Friday, May 28, 2004

I Couldn't Call Myself a Liberal Blogger Without "liberally" siphoning off Paul Krugman quotes.
People who get their news by skimming the front page, or by watching TV, must be feeling confused by the sudden change in Mr. Bush's character. For more than two years after 9/11, he was a straight shooter, all moral clarity and righteousness. But now those people hear about a president who won't tell a straight story about why he took us to war in Iraq or how that war is going, who can't admit to and learn from mistakes, and who won't hold himself or anyone else accountable. What happened? The answer, of course, is that the straight shooter never existed. He was a fictitious character that the press, for various reasons, presented as reality. The truth is that the character flaws that currently have even conservative pundits fuming have been visible all along. Mr. Bush's problems with the truth have long been apparent to anyone willing to check his budget arithmetic. His inability to admit mistakes has also been obvious for a long time. I first wrote about Mr. Bush's "infallibility complex" more than two years ago, and I wasn't being original... Finally, let's not overlook the role of intimidation. After 9/11, if you were thinking of saying anything negative about the president, you had to be prepared for an avalanche of hate mail. You had to expect right-wing pundits and publications to do all they could to ruin your reputation, and you had to worry about being denied access to the sort of insider information that is the basis of many journalistic careers. The Bush administration, knowing all this, played the press like a fiddle. But has that era come to an end? A new Pew survey finds 55 percent of journalists in the national media believing that the press has not been critical enough of Mr. Bush, compared with only 8 percent who believe that it has been too critical. More important, journalists seem to be acting on that belief. Amazing things have been happening lately. The usual suspects have tried to silence reporting about prison abuses by accusing critics of undermining the troops — but the reports keep coming. The attorney general has called yet another terror alert — but the press raised questions about why. (At a White House morning briefing, Terry Moran of ABC News actually said what many thought during other conveniently timed alerts: "There is a disturbing possibility that you are manipulating the American public in order to get a message out.") It may not last. In July 2002, according to Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — who has tried, at great risk to his career, to offer a realistic picture of the Bush presidency — "the White House press corps showed its teeth" for the first time since 9/11. It didn't last: the administration beat the drums of war, and most of the press relapsed into docility. But this time may be different. And if it is, Mr. Bush — who has always depended on that docility — may be in even more trouble than the latest polls suggest.
Meanwhile, to rally morale at the 101st Keyboarders Compound, Sean Hannity is forcing Alan Colmes to don a tutu (and JUST a tutu) climb a picnic table and entertain the stenographers, er, soldiers by singing in a terrified falsetto:
The sun on the meadow is summery warm The stag in the forest runs free But gathered together to greet the storm Tomorrow belongs to me Tomorrow belongs to me The branch on the linden is leafy and green The Rhine gives it's gold to the sea But somewhere a glory awaits unseen Tomorrow belongs to me Tomorrow belongs to me The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes The blossom embraces the bee But soon says the whisper, arise, arise Tomorrow belongs to me Tomorrow belongs to me Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign Your children have waited to see The morning will come when the world is mine Tomorrow belongs to me Tomorrow belongs to me
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