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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
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RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
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Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Says 'The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy'
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006 10:59am PT  

It appears that Election Integrity advocates have a staunch new ally in their fight for clean, legitimate elections in the United States of America. And he's hardly a "lefty," a "conspiracy theorist" or a "sour grapes" guy.

Conservative CNN anchor Lou Dobbs hammered on Electronic Voting machines and the company's that own them for the third straight day yesterday on his show, Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Yesterday, his report led off with these clear words: "The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy."

While Dobb's initial focus for his reports concerns the foreign ownership of the Sequoia Voting Systems company (recently purchased by Smartmatic, a Venezuelan firm said to be tied to Hugo Chavez), his reports, and the guests he's interviewed, also focus on the broader aspect of private ownership of all the voting machine company's running our public elections, as well as the security vulnerabilities of the hackable and unreliable electronic machines.

We're working on getting the video up (the video and transcript from the report the day before is here), but in the meantime, here's the transcript from last night's installment which featured Warren Stewart from VoteTrustUSA.org and computer security expert Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins University...

Lou Dobbs Tonight - June 6, 2006

DOBBS: The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy. Nationwide, there is concern and even alarm that electronic voting machines are simply too easily compromised and vulnerable to fraud. And as we've been reporting on this broadcast for the past several evenings, there is a new threat, and that threat originates in the Venezuelan ownership of one of the country's leading electronic voting machine companies.

Kitty Pilgrim reports...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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[Send Him a 'Thank You!']
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2006 3:59pm PT  

This was buried in the earlier piece concerning Lou Dobb's coverage of Electronic Voting in which his report alleges that these machines and the private company's that now control our vote are a "threat to democracy". But the later CNN segment with Jack Cafferty deserves to be front and center.

Said Cafferty yesterday (complete must-read transcript of the segment is below!):

"The arguments against the machines include these: they're vulnerable to software tampering, they don't keep an easily recountable printed record, and they may miscount, switch or not record votes at all. Other than that, they're great.

Defenders of these machines say that most of the problems occur because of hasty setup or poor training of poll workers. What's the message there, that it's OK as long as it's one of those two reasons?"

THANK GOD someone in the MSM finally gets it! Lord knows Wolf doesn't! See the full transcript below for answers from emailers to Cafferty's question-of-the-day yesterday: "Do you trust the honesty of America's election process?"

Regular BRAD BLOG readers won't be surprised at the answers sent in. Only that CNN actually read them on air! (Thank you, Jack Cafferty!)

...CONTACT...
Email: caffertyfile@CNN.com
Or go to CNN.com/caffertyfile

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Slams Foreign Ownership of Sequoia Voting Systems, Private Ownership, 'Trade Secret' Privileges of ALL Such Companies!
ALSO: CNN's Jack Cafferty Asks, 'Do you trust the honesty of America's election process?'
By John Gideon on 6/6/2006 7:31am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...

Yesterday on the Lou Dobb's Show on CNN, Lou's crack reporter, Kitty Pilgrim did the second of a two-part (with more to come we hope) report on the ownership of Sequoia Voting by a foreign conglomerate that is directly owned by Venezuelan nationals with direct ties to the Hugo Chavez regime.

It was fun to see Lou all blustery and nearly spitting as he decried the fact that the US government had allowed a foreign owned company to buy a company that supplies voting machines to states and counties.

===
ADDITIONAL THOUGHT FROM BRAD: It should also be pointed out here, when the questions/concerns about Sequoia's ownership are raised, that it's no different from the "local" privatized ownership of all of the other companies, such as Diebold, ES&S, etc. They are equally, if not more, partisan and their privatized (and secretized) ownership of our public elections should be of equal concern to Lou Dobbs, and all other, mostly rightwingers, who are suddenly concerned about the ownership of Sequoia!
===

A transcript of the show follows but a lot is missed if you cannot watch the video above.

Also Jack Cafferty asked about the honesty of the election process in his "Cafferty Files" segment on CNN's "Situation Room".

===
UPDATE: Tonight on Lou Dobbs - Warren Stewart, Legislative Director from VoteTrustUSA and a poll worker in the Bay Area in CA. and Avi Rubin, Computer Scientist and possibly a poll worker again this year in Maryland.
===

Text transcripts from both of yesterday's segments follow?

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Wolf Pounces, Hands off to Holt for Phony Claims, RFK Jr. Holds Own
[UPDATE] Text Transcript Now Added...
By David Edwards on 6/5/2006 7:16am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Wolf Blitzer hosted a "debate"/ambush on CNN's Situation Room between Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and former Bush/Cheney '04 spokesman, Terry Holt. In his Rolling Stone article Kennedy shows that Republicans prevented 350,000 voters from voting or having their votes counted.

Blitzer allowed a more civil discussion than did Tucker Carlson in another recent interview with Kennedy. CNN must have decided that an interview with Kennedy --- which would be entirely warranted --- would have appeared partisan. Republicans don't need someone who is uniquely qualified to defend their illegal electioneering in Ohio. Terry Holt can parrot the same tired GOP lies talking points and unsubstantiated, evidence-free charges as well as any talking head.

Holt said he would turn Kennedy's charges of Republic election rigging "on it's head". His first line of defense was that "an exhaustive bipartisan study of all 88 counties in Ohio was conducted after the election and Republicans and Democrats... have agreed that there was no significant or insignificant fraud." Kennedy is quick with a strong response, saying that, "there has no been no bipartisan commission... It's simply wrong to say that."

Holt wasted no time in blaming the voter. The true threat to America's democracy are the statistically insignificant fake voter registrations. Especially dangerous are those voters that attempt to "stuff the ballot box" registering with fake names like "Mickey Mouse" and "Michael Jordan". Holt's second talking point is a favorite in the Republican's long term strategy to restrict voting rights. They use this argument for everything from establishing voter Ids to purging Democrat voters from the rolls.

Robert Kennedy found his voice and easily defeated Holt's weak attempt to divert attention from the real issues. A few "Mickey Mouse" registrations hardly compare to the fact that Republicans stole the 2004 Presidential election by subverting the will of 350,000 voters in Ohio.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: Allow me to add to David's analysis here that there is not one known instance of phony "Mickey Mouse" or "Michael Jordan" registrations actually recorded as having voted. Holt spent no time speaking to the serious charges made by Kennedy in Rolling Stone but rather made up his own phony, unsupported nonsense. All the while Blitzer charged Kennedy didn't present evidence to support his charges (apparently, only if RJK Jr. had brought forward someone admitting they personally rigged the election would that have been evidence of anything). In the meantime, Blitzer allowed Holt to spread his unsubstantiated garbage without being challenged even once.

The complete text transcript from the video interview from Friday, June 2nd's edition of The Situation Room on CNN follows...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By David Edwards on 5/26/2006 5:50am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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On Wednesday, May 24th at about 3:43 pm ET, CNN broadcast this odd little story. There seems to be no reference to it on CNN's website and we haven't seen any encore broadcasts since.

Here is the short version of the story... Geronimo's great grandson is making a plea to President Bush to facilitate the return of the remains of the Apache chief. The heir to Geronimo decided to make this request to Bush after a researcher found proof that Bush's great grandfather, Prescott Bush, had robbed Geronimo's grave. The skull, bones and other relics are now part of initiation traditions in the secret society of the Skull and Bones.

Read on for more of this story...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By David Edwards on 5/18/2006 12:00pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Audio in MP3 format...

CNN's Lou Dobbs interviews former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern on Lt. General Hayden's nomination to be CIA Director. McGovern insist that Hayden's circumvented the FISA law and the U.S. Constitution when he followed Bush's order to listen to domestic phone calls without a warrant.

In the past, Hayden has shown to be a person who strictly followed the rule that the NSA and the CIA do not spy on Americans. Hayden has been known to push back against orders that breech the threshold of domestic spying. Since September 11th, Hayden gave way to Administration pressure to do domestic spying.

Hayden eventually created and defended the most publicly known program of warrantless domestic eavesdropping. In this case, one end of the call originates in the U.S. and the other end of the call is a foreign location. The FISA law and the Fourth Amendment require a warrant to listen to any domestic source (regardless of who is on the other end of the call.)

From the CNN transcript:

MCGOVERN: Yes, well, I don't think he's qualified because he made one big error. He --- like me when I was an Army office officer, like Bobby when he was an admiral, we took an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. That means we were sworn to protect the law, and also we were taught that we were never able or willing or we should never --- we should never obey an illegal order, OK?

Now, General Hayden was --- had a terrific reputation at NSA. Largely because he focused on what they call the 11th commandment up there, thou shalt not eavesdrop on Americans. After 9/11, as we all know, everything changed. We have a new paradigm, as they say, not the U.S. constitution...
[..]
Now the paradigm now is when the president or the vice president says we have to do something and it's sort of not really according to the law, we go ahead and do it anyway. And he said, yes, and if we want a person as the head of the CIA who was a yes man and says yes whether it's legal or illegal, I think that disqualifies him.

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(HINT: Blue Dresses...Rented by the Hour)
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 11:45am PT  

As the corporate mainstream media shakes their head in clueless wonder about the Porter Goss resignation at CIA, (they're "stunned", "suprised", "can't imagine what else must be going on to have brought this on") the clues have been bubbling for the last week or so on the Internet.

We associate ourselves with Josh Marshall's initial take...

Here at TPM HQ we were listening to the president's announcement. And the talking heads on CNN were speculating whether Goss's departure might be part of Josh Bolten's 'new blood' shake up in the Bush administration. I don't suppose it anything to do with the fact that Goss is neck deep in the Wilkes-Corruption-and-Hookers story that's been burbling in the background all week. We don't know definitely why Goss pulled the plug yet. But the CIA Director doesn't march over to the White House and resign, effective immediately, unless something very big is up.

(Point of pride ed. note: TPMmuckraker has been on top of this story all week.)

Muckraker has, in fact, been all over various points of the developing scandal for the last week or so. We recommend you keep your eyes over there as things move foward.

Underscoring the bizarre state of our national corporate mainstream media, Josh made a related point earlier today, prior to the Goss announcement. As readers were wondering why TPM and their Muckraker site were giving so much attention to the Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) incident which, readers comments had suggested, just distracts from all of the more important GOP scandals, Josh defended their coverage with this reply...

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By David Edwards on 4/10/2006 4:42pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Wolf Blitzer interviewed former Ambassador Joe Wilson this afternoon during CNN's Situation Room. Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, have been victims of a Bush Administration effort to stop the American people from learning that intelligence was twisted and misused to lead the country to war on Iraq.

Bush ordered that parts of the classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) be used to rebut a New York Times op-ed written by Joe Wilson. Wilson charged that the administration had had purposefully used baseless intelligence to inflate Iraq's nuclear ambitions.

Today, during a Q&A session with students, Bush said that he had released information from the NIE because he wanted people "to see the truth". In this interview, Joe Wilson sets the record straight by pointing out that the President only released part of the NIE to rebut Wilson's charge. If The President had wanted the people "to see the truth" then he would have also released other parts of the NIE which expressed serious doubts about the information Bush used to rebut Wilson's charge. In fact, by releasing more information which he knew to be faulty, George Bush just fed Americans another lie.

This video contains Wolf Blitzers' complete interview with Joe Wilson. It runs about 10 minutes. Wilson does a great job explaining some of the nuances of the case. He talks fast so you might want to watch it twice.

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By David Edwards on 4/10/2006 1:36pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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On April 7th, Wired News first reported on a class action lawsuit filed against AT&T by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). AT&T is accused of allowing the NSA to monitor phone and internet communications without a warrant.

An AT&T whistleblower, Mark Klein, has come forward with testimony and documentation. Klein provides specific details about how the spying program intercepted AT&T customer communications. The NSA installed "secret rooms" in AT&T switching centers throughout the country. Live communications signals are split off into the secret room. Powerful data-mining computers installed in the room can sift through the millions of live signals.

CNN put together this short video report including comments by an EFF attorney.

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Bush on Nuclear Iran, Hersh Article, War Protestors, Plame Case
By David Edwards on 4/10/2006 11:27am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Audio in MP3 format...

Today after giving another Iraq/War-on-Terror PR speech at Johns Hopkins International Studies School, President Bush took questions from students in the audience. When compared with recent Q&A sessions, the President appeared to be relaxed to the point of laughing off the some of the tougher questions.

Bush may have offered a little bit more information about his role in using the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) for political retribution. He was asked how future intelligence employees could trust the Executive Office in light of the Plame Wilson case. Bush responded that he had declassified the NIE "for a reason" but refused to say much more.

This video has about 8 minutes of clips from The President's Q&A session.

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Calls out CNN for what it is...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2004 12:34pm PT  

Wow. I told you this thing was gonna get ugly. John O'Neill implodes on live TV on Thursday, and on Friday, live on CNN, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart blows up Tucker Carlson, CNN and Crossfire. Finally!

Watch it, or read the highlights below. It's funny, sad, true and incredible LIVE television!:


I don't usually like to quote this much text, but if you missed the show, you've got to read some of this that I pulled from the full transcript...

STEWART: I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad. (LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: We have noticed.

STEWART: And I wanted to --- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't --- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But in its defense...

STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say...Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.

CARLSON: Yes.

STEWART: Stop. (LAUGHTER) Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

...

STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.

BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes.

STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks. (LAUGHTER)

...

CARLSON: And I'll tell you. When politicians come on...

STEWART: Yes.

CARLSON: It's nice to get them to try and answer the question. And in order to do that, we try and ask them pointed questions. I want to contrast our questions with some questions you asked John Kerry recently.

STEWART: If you want to compare your show to a comedy show, you're more than welcome to. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: No, no, no, here's the point.

STEWART: If that's your goal.

CARLSON: It's not.

STEWART: I wouldn't aim for us. I'd aim for "Seinfeld." That's a very good show.

...

STEWART: You know, it's interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility. I didn't realize that --- and maybe this explains quite a bit...that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity. (LAUGHTER) So what I would suggest is, when you talk about you're holding politicians' feet to fire, I think that's disingenuous.

...

STEWART: But my point is this. If your idea of confronting me is that I don't ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we're in bad shape, fellows. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: We're here to love you, not confront you...We're here to be nice.

STEWART: No, no, no, but what I'm saying is this. I'm not. I'm here to confront you, because we need help from the media and they're hurting us. And it's --- the idea is... (APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Let me get this straight. If the indictment is --- if the indictment is --- and I have seen you say this --- that...

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: ... that CROSSFIRE reduces everything, as I said in the intro, to left, right, black, white.

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.

BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.

STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.

BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.

STEWART: Yes.

CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.

STEWART: So this is...

CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You're a...

STEWART: So this is theater.

CARLSON: Now, let me just...

STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie...But the thing is that this --- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.

BEGALA: We do, do...

STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.

CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

STEWART: Absolutely.

CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...

STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. (LAUGHTER) What is wrong with you? (APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Well, I'm just saying, there's no reason for you --- when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy's butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It's embarrassing.

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

...

STEWART: The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey. (LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Go ahead. Go ahead.

STEWART: I watch your show every day. And it kills me.

CARLSON: I can tell you love it.

STEWART: It's so --- oh, it's so painful to watch. (LAUGHTER)

STEWART: You know, because we need what you do. This is such a great opportunity you have here to actually get politicians off of their marketing and strategy.

CARLSON: Is this really Jon Stewart? What is this, anyway?

STEWART: Yes, it's someone who watches your show and cannot take it anymore. (LAUGHTER) I just can't.

CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?

STEWART: If I think they are. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: I wouldn't want to eat with you, man. That's horrible.

STEWART: I know. And you won't.

...

STEWART: But let me ask you guys, again, a question, because we talked a little bit about, you're actually doing honest debate and all that. But, after the debates, where do you guys head to right afterwards?

CARLSON: The men's room.

STEWART: Right after that?

BEGALA: Home.

STEWART: Spin alley.

BEGALA: Home.

STEWART: No, spin alley.

BEGALA: What are you talking about? You mean at these debates?

STEWART: Yes. You go to spin alley, the place called spin alley. Now, don't you think that, for people watching at home, that's kind of a drag, that you're literally walking to a place called deception lane? (LAUGHTER) Like, it's spin alley. It's --- don't you see, that's the issue I'm trying to talk to you guys...

...

CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.

STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show. (LAUGHTER)

Wow. And bravo, Mr. Stewart.

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A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2004 10:40am PT  

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:

STEWART: Let me ask you...you work in news...[laughter] and I don't..the Senate Intelligence Committee, they come out with this rerport that says "Oh, the Iraq War...yeah, that's kind of a funny story...it was a mistake... [laughter] We were wrong about all that..."
BLITZER: Mmm-hmm...
STEWART: Taking the country to war based on information that turns out to be completely wrong because it was told to you by a guy named "Curveball"...[laughter]...Shouldn't that be...I mean, just out of curiosity...The biggest scandal we've ever had in the country?...Or no?...Am I thinking...
BLITZER: Well, you know...you never made a mistake in your life?
STEWART: That's a good point.
BLITZER: The CIA's not perfect, and sometimes they...get it wrong.
STEWART: That's right...
BLITZER: They got it wrong.
STEWART: And if...but in that situation, shouldn't someone be...fired? [laughter, applause]...or is it...I could be wrong...
BLITZER: Well, George Tenet did leave this weekend.
STEWART: After being told he was doing a "superb job"!
BLITZER: Yeah...in defense of George Tenet...I'll say this, we never know the successes, because they're kept secret. The failures we all know.
...
STEWART: Even the idea that the Senate Intelligence Committee has come up with this report...Wasn't their job to do that originally?
BLITZER: Originally, yes...That was looking back...
STEWART: Who's investigated them?
BLITZER: The American people. We have the right to investigate them. And the media...and look back and say "you know what, mistakes were made". [silence...then laughter]
STEWART: Okay...as far as the media...so now the CIA has gone back to their offices and said "Okay...no WMD"...Is the media doing anything?...Like at CNN do they have meetings were they say "uh, you know what? We should have asked that."
BLITZER: Uh, I think that...we do...we do do that.
STEWART: You have meetings? [laugter]
BLITZER: Yes, we have meetings.
STEWART: At those meetings...after, after you guys figure out who gets that last cruller...what does the media do differently?
...
BLITZER: I think we learn from our mistakes and try to it do better next time.
STEWART: Specifically?
BLITZER: Specifically...we learn from our mistakes and try to do it better next time. [laughter]

(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...)

BLITZER: We look back and we say, "ya know what, we should have been more skeptical." [silence...then laughter].
STEWART: But, if...well, come on...it was a...
BLITZER: You know we're trained to be skeptical by our very nature...that's what journalists...
STEWART: Why weren't you?...Because people...
BLITZER: I think we could have been more, skeptical...I think we...Look...I...
STEWART: Are you afraid of the Bush Administration?...Is the Bush Administration so ham-handed --- and this is coming from a Jew who knows nothing of ham [laughter] --- but are they so forceful...
BLITZER: No...
STEWART: ...that they have intimidated the press corp into not asking those questions?
BLITZER: No. The answer's no.
STEWART: So...is the Press Corp...and again, I'm gonna use the word...suffering from "groupthink"?...[laughter]...Or, or, or...another word...retardation? [laughter, cheers] No come on..really, tell me truth. I wanna know. I'm really curious. I'm baffled.
BLITZER: It's "groupthink"...not retardation.
STEWART: It is "groupthink"?
BLITZER: ..."groupthink"...You know when you're told...repeatedly...and I was told by...going into the war...I went off to the war...I went off to Kuwait, you probably remember.
STEWART: I do remember seeing you in Kuwait City...
BLITZER: So...Uh, I, I remember going off. I had all the briefings. I went over. Got the briefings from the CIA, the Pentagon, spoke to all the members of Congress, the Intelligence Committees, the House side, the Senate side...Everybody said the same thing: "There is no doubt there are stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons...and it's only a matter of time before he has a nuclear bomb"...Remember, Condoleeza Rice said on my show...Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer [laughter]...She said, "we can't wait for a smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
STEWART: You're exactly right...and as it turns out Pakistan had already sold "mushroom cloud material" to every country in the area but Iraq! [laughter, cheers] ...It's crazy! The whole thing's crazy! Whooo...Whooo-hooo! [Stewart spins around madly in chair]

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?

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