Leonard Downie, Executive Editor of the Washington Post Spills the Beans
Why the Corporate Media Blows it Every Time
By Michael Collins on 9/11/2006, 11:00pm PT  

Guest blogged by Michael Collins

9/11: Press for Truth

From 9/11: Press for Truth
and 9/11: Press for Truth: A Review --- "Scoop"

I saw 9/11: Press for Truth last night at the Landmark E Street Cinema. When I got directions, I laughed a jaded laugh because that's just around the corner from the J Edgar Hoover Building, FBI Headquarters. How did I know that? Because in the 1980's, the 9:30 Club was also just around the corner from FBI Central. Ignoring the 9:30 Club was to the FBI's credit. Their performance on the 9/11 tragedy, however, has been like the other institutions that ignore or obfuscate: disappointing.

I reviewed this outstanding work of documentary film art for "Scoop" shortly after I saw it --- 9/11 Press for Truth: A Review- "Scoop". Winter Patriot has very recently blogged about some of the background behind it.

There was one sequence in the film that I wanted to explore more deeply, because it brings together 9/11, Elections, and the Corporate media.

First, it does really matter who is elected. Attention to elections in detail, particularly post-election controversies, is a must. What would it be like if we had President Gore? To start, we would have a coordinated response on the environmental tragedy facing us. And we would not have had an administration that can't see beyond the interests of its patrons in the Middle East. Why no President Gore, you ask? Because he won and the people didn't get that message; because he should have won the election contest but the lawyers didn't get the message; because it was the will of the people but the Supreme Court didn't get the message.

The Corprorate Media (also known as Mainstream Media, or MSM) couldn't connect any of the dots in the Bush political legacy. During the past six years, they have not connected any dots at all. It is gut-wrenching to see this again and again. Major stories like this one in Newsweek never get full play. They start and stop in an instant. Sometimes they never start because they're spiked (pulled for some reason).

Why Does Corporate Media Blow It Again and Again?

The film, 9/11: Press for Truth answers the question. Co-producer Kyle Hence was kind enough to send me a transcript to share this amazing sequence.

This comes at the end of the documentary. The point is made again and again --- 80% of the information is out there in the public domain. Why doesn't Corporate Media connect the dots and come up with the big story? (Thinking about election fraud, are you?)

Here is the verbatim sequence that answers our question. “Patty” is Patricia Casazza, one of the Jersey Girls who are fighting so hard to get their 9/11 questions answered. “Len” is Leonard Downie, Executive Editor of the Washington Post, appointed in 1992.

PATTY: The facts were dribbled out and over such an extended period of time that, I think, the effect was lost on the American public.

The press should have been doing a better job of putting those conflicts, if you will, (Laughs.) you know side by side… in a cumulative report.

LEN: (1-16) But that's not the job of reporting. That's the job of editorial pages and politicians and others to make those kinds of judgments --- and the public itself, and the 9/11 relatives themselves --- to make those kinds of assertions. All we can do in our reporting is report facts. And we have reported those facts, and we have held those facts up against public statements at the time... which is why they know that’s what took place, from our reporting.
Script: 911 Press for Truth

Finally, our long search is over! Our question, "What the heck is CM doing?", has been answered. They just report facts!!! They just report facts!!! Odd that Downie says the "editorial" pages need to connect the dots. Especially since, as Winter Patriot has been pointing out, Op/Ed pages have become a "fact-free zone", where columnists can write whatever they want, factual or not.

Did Woodward and Bernstein leave it to the editorial pages to connect the dots? Did any of the other great investigative reporters appearing in newspapers for decades do that? Isn't Leonard Downie the "Executive Editor" and thus responsible for connecting the dots?

Downie's remark reveals the current standards for journalism. It shows that there is little interest in investigating 9/11, election fraud, environmental catastrophes, etc. etc.; only the most absurd excuses for not doing so.

They're simply not going to do it. It has more to do with their role in their larger corporate structure than anything else, I suspect. CBS dumps Rather. Time Magazine hires a former head of an ultra-conservative right wing foundation. ABC deliberately broadcasts lies. They don't care because they don't have to. They act as though control by Republicans will last forever.

This is a "smoking gun" of sorts for the media. I think Downie was pressed and he blew it. But I think that CM is fine using this as a talking point.

What do you think about Downie's quotation?