Criticize George W. Bush at your own risk

So, now even private heresy against the Church of Saint George the W. is a punishable offense within the corporate media.  Lovely. 

As you’ve no doubt already heard, John Green, the executive producer of the weekend edition of “Good Morning America” has been suspended without pay for one month and, perhaps worse, forced to make a groveling apology to the White House.

His unpardonable crime?  In a private e-mail sent during the first presidential debate in 2004, he wrote to a colleague, “Are you watching this? Bush makes me sick. If he uses the ‘mixed messages’ line one more time, I’m going to puke.”

That’s it.  One uncomplimentary comment expressed in private (later leaked) about Bush and he gets hammered.

I guess Ari Fleischer knew what he was talking about when he said Americans need to watch what they say.

(There was a second e-mail critical of Madeleine Albright, but anyone who believes that had anything to do with the action taken against Green probably also still thinks there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.)

Well, I have a question: If this is the journalistic standard — that no criticism, even in private, of any national leader or presidential candidate is to be tolerated among “objective” journalists, then where are all of those other journalistic heads on the end of a stake?

Where, for instance, are all of the reporters disciplined because they couldn’t hide their contempt for Al Gore in election 2000?  The ones who couldn’t stop talking about how arrogant they thought he was, and how he exaggerated everything?  And unlike Green’s e-mail comment about Bush, these journalistic attacks on Gore weren’t limited to private discussions among the journalists themselves (although there were a lot of those): There were also all of those very public attacks, often based upon untruths, or at best half-truths, offered up with relish, such as the endless false allegations that Gore had claimed to have personally invented the Internet.

Bunk from the start, but they kept repeating it anyway.

(An excellent discussion of media lies about Al Gore during the 2000 campaign can be found in Al Franken’s book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, at chapter 7).  

So how many of these newspeople, who not only viciously attacked a presidential candidate (and sitting vice president), but, in some cases, deliberately stretched the truth in doing so, were suspended or otherwise punished as a result of this breach of the much vaunted duty of objectivity and political neutrality?  I don’t know of any.  How about you? 

But I guess that’s not surprising.  After all, on an even more serious issue, has any major journalist paid a price, any price at all, for carrying Bush’s water on Iraq?  For helping to sell the American people on quite possibly the biggest foreign policy blunder in the nation’s history?  For being dead wrong on almost every issue that mattered in the months leading up to the war? 

Again, let me know if you can think of any, because I sure can’t.  (And no, Judith Miller doesn’t count; she wasn’t encouraged to resign, at least principally, because of her WMD reporting.)

But, hey, at least they suspended John Green for that private e-mail criticizing Bush. 

And, of course, we can also take solace in the knowledge that four CBS employees were fired, and Dan Rather was pushed into early retirement, as a result of an alleged mistake made regarding certain documents in presenting an essentially accurate picture of Bush’s failure to fulfill his service obligations with the Air National Guard.

So let’s not hear any whining about there being no accountability within the media.  There’s accountability, all right.  It’s just somewhat selectively enforced.

If you help start a disastrously ill-conceived war leading to thousands of deaths through sloppy and dishonest reporting, you just keep on truckin’ on.  But if criticize Bush, prepare to take your swatting.

What explains this inconsistent treatment?  One possibility, of course, is that it reflects the pro-Republican bias of the management of the multinational corporations that own the media outlets; one always tends to judge the mistakes of ones friends less harshly than those of someone whose work is helping the other side.  Or perhaps this tendency to come down especially hard when it’s a conservative ox that’s being gored, merely reflects the media’s tiresome routine of bending over backwards to try to disprove the right wing’s fallacious claims of liberal bias.  Or maybe it’s a little of both.

I don’t know.  But I do know this: If there is any justice in this universe, the next time some boob uses the phrase “liberal media” in describing today’s major news media he’ll be struck dead by lighting.  Then, when he gets to the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter will tell him, “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t let you in, you’re going to hell.”

“But why?” the man will plead.

“We heard what you said about there being a liberal media,” Saint Peter will reply sternly. “And there’s simply no room in heaven for anyone that stupid.”

All hear the word of the Lord.

13 Responses to “Criticize George W. Bush at your own risk”

  1. spiderwoman Says:

    What explains this media bias is really quite simple: By far, the largest lobby in Washington is the media itself. This is the corporate group that provides the most junkets, the most gifts, the most money, the most of whatever will buy off the government. There is no public media. There is only a corporate media, owned by a very small number of companies, all of which have many other interests - none of those coinciding with the needs or the will of the people.

    The media is a puppet of the corporations, and the media is used by the corporations to divert, lie to, mislead, confuse, make feel inadequate, and otherwise twist and manipulate the people and the government that no longer - if if ever really did - belongs to them. The media is nothing more or less than the mouthpiece and owner of the government.

  2. franzangst Says:

    well, this state of affairs is beginning to verge on being arrested for criticizing hitler or stalin.

  3. franzangst Says:

    this is getting to verge on the state of affairs that prevailed in nazi germany and in the soviet union under stalin.

  4. Chuck Says:

    “All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
    Herbert Goring

    (paraphrasing,) “Tell a lie often enough & loud enough & the people will believe it.”
    Herbert Goring

    “Dictatorships start wars because they need external enemies to exert internal control over their own people.”
    Richard Perle

    “I’m the Commander see … I do not need to explain things. That’s the interesting thing about being President … [I] don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”
    President George W. Bush

  5. Chuck Says:

    OOPS! That 2d qoute was from Joseph Goebbels, not Goring.

  6. Again Says:


    “Dictatorships start wars because they need external enemies to exert internal control over their own people.” Richard Perle

    reminded me of something and so i stumbled across How Hitler Consolidated Power in Germany and Launched a Social Revolution

    browsing the text i had some crazy associations of a nation yearning for a “strong hero”, “our last hope”

    “Unemployment benefits, moreover, were limited to a period of six months. After that came only the meager misery allowance dispensed by the welfare offices…
    Those still lucky enough to have some kind of job were not much better off. Workers and employees had taken a cut of 25 percent in their wages and salaries.”

    what if? What if China grows stronger and stronger, absorbing one big player after the other?

    “… industries, once renowned everywhere in the world, were no longer prosperous.”

    or the “The astronomical foreign debt” together with the “sharply fallen” tax revenues…

    or the lethargy of the Democrats…

    “Thus, prior to 1933, the … Democrats had been generously bribed by … a supercapitalist businessman. With him, as with all his like, it was a matter of carefully studied tactics.” - reminded me of the Heritage Foundation…

    “Nothing is given for nothing. In politics, manacles are imposed in the form of money.”

  7. iowametal76 Says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to do so until it’s no longer relevant:

    Almost everything authors like Bradbury, Huxley, Orwell, Vonnegut, Zappa, et. al. have written has come true in one form or another. These guys wrote our history (and in KV’s case, still writing) decades before it actually happened.

  8. Chuck Says:

    That’s scary!

  9. Chuck Says:

    I, unfortunatly, have to agree with you, though I have to admit I’m not familiar with Zappa (except the musician).


    “That was scary!” was meant in response to your quotes from “How Hitler…etc.”, though I find your source a bit suspect.

  10. actv Says:

    Well, speaking of boobs accusing “liberal media” of evil deeds, here’s what I got from my Congressman, John Culberson, today:

    Today, U.S. Representative John Culberson issued the following statement regarding Tom DeLay’s resignation:

    “Tom DeLay is one of the strongest leaders the House of Representatives has ever seen. His tireless work ethic and strict adherence to the Republican principles of limited government, individual freedom, and lower taxes earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow Republicans, and the resentment of his opponents. The Democrats and the liberal media are targeting Tom DeLay for the same reason that Confederate General Stonewall Jackson always ordered his troops to shoot the brave ones first - because it will scare the others.

    “I wish Tom and his family all the best in their return to private life, and I sincerely hope that they can avoid the cruel glare of the media spotlight. I am honored to have served with Tom DeLay, and I am certain that his proud legacy will never be diminished.”

    I’m proud to be a Texas Democrat today!

  11. Again Says:


    though I find your source a bit suspect

    oooops - it goes with other facts, so i didn’t check the background. Problem is, that inevitably most of the original documents are in German, (the most scaring examples are the current books of children and grandchildren, how ordinarily it began) - therefore i used that article - so what do you mean? I can’t find anything in the words (except of the title “our race is our nation”) - for me, the text doesn’t seem to be biased while concentrating many interesting items…

    but now i found the text on “Holocaust Historiography- and i’m confused…

    oh shit Léon Degrelle isn’t really a good guy, thanks for the hint - i guess i have to look for other sources, especially for one of my favorite quotes: I am not a dictator,” Hitler had often affirmed, “and I never will be. Democracy will be rigorously enforced by National Socialism.” or better “I’m not a dictator, i just simplified democracy”, not to be found at


    Bradbury, Huxley, Orwell, Vonnegut,

    yes, i’m fan of Science Fiction, too (in case of Zappa: same as Chuck) - a widely underestimated genre

    how about Franz Kafka? Today, grassroots must feel like part of kafkaesque stories, i guess

  12. alwayshope Says:

    Sci-fi lover here too. It is strange how close these writers are to the truth.
    And Kafka does seem very appropriate what with that giant cockroach Tom Delay running for cover when we turned on the light.

    When we hear that people are arrested or denied admittance because of thier T-shirt or their bumpersticker, why do we not shout “Is this America?”
    History and Sci-fi have shown us the answer; fear, war, money, religion and
    media manipulation can control a people, numb them and dumb them down.
    But, not to worry, because it’s Katie Couric to the rescue! She’ll get to the bottom of this, she’ll “speak fluff to power”.

    Criticize George Bush? I can’t even count the number of times a days I do that, and each time I wonder why I don’t hear an echo.

  13. iowametal76 Says:

    Well, Frank Zappa didn’t writre any SciFi novels like the others (good call on the Kafka, btw), but a lot of his lyrics deal with totalitarian governments and censorship (”Joe’s Garage,” specifically).

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