Monday, May 01, 2006

Why media matter

You'll recall, mes amis, your blogstress waxing poetic on a most fascinating forum called "Why Media Matters," hosted by David Brock and his watchdog organization, Media Matters for America, and featuring Al Franken, Helen Thomas and Eleanor Clift. As promised, herewith a link to the video highlights.

Sphere: Related Content

Powell: Good soldier
or spineless hack?

Your blogstress has gotten weary of the excuses made for Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell remained in the administration for the entire first term, despite numerous momentous actions by Bush he is said to have opposed. The latest to revisit us is his assertion, reported here by Bloomberg, that he had recommended that the U.S. invasion of Iraq be carried out with many more troops than it was.

Why do the media insist on giving this guy a pass, pretending that he acts solely from a place of honor -- a soldier honoring the chain of command? Because Powell appeared to be a moderating force in the administration (he was not), many grew attached to the retired general as evidence that the Bush administration fell short of embodying absolute evil. And after the Viet Nam disgrace, liberals tend to bend over backwards to try to prove their respect for the military. Further, as one of very few African-American generals, he is admired for what was surely a challenging ascent into the military's highest ranks.

However, if Powell were so honorable, wouldn't he have just turned in his State Department badge rather than take part in policies he believed to be wrong? Instead, he held onto his power for as long as he could, and likely served for more than a decade as the confidential source for stories that spoke to his wise disagreement with his bosses. Now, in an effort to secure his legacy, Powell makes news at least once a year with comments about how the president ignored his sage advice. In short, Powell is a weanie.

Not that his weaniness doesn't ocassionally serve a larger purpose. His interview this weekend with Britain's ITV threw current Secretary of State Condi Rice on the defensive, which is exactly where your cybertrix likes to see Madam Secretary.

Sphere: Related Content

Josh Bolten's mojo-recovery program
may eliminate daily press briefings

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting recently-appointed White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten's stated raison d'ĂȘtre:

''What the change does provide is an opportunity for the White House to step back, refresh, re-energize at a time when we're 5 1/2 years into an administration -- normally a slow point, a low point, in many administrations -- and a chance for us to get our mojo back, to go back more on the offensive and to get people within the White House to look at our operations, re-energize them for the next six months up through the election, the next 1,000 days through the end of this president's term,'' Bolten said.
According to the AP, with his appointment of Fox News personality Tony Snow as the new White House Press Secretary, Bolten is considering the elimination of the daily White House press briefing, which has become ritualized in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. The article notes that the briefings throw light on reporters' notoriously antagonistic relationship with this administration, even if, in much of their reporting, they appear to take the assertions of the commander-in-chief at face value -- a practice that eased the president's path into Iraq.

In making that threat, perhaps Bolten seeks to convince members of the press corps to behave in a more genteel fashion during the briefings. Here's hoping that the result is just the opposite, and that the American people will take umbrage at the idea of further limiting media access to the president's men and women.

Another gem from the article is Bolten's admission that, in addition to the nickname "Yosh," the president has several others for him that are "unrepeatable." Yo, conservative base: You got anything to say about that?

Sphere: Related Content