Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Brian Hayes

I'm thinking it's a business decision because it's cheaper to string a story from the Whitehouse or Washington or Wall Street.

Here's a more traditional piece of journalism that reveals respectable effort and professionalism:

"The War In Iraq", reports the prestigious Asia Times, "Is Hellishly Expensive. Only 10% Goes Toward Troops. The Rest Is Basically Stolen."

Alex Tolley

I haven't seen the documentary, but I think it is not just some simple commercial dynamic. There was a lot of talk about "treason" if the the adminstration's position was countered. Admittedly, this was mostly from the wingnuts like Coulter, but this was definitely the zeitgeist. The Dixie chicks tried to protest the war at a concert in England and had their CDs publically destroyed and their airtime removed, forcing them to restart their business pitching to the rock crowd. Unlike Vietnam, there is next to no protest songs about the war. I think this speaks volumes about what is going on.

The newspapers clearly want to make money and have influence. The White House has punished reporters to ensure they toe the line, much like stock analysts are punished for issuing "sell" reports. Without access, there are no stories to sell papers. the NY Times' Judy Miller just spouted whatever the administration "leaked" to her. But over an above all this, if your paper was called "traitorious", that would definitely crimp sales and influence, so they avoided this moniker by not questioning authority.

At bottom, what has changed, not too subtly, is that the government is applying the age-old Machiavellian principle of ruling by fear.

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