Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Democracy Now: Rahul Mahajan, Farid Ghadry, Steven Cook, Jim Lobe; Bob Somerby (Daily Howler)

Headlines for March 9, 2005
- Over 500,000 Protest in Pro-Syrian Rally in Beirut
- 34 Corpses Found at Two Sites in Iraq
- U.S. Trains Soldiers To Stop Friendly Fire Killings
- U.S. Panel Raises Doubts About Iran's Weapons Program
- 40 Terror Suspects Bought Guns Legally Last Year in U.S.
- U.S. Academics Warn War On Terrorism Breeds Terrorism
- Russian Forces Kill Chechen Rebel Leader
- Tomato Pickers Win Campaign Against Taco Bell

Is Bush Bringing Democracy to the Middle East? A Debate on U.S. Foreign Policy in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and More
We host a debate on the question: Is Bush bringing democracy to the Middle East? We are joined by Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rahul Mahajan, an independent journalist and author and Farid Ghadry, the co-founder and current preside
Bush Nominates Fierce UN Critic and Unilateralist John Bolton As Ambassador to United Nations
President Bush nominated John Bolton to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. We take a look at Bolton's record, his criticism of the UN and why his nomination stunned many in Washington with journalist Jim Lobe.
We're spotlighting the Daily Howler only in our Democracy Now! highlight. Partly because I've gotten lost in reading e-mails (e-mail address is, partly because I'm tired and partly because Dexter Filkins stand-up routine on Fresh Air has me laughing too darn hard.

But Somerby's always worth reading and today he's got something to say that he seems to think may not be noted elsewhere. So we'll emphasize it and it alone.

Excerpt from today's Howler:

LET THEM EAT MILQUETOAST: Remember -- big press corps "liberals" never tell you how the mainstream press really works. Consider a paragraph that doesn’t appear in E. J. Dionne's column this morning. Dionne lists four mistakes George Bush has made in selling his Social Security program:

DIONNE (3/9/05): So far the president has made at least four mistakes. He assumed he could convince the country that Social Security faces a crisis requiring urgent action. He thought he could accentuate the positive -- those "personal accounts" really do sound great -- without laying out what they would cost. He counted on getting good-government points by "facing up" to Social Security's long-term problems without proposing any hard steps to fix them. And he figured that some Democrats would fall his way simply because that's what has always happened before.

Bush has made four mistakes, Dionne says. But here's the paragraph that doesn't appear—the paragraph that never gets typed:

DIONNE, EXTENDED: Of course, it's easy to see why Bush could have made these mistakes. During Campaign 2000, the mainstream press did let him praise the wonders of private accounts without ever telling the public that benefits cuts and major borrowing would be involved in his plan. And the mainstream press corps did praise Bush for "facing up" to Social Security's long-term problem, even as he was baldly disguising the huge costs involved in his plan. For five years, the press did cover for Bush on this subject, helping him defeat Al Gore in the process. It's hardly surprising that Bush, as president, seemed to think he could get away with the same flim-flam again.

No, Dionne would never type that paragraph, although what it says is patently true (links below). Remember, big "liberal" pundits never discuss the actual working of their cohort. Result? Pseudo-con kooks get to yell "liberal bias," and citizens never hear the truth about the way the press really functions. But so what? For "liberals" like Dionne, life is simpler this way. Yes, the public gets grossly misled in the process. But those checks from the Post never bounce.
Yes, Dionne's the type of Milquetoast Liberal with which the Post litters its op-ed page.