone blindly supporting the Administration, wants to take it up.

TM NOTE: I found the “kitty boxing” picture on Facebook, but I honestly don’t remember where.

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.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong