Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:57


2/28/07 "The Charles Goyette Show"
INTERVIEW: Seymour Hersh: "We've Been Taken Over by a Cult"


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News War: PBS Frontline series parts I, II, III, & IV Airing Over the Next Few Weeks
by spinynorman | Feb 13 2007 - 10:55pm | permalink
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Well, the first installment of this Frontline series was overall pretty disappointing.

The people allowed to speak in this piece with its focus on l'affaire Plamegate were not for the most part the principal dramatis personae. Most of them were regarded from a distance.

Ironically, the first two installments are about spin, but after seeing the first of these two this evening, I'm not entirely certain that this series isn't itself spin for the powers that be. It's very subtle, mind. The opening segment presenting the dramatic developments in the Plame case from the infamous SOTU assertion to the relenting of the NYTIMEs and TIME to the request of the special prosecutor in the case was very compelling.

The most interesting thing to come out of this first part was the not insignificant bit about the ruling by a Chicago judge that reporters could not maintain the confidentiality of their anonymous sources. As a result of the pitched battle to protect confidentiality of essentially nonwhistleblbowers, the Branzburg decision in 1972 was put to the test, and at the end of the day, not only did the reporters in the battle lose, but so did those who fought to maintain an interpretation of the ruling favorable to 1st amendment protection of reporters. That is huge.

And I must emphasize, what a waste it was to spend it on the type of reporters involved, particularly, the dame Judith Miller, who basically allowed herself to be used by the administration to carry off their propaganda campaign in favor of waging war on Iraq. By way of qualification, there are two very important points to made about this type of reporter: 1) such a reporter is merely a stenographer, not a journalist; 2) their anonymous sources are not whistleblowers, but rather the people from whom the reporter takes dictation. The absence of fact-checking is the hallmark not just of this type of reporter, but of the type of newspaper with an agenda in line with the anonymous sources.

The Frontline program failed to make this clear, miserably. In fact, the ample time given to Miller in this installment never even hinted at the fact that she was not doing journalism. To the contrary, one was left with the very impression she had for a while successfully made during her faux attempt at martyrdom for press freedom. Her case was not about press freedom, but rather about covering up her own rôle in spin for war.

Did anyone else have any impressions about this first installment?
Time is an illusion; lunchtime, doubly so.
-- Ford Prefect


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