Friday, January 16, 2009

The press corps

Glenn Greenwald, one of the best and most courageous bloggers out there, looked at an article by the NYT's David Lichtblau that 'reported' on a decision by the FISA court. Since the article was grossly wrong about the import of the decision, it was even wrong about what the decision actually said, Glenn rightfully demolished Lichtblau, as well as the right wing commentators that also misread the decision. Then Glenn gave out what he think was behind the story:
But this is what has been happening with the FISA controversy -- and, for that matter, all of these lawbreaking scandals -- from the start. Right-wing Bush followers spout total falsehoods. Reporters who cover the story (such as Lichtblau), to say nothing of cable news talking heads, are too slothful, ill-informed and/or just dumb to understand why these right-wing claims are so factually false.
Here, IMHO, I believe he goes astray. I doubt that Lichtblau is slothful, ill-informed, and/or dumb. He is just doing his job, writing a story for his editors with the focus that they want. If Lichtblau started reporting what he wanted to report, the result might be completely different. True, it might not, but that is not the point, the point is that the press is an army, regular reporters might be compaired to noncoms, and noncoms know how to take and implement their orders, that's how they got to be noncoms (reporters).

The national press is now wholly a part of the national security state. Their reporting is completely indicative of that status. Take this other example, back on Jan. 4, the NYT had an article by Scott Shane that proclaimed itself to be the most exhaustive look at the presumed anthrax killer and the whole investigation that led to the conclusion that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the crimes. Shane writes that:
By early 2004, F.B.I. scientists had discovered that out of 60 domestic and foreign water samples, only water from Frederick, Md., had the same chemical signature as the water used to grow the mailed anthrax.
This seems completely unsubstantiated, but was none the less included in the article. Why? Because it helped to fulfill the article's purpose, to assist in convicting Ivins in the public eye, it was included. Shane, like Lichtblau was carrying out orders and produced an article that fulfilled his superiors wishes. Who was the unnamed source that provided Shane's tidbit? We shall never know, but we can certainly guess.


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