Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Atrios ( reports the following conversation on NPR:

That Liberal NPR

From Talk of the Nation:

CONAN: Susannah Meadows is general editor at Newsweek magazine. She analyzed Newsweek's recent poll, which measured the effect of Richard Clarke's testimony on public opinion. And she spoke to us from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Obviously, that was the first poll to emerge last week. There will be others with greater information as time goes on.

Let's get some callers on the line. And Richard joins us from Louisville, Kentucky.

RICHARD (Caller): Yes.


RICHARD: I'd like to say that, listening to Clarke's testimony, it solidified in my mind the fact that not only was there smoke but fire underlining this decision to enter the war in Iraq. And it caused me to do a little bit more research and understand that prior to 9/11, Dick Cheney was appointed head of the task force for anti-terrorism, and yet he had no meetings, zero meetings, with people to discuss terrorism in this country or facing this country.

CONAN: I'm unfamiliar with that.

RICHARD: Yeah. And I found it quite unusual that that little item wasn't subpoenaed. So, you know, and being a Vietnam veteran, I guess I had leanings in that direction anyway.

CONAN: I have to ask Mary Louise, are you familiar with this? I've not heard it come up in the hearings at all.

KELLY: Oh, I haven't heard it come up at all. When you said Dick Cheney, sir, becoming the chair of the counterterrorist group in the White House, you meant Dick Cheney, not Richard Clarke?

RICHARD: No, Dick Cheney was appointed as a task-force leader by President Bush, and he made that statement to the public, that he was going to be looking over terrorism and the threat that it posed...

CONAN: Again, I'm going to have to look into that. It would seem it would have come up had it happened that way. Maybe I'm wrong, though, Richard. We'll have to go back and check on that.

RICHARD: Well, that'd be great.


RICHARD: Thank you for the show and the call.

CONAN: OK. Thank you very much.

RICHARD: Right-o. Bye.

Atrios seems to be making the point that even the “liberal” NPR is rather ignorant of the vast body of accurate information that makes Bush look bad.

But it isn’t a question of “liberal” or “conservative” – it’s a question of ignorance. As Bob Somerby ( endlessly reminds us, the press doesn’t report news, they repeat scripts. They are profoundly lazy, and will do almost NO research on their own. We have to do it for them.

The right-wingers have been successful at manipulating the press largely through sheer determination. Whenever they believe that coverage is either unfavorable to them or silent about important matters, they write, they fax, they email, they kick up a fuss like a rabid band of lunatics. And it WORKS, because reporters are not only lazy, but they have egos like balloons: huge and inflated, but fragile and easily popped. They actually WILL change coverage if the outcry is loud enough. And because of that, the right has successfully moved coverage further and further to the right; so much so that extremism now calls itself “fair and balanced.”

In the conversation above, Richard tells Conan and Kelly something that anyone who reads the blogs knows, but which they didn’t know.

They know now.

And, if they are true to their word, they WILL look into it and begin reporting on something that has previously not been reported.

Get involved. Call radio stations. Write newspapers. Kick up a fuss, and DEMAND that the press actually report the truth about Bush’s actions before 9/11. Bush has gotten a free pass up to now. Time to end it. It won't end by itself. We have to SAY so.

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