2004-10-15 14:30:13 UTC
commercial disguised as a documentary. This "ad" disguised as a documentary
was created by a former employee of Tom Ridge. Read below. I feel sorry for
citizens of the U.S.
(from today's NY Times)
Thanks to Elizabeth Jensen of The Los Angeles Times, who first broke the
story last weekend, we now know that Sinclair has grander ambitions for the
election. It has ordered all its stations, whose most powerful reach is in
swing states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, to broadcast a "news"
special featuring a film, "Stolen Honor," that trashes Mr. Kerry along the
lines of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads. The film's creator is a man
who spent nearly eight years in the employ of Tom Ridge. Sinclair has
ordered that it be run in prime time during a specific four nights in late
October, when it is likely to be sandwiched in with network hits like "CSI,"
"The Apprentice" and "Desperate Housewives." Democrats are screaming, but
don't expect the Bush apparatchiks at federal agencies to pursue their
complaints as if they were as serious as a "wardrobe malfunction." A more
likely outcome is that Sinclair, which already reaches 24 percent of
American viewers, will reap the regulatory favors it is seeking to expand
that audience in a second Bush term.
Like the Nixon administration before it, the Bush administration arrived at
the White House already obsessed with news management and secrecy. Nixon
gave fewer press conferences than any president since Hoover; Mr. Bush has
given fewer than any in history. Early in the Nixon years, a special
National Press Club study concluded that the president had instituted "an
unprecedented, government-wide effort to control, restrict and conceal
information." Sound familiar? The current president has seen to it that even
future historians won't get access to papers he wants to hide; he quietly
gutted the Presidential Records Act of 1978, the very reform enacted by
Congress as a post-Watergate antidote to pathological Nixonian secrecy.
The path of the Bush White House as it has moved from Agnew-style press
baiting to outright assault has also followed its antecedent. The Nixon
administration's first legal attack on the press, a year before the
Watergate break-in, was its attempt to stop The Times and The Washington
Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers, the leaked internal Defense
Department history of our failure in Vietnam. Though 9/11 prompted Ari
Fleischer's first effort to warn the media to "watch what they say," it's
failure in Iraq that has pushed the Bush administration over the edge. It
was when Operation Iraqi Freedom was bogged down early on that it spun the
fictional saga of Jessica Lynch. It's when the percentage of Americans who
felt it was worth going to war in Iraq fell to 50 percent in the Sept. 2003
Gallup poll, down from 73 that April, that identically worded letters
"signed" by different soldiers mysteriously materialized in 11 American
newspapers, testifying that security for Iraq's citizens had been "largely
restored." (As David Greenberg writes in his invaluable "Nixon's Shadow,"
phony letters to news outlets were also a favorite Nixon tactic.) The legal
harassment of the press, like the Republican party's Web-driven efforts to
discredit specific journalists even at non-CBS networks, has escalated in
direct ratio to the war's decline in support.
"What you're seeing on your TV screens," the president said when minimizing
the Iraq insurgency in May, are "the desperate tactics of a hateful few."
Maybe that's the sunny news that can be found on a Sinclair station. Now,
with our election less than three weeks away, the bad news coming out of
Iraq everywhere else is a torrent. Reporters at virtually every news
organization describe a downward spiral so dangerous that they can't venture
anywhere in Iraq without risking their lives. Last weekend marines spoke
openly and by name to Steve Fainaru of The Washington Post about the
quagmire they're witnessing firsthand and its irrelevance to battling Al
Qaeda, whose 9/11 attack motivated many of them to enlist in the first
place. "Every day you read the articles in the States where it's like, 'Oh,
it's getting better and better," said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Snyder of
Gettysburg, Pa. "But when you're here, you know it's worse every day."
Another marine, Lance Cpl. Alexander Jones of Ball Ground, Ga., told Mr.
Fainaru: "We're basically proving out that the government is wrong. We're
catching them in a lie." Asked if he was concerned that he and his buddies
might be punished for speaking out, Cpl. Brandon Autin of New Iberia, La.,
responded: "What are they going to do - send us to Iraq?"
What "they" can do is try to intimidate, harass, discredit and prosecute
news organizations that report stories like this. If history is any guide,
and the hubris of re-election is tossed into the mix, that harrowing drama
can go on for a long time before we get to the feel-good final act of "All
the President's Men."
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