Nolan tells MediaBiz he was fired Tuesday following a two-week, unpaid suspension.
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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Nolan tells MediaBiz he was fired Tuesday following a two-week, unpaid suspension.
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
From Dana Perino's press briefing on Friday, Nov. 30, 2007:
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Are bloggers journalists? More importantly, should bloggers receive the same privileges the government bestows upon “professional” journalists including, in most states, protection from the forced disclosure of confidential sources of information by way of journalist shield laws?
These are some of the questions congress has been considering over the last month as part of the “Free Flow of Information Act of 2007.” As The BRAD BLOG often relies on confidential and whistleblower sources we have been tracking the issue closely.
With this backdrop, The BRAD BLOG jumped at the opportunity to interview the guy who literally wrote the book on the subject, D.C. constitutional law attorney Scott Gant. Released in June, We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age, has enjoyed favorable reviews and led to appearances by Gant on C-Span's BookTV and The McLaughlin Group, where the host commented that the book was “A great read, an easy read and it breaks new ground, quite groundbreaking.”
Part 1 (7:32) of our interview above covers all things related to the shield law. Part 2 (8:30) of the interview above concentrates on access privileges and other benefits that journalists receive from the government that may be important to bloggers. Both follow below...
Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns
It was a big day on Thursday in the national capital, with several flaming surges hitting the news at once – the Washington Post hooking up with the MSM campaign to put “Hillary” over the top before the magic deadline of October 15 (more on that later, elsewhere); Rep. Henry Waxman and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee holding a powerful hearing on Iraqi corruption; the blocking of Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC; and discussion of a proposed federal shield law for journalists (full text of bill here), which was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today to the full Senate.
While I was able to sit in for hearings on two of the items above, space and time regrettably being constraints, I'll cover only the proposed shield law for the moment. Right up top, I have to say that I have qualms about it. A real leak, by a whistleblower exposing a crime or some danger to the public, is one thing. But protecting journalists from exposing a politically motivated ‘source’ trying to plant misinformation is another. This bill, as it was debated in committee and written about in papers yesterday, might equally protect both, if it protects either...
In today’s Washington Post ombudsman column, “Covert Question, Open Controversy,” Deborah Howell says, “Wilson's New York Times op-ed piece, critical of the Bush administration's use of intelligence, set off a chain of events that led to the disclosure of Plame's job.”
But information and testimony revealed during the course of the Libby Trial indicates that it wasn't Wilson's op-ed piece that set the off the chain of events leading to their disclosure of the CIA WMD analyst and her covert network. The Bush administration began its campaign to discredit Valerie Plame/Wilson at least a month prior to the release of her husband's article.
I can’t criticize Howell for her focus on the op-ed as the ball that got the campaign rolling. I, and most of the media, having been basically taking the same line in previous postings on this topic. Most of the writers on the CIA leak have been doing the same. Joseph Wilson’s book, The Politics of Truth: A Diplomat's Memoir: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity, takes the same tack: that the outing of CIA analyst Valerie Plame, Wilson’s wife, was retaliation for Wilson’s July 6, 2003, op-ed column, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”
But when Wilson wrote his book, he did not have access to behind-the-scenes discussions about his wife now revealed through the perjury and obstruction trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff. Retaliation there was, in spades, but testimony and documents in the Libby trial demonstrate, unrefuted, that administration discussion of Mrs. Wilson began several weeks before Wilson’s column appeared.
The reasons why are still unclear, and the prosecution was not permitted to delve into ramifications of the leak. But that the administration was already targeting both Wilson and his wife, Valerie --- overseeing a crucial intelligence network monitoring WMD activity in the middle east --- is now beyond question.
So why, beyond Wilson's op-ed, was the Bush Administration previously so intent on discrediting one of its own CIA assets?...
Guest blogged by Winter Patriot
Lovers of truth, justice and fine journalism received some very bad news today --- from Russia. Chris Floyd has been sacked by the Moscow and St. Petersberg Times.
Chris has written a weekly world affairs column, "Global Eye", for the past ten years, and he's been writing for the paper(s) for 12 years in all. But today he received a message from the new editor, saying:
In my opinion Chris Floyd ranks among the best English-speaking journalists in the world, and when I say "best" I am talking about a very few people. I'd mention his most outstanding quality --- but I can't. He brings to the table an embarrassment of riches, if ever anyone did.
This video provides some background to a special story posted on THE BRAD BLOG yesterday, by White House Correspondent Eric Brewer of BTC News. During a White House press conference, Eric Brewer asked about reports of the Patriot Act being used to spy on journalists. The video is an interview with ABC's Brian Ross who first reported that the Patriot Act is being used to spy on journalists.
White House Press Secretary issued a rather weak denial. Snow denied that National Security Letters, enabled by the Patriot Act, were being used to spy on journalists. He then said that National Security Letters were only concerned with Foreign to Domestic calls so "the pieces just don't add up." (see: Eric Brewer's article for Snow's full response.)
Snow's answer was misleading and possibly wrong. The FBI can issue National Security Letters (NSL) to collect personal records for a target and all of that target's contacts. In this way, a single NSL can collect records for a social network of hundreds of people. Organizations that are ordered to hand over their customer's information via an NSL are immediately gagged from revealing the NSL to anyone. Last year, the FBI targeted about 3500 Americans using NSL's without a warrant or the approval of any court. The FBI investigates domestic crimes; NSL's issued by the FBI are certainly being used to spy on Americans.
In this video, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! interviews ABC's Brian Ross who was first to report that the federal government was spying on ABC News and other media organizations. Some of what Ross says is truly shocking and should give every American pause.
The video consists of about 7 minutes of clips from the Brian Ross interview. The entire 16 minute interview is available at DemocracyNow!.
Keep reading for a few selected quotes from the Ross interview...
Today during the White House briefing I asked Tony Snow this question:
Tony denied the allegation, saying:
Friday's episode of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher was the final live broadcast of the season. The panelist were musician John Legend, national security expert Richard Clarke, and academic Cornell West.
Maher took the opportunity of the season final to focus on slamming President Bush. Maher said that Bush was such an easy target that he had avoided having a Bush theme throughout the season.
Discussion of recent stories about the NSA's domestic programs really took over much of the show. Maher's panelist were outraged at the Bush Administration's abuse of power. Cornell West was highly critical of human and civil rights abuses while Richard Clarke warned of the dangers that happen when an incompetent government employs excessive power.
Due to the length of the video, it has been split into 2 parts. Both parts contain clips from the show that focus on Maher's criticism of Bush and the NSA's domestic spying.
Everywhere I go (and write) these days there still seems to be a collective sense of shock and/or disbelief from folks on both the Right and the Middle, and even on the Left --- who have been as mind-numbed as those everywhere else --- when I mention the supposedly "Liberal" Mainstream Media's bias towards the Bush Administration.
The bias is not so much because they are supporters of Bush Administration policies per se, but because they have been so cowed for so long by the Administration, and afraid of either losing their access or being labeled "Anti-Bush" or "Anti-American" or simply "unpatriotic" by the rabid Right, that they now err far on the opposite side of the matter. The result has been, over the past several years, that the Right and the Bushies who currently sit at the top of that pyramid have gotten a virtual free pass on everything from the 2000 Election to the Iraq War.
The supposed "Liberal" bastions of CNN and the NY Times are the most obvious examples. Whenever I mention their bias towards Administration positions, I am met with shock, disbelief and indignation from Right Robots everywhere. Of course. Who can blame them? They are behaving as they have been programmed to. (Just like the Mainstream Media!)
The fact that the NY Times all but abdicated it's duties as skeptical journalists, who are supposed to be looking out for our interests, during the run up to the Iraq War has been much discussed in the narrow band of the Blogosphere Left and largely ignored (by convenience?) amongst the more ubiquitous Rightwing and Mainstream (virtual Rightwing) Media.
A tepid and vaguely worded apology was recently issued by the Times for their disastrously inaccurate and misleading pre-war coverage, wherein they essentially echoed the Administration's flawed intelligence every day on Page One of America's "paper of record". The Times eventually apologized for "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been" and that "In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged."
The Times information was largely spoon-fed to them without question by Ahmad Chalabi --- a man with a very specific mission to tell Americans whatever they needed to hear to encourage them (and us, and the world) towards over-throwing Saddam. He was also a man on the Administration payroll to the tune of some 300k per month. Their apology, of course, unlike the Page One stories, was a Page 14 blip on the media coverage scene. A more recent Op/Ed apology in The Times said that they "should have been more aggressive in helping our readers understand that there was always a possibility that no large stockpiles existed" and that they "did not listen carefully" to those who raised those doubts.
Judith Miller, the Times biggest Page One offender was never singled out by name in either apology, or apparently reprimanded in any way, for her nearly single-handed series of scores of flawed and misleading articles. It's all now too little, too late. As is usually the case when "the paper of records" prints something, many of those articles were then hailed by Bush supporters everywhere to shore up their case for war in every other newspaper and/or media outlet around the world. If, after all, even the "Liberal" NY Times says "Saddam has stockpiles of WMD's" and that "Iraq is a growing threat" then, of course, it must be true!
Of course, we now know it wasn't. But don't expect much more than a quick hand-wringing about that from the same Media that screwed it all up in the first place.
CNN is another supposedly "Liberal" Media outlet that carried the Administration water leading up to and throughout the "initial hostilities" in Iraq.
They, like the rest of what might have been a legitimate media in this country, were cowed from the very first hours after the 9/11 Attacks when FOX NEWS and other Rightwing Hacks accused them of being "unpatriotic" whenever one of their anchors considered the traitorous act of not wearing an American Flag lapel pin while on the air!
CNN's Christian Amanpour, almost alone, was critical of her own network and the many others who "embedded" themselves within the Administration in one way or another. She was, of course, met with much criticism back in September of 2003, when she publicly raised the issue. "I'm sorry to say," Amanpour told USA Today, "but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."
She went on to speak about how this self-censorship seeped its way into the coverage, or lack thereof; "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."
Now she tells us.
And now, with WMD's nowhere to be found, the Administration's "informants" proven to have been largley nothing more than opportunistic frauds, and the case for the war virtually shot to hell, it's not just the Bush Administration that is avoiding all mea culpas in not taking real accountability for their culpability in the unncessecary deaths of thousands in this bogus war. The very media that helped them convince America there was a good reason for all of it continue to act, with very few exceptions, like Amanpour above, as though they had no real responsibility in the matter.
Wolf Blitzer, CNN's most prominent face and "top" anchor continues business as usual. Despite so many of his sycophantic and unquestioning softball interviews with so many "top Administration Officials" prior to the war.
Sadly, as has been the case in America over the last few months, it turns out that the hard-hitting fake news program "The Daily Show", as demonstrated here recently, is one of the few voices regularly calling out the Mainstream Media for their vaccuous and inaccurate coverage that helped allow the Bush Administration to lead us into an unnecessary and ultimately self-destructive war.
In truth, the real scandal is how the "real" news outlets turn out to be "comedy", while our comedy shows turn out to be more like real news. We are well beyond the Looking Glass indeed.
Last Monday, the seemingly rather incurious Blitzer was interviewed by "The Daily's" Jon Stewart who didn't much hold back in his questioning of the man who, in no small part, was the "face" of American Media across the world in the panicked rush to war. The discussion was rather telling:
(Pardon the interruption, but I must interject here to note how much Blitzer there sounds like Bush last week when asked how he can still continue to claim that there were ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda. His answer: "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."
Anyway...back to the Blitzer interview...)
Yes, Jon...the whole thing's crazy. And Wolf sums his failure up nicely; Prior to the war, he asked everyone who was in favor of going to war, why we should be going to war. Apparently, though he claims to be "skeptical by [his] very nature", he was not skeptical enough to report on, or give coverage to all of the many voices out here who had different opinions on the efficacy of this thing before it actually happened. Wouldn't want to jeopardize that primo Administration access now would we, Wolf?
A study by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting released in March of 2003, looked at the interviews conducted by CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS in the one week before and then after Colin Powell gave his now infamously misleading (and factually incorrect!) address to the United Nations. Of the 393 interviews during those two weeks on the four major broadcast networks, only three of those interviews were with individuals who were "skeptical of or opposed to the invasion of Iraq."
That means that nearly 97% of what Americans saw on their nightly news was little more than a constant drumbeat for going to war. So much for the myth of the "Liberal" Media.
None the less, some of us who were paying close attention heard all the warnings beforehand. From former Middle East envoy and chief of Central Command in the Middle East, Scott Ritter, from the head of the International Atomic Energy Association, Mohamed al-Baradei and a host of others, who told us --- usually via the tiniest mentions in the Mainstream Media, if that much, more frequently on their own websites or reported via the independent internet websites --- that the WMD were not there, Saddam had no "mushroom cloud material" and the plan for War was simply ill-conceived from the get go.
We, the few of us bothering to pay very close attention on our own, even heard the warnings George W. Bush's own father, who has more than a little familiarity with issues in that tricky and dangerous part of the world. The former President warned in his own memoirs that "Trying to eliminate Saddam ... would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. ... [T]here was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."
In other words, all of the warnings were out there, yet CNN and the The NY Times and the rest of the Network Broadcast Media, in the wake of blistering criticism from the Right after 9/11 for not being "patriotic" enough, didn't bother to be skeptical enough because that would have required they be --- potentially --- critical of the Administration in their reporting. Which, in turn, would have been "unpatriotic" and/or "un-American" as charged by the folks that have been charging for years that these outlets are "house organs of the Liberal Left" anyway.
They weren't skeptical enough. They should have been. And nearly 900 Americans have now given their lives, thousands more have given their limbs, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are all dead because of it.
Yes, as the recent Senate Intelligence Report indicates, the CIA blew it. So did the Bush Administration. But make no mistake, the Media --- Mainstream and otherwise --- have the same blood of incompetence, abdication of duty, cowardice and failure of intellectual curiosity on their hands. "Liberal" Media, indeed. Failed, cowed, culpable Administration Media lap dogs appears much closer to reality for anyone willing to look at the actual evidence.
With so many dead, so many failures, it would be nice if that Media started dealing more in reality. For the good of this country. (Which is usually for the good of this world, I might add.) No matter how many Administration Officials or Rightwing Extremist Partisans might cut off their access and baselessly call them names and threaten boycotts because of it.
Message to the Media: Yes, politicians of both the Left and the Right will tell you whatever they are interesting in selling. That's their job. It's your job to get the real story! Not simply serve as a PR outfit for the politicos! We've got xerox machines for that! And we shouldn't have to rely on fake news shows on cable comedy channels for the real news and the hard-hitting interviews. In other words, find some courage and some of that skepticism you claim to have "by nature", and start doing your frickin' job! How many more have to die to remind you of what you should be doing?
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
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· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
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