Water Man Spouts

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Preview of September Lies

Did you find yourself wondering why the media pretended that President Bush was making a rational point with his attempts to justify the US war of occupation in Iraq by comparing it to what didn’t happen in Vietnam? Did you wonder why Ari Fleischer’s commercial that used images of 9-11 to justify the continued war of occupation in Iraq went largely unchallenged?

Do journalists believe that honest men rely upon outright lies in a search for truth? Or is it possible that many journalists are willing participants in the swift-boating of the truth? Let’s take a look back at the historic example of a man named Bob Novak, and see if we can find any evidence of how some journalists assist in "perception management," which is a fancy term for manipulating the news.

Perhaps we should start with a memorandum authored by Bob Haldeman on February 10, 1973. Bob outlined his thoughts on trying to connect "Communist money that was used in support of demonstrations against the President in 1972" to the democratic party. He advocated saying it "leads directly to McGovern and Teddy Kennedy. This is a good counter offensive to be developed …."

But the honorable Bob Haldeman wasn’t about to stop with a lie alone. He wanted to include a smear against a democratic public official in Fort Wayne, who was rumored to have fathered an illegitimate child: "There’s also the question of whether we should let out the Fort Wayne story now – that we ran a clean campaign compared to theirs of libel and slander and such against Rebozo, etc. We could let Evans and Novak put it out and then be asked about it to make the point that we knew and the President said it was not to be used under any circumstance."

Why did the Nixon administration think that esteemed journalists like Evans and Novak would cooperate in such dishonest activities? Perhaps the answer is found on page 287 of the Senate Watergate Report: "In December 1971, (Herbert) Porter sent a transcript of one of the filmed documents from Muskie headquarters to Magruder. ….Magruder asked Porter to have the transcript retyped on plain bond stationary and sent to Evans and Novak. Porter did so. Evans and Novak printed it, and the hearings were never held."

Or, we might want to consider page 667 of the Senate Watergate Report: "Nevertheless, Buchanan concluded that the Ellsberg issue would not ‘be turned around in the public mind by a few well-placed leaks.’ Lest there be any doubt about his position, he then stated, ‘This is not to argue that the effort is not worthwhile – but that simply we ought not now to start investing major personnel resources in the kind of covert operation not likely to yield any major political dividends to the President.’

"No legal or moral problems for Buchanan; just an objection to the management end of it.

"Mr. Buchanan also testified, as to documents surrepititiously taken from the Muskie campaign and photographed by ‘Fat Jack.’ Buchanan testified that he ‘did get the material on two occasions, and (he) did recommend that it be sent to columnists Evans and Novak. Evans and Novak did print, on two occasions, I believe, material from Muskie’s campaign.’ Here again was a high official, using the credibility of the White House, to peddle wrongfully obtained confidential information."

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Is this the same Bob Novak that we know and love? Are there two Patrick Buchanans? Sad to say, there are more than two Pat Buchanans and Bob Novaks engaged in perception management today. And they are increasing the efforts to mislead the American public about the state of affairs in Iraq.

Will the democrats in Washington DC confront these lies?


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