Friday, June 17, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: Today was a historical day and don't let anyone kid you otherwise. In my own home, my granddaughter Tracey and several of her friends came over to listen the live coverage on Pacifica. They sat spellbound as they listened to Congressman John Conyers, Jr.'s hearing, not because the Downing Street Memo was new to them (it wasn't), but because this was a moment of truth telling and the youth of any era always breathes in that sort of fresh air.

Watching them as they listened spellbound, as they exchanged excited glances, as they nudged one another during some sections, I was reminded of how it felt to hear real truth during the Vietnam conflict. There's this idea that the press, during the sixties or "back in the day," was on the trail of truth throughout and that's simply not how it was. We had our complaints, deserved complaints, about our own Operation Happy Talk that was being played out before us. But once we hit the tipping point (or, with a nod to The Third Estate Sunday Review, the tripping point), the whole phoney facade began to crack.

I think we're there or almost there today.

And to anyone discouraged or wondering if the hearing made any difference, I'd urge you to look around and notice how many people paid attention and became aware of the Downing Street Memo. I'd urge you to also note that for the first time NPR seemed to realize that it was a serious matter and one worth paying attention to.

On Morning Edtion today [Thursday], we were treated to this:

Democrats Investigate Downing Street Memo
by Mary Louise Kelly

Read the Full Memo
The memo is dated July 23, 2002, and was sent by Matthew Rycroft, then a British foreign policy adviser, to David Manning, Britain's ambassador to the U.S.
'Downing Street Memo' (PDF), Source: 'The Sunday Times'

Morning Edition, June 16, 2005 · Democrats on Capitol Hill hold a hearing today on the so-called Downing Street Memo. The memo for British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly suggests that U.S. intelligence was ''being fixed" in 2002 to back up President Bush's desire to invade Iraq.

The coverage didn't end there. On All Things Considered the topic was addressed again:

Hearings Center on British Memo on U.S., Iraq
by Mary Louise Kelly

Read the Full Memo
The memo, dated July 23, 2002, and was sent by Matthew Rycroft, then a British foreign policy adviser, to David Manning, Britain's ambassador to the U.S.
'Downing Street Memo' (PDF), Source: 'The Sunday Times'

All Things Considered, June 16, 2005 · The House Judiciary Committee holds hearings on the "Downing Street Memo," notes from 2002 suggesting the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq months before the conflict began.
The release of the memo, from a meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his aides in July, 2002, has prompted an outcry.

Related NPR Stories
June 16, 2005
Slate: Reading the 'Downing St. Memo'
June 16, 2005
Investigating Downing Street Memo
June 7, 2005
Prime Minister Blair Visits Bush at the White House

NPR hasn't led the way on covering the Downing Street Morning. Today they discussed it repeatedly. In another time, in a braver time, NPR would have done as Pacifica did and covered the hearing live. Back then, NPR's reporting would have been stronger and more to the point. But we're living in today, the age of the Bully Boy, and the fact that NPR and other maintream outlets were forced to take the hearing seriously or somewhat seriously testifies to where we're at today.

Looking around, I think we're at a strong point and I belive the attention from NPR proves that. Watching my granddaughter and her friends respond so visibly to the hearing, I have strong hope for our country.

I'll note that Tracey, her friends and myself finally found an article in The Guardian (written by their staff) on the Downing Street Memo while visiting The Village Voice online. It's entitled "Papers reveal commitment to war" and written by Richard Norton-Taylor and Patrick Wintour. If anyone finds any other articles, please pass them on.

For those fortunate enough to catch the hearing on Pacifica, you heard history unfold and, certainly, you'll never forget Cindy Sheehan's testimony which spoke directly from the heart.
This is the tipping point.