Gwen Ifill to vastleft, a million dead Iraqis, 4113 dead Americans, and our children who owe $3T: "Fuck off!"
Many people believe the press failed to do its job in the run up to the Iraq war. Has Beltway reporting changed as a result?
I am not sure what you mean by "Beltway reporting."
Do you mean the New York Times reporting that exposed the Justice Department's wireless wiretapping?
The Washington Post reporting that exposed the poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center?
Or do you mean the reporting done by Pentagon reporters from the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan?
I continue to maintain that, on balance, reporters tell us more than we would otherwise know, and that the breadth and importance of the stories we break, easily outnumber the ones we miss.
Gwen, thank heavens the media didn't give us more than a few scraps of honest reporting during the run-up to the war! Otherwise, those Pentagon reporters wouldn't have been able to file all that historic Iraq War correspondence (no war = no new Stone Phillipses)! There wouldn't be all those kids with their faces and limbs blown off to add color and heft to your Walter Reed reporting (empty hospital beds = no story)! And if it weren't for the debased media coverage of the Clinton years and 2000 campaign, we wouldn't have had the heroic president who ordered that "wireless wiretapping" (damn you, 802.11g)!
Please forgive me for undervaluing your profession's Serious work: reporting on the damage it's been so instrumental in facilitating!
No doubt you covered many stories broader and more important than the lies and corruption that have pushed our nation to the brink of ruin — with a Constitution in tatters and an economy spiraling out of control — and into the role of a pariah state whose baseless preemptive war destabilized the most volatile part of our planet. And you helped install an incompetent and valueless president and vice president dripping in petroleum while the global environment was ravaged, perhaps beyond repair.
Oh, and God bless you all for protecting America from a candidate with an unacceptably expensive haircut. Thanks to y'all, we dodged a bullet on that one, eh? And probably without a well-earned word of thanks from an ungrateful public.
I'm sorry I asked you such a trivial and wrongheaded question. If I can get a mulligan, please try this one instead: "What was it like tossing back PBRs with Tim Russert?" Inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks to Paul in comments for reminding me that the question PBS attributes to me is not the question I asked.
My actual question was as follows:
The media all-but-unanimously pronounced Colin Powell's fact-challenged Feb. 2003 UN presentation "compelling."
As a direct result, the public supported a disastrous and unnecessary war.
What has changed in Beltway reporting as a result of this deadly fiasco?
If this doesn't show the power of the media, I don't know what does. When I saw the post with Gwen's reply, I wondered for a moment why I'd phrased the question in such a bloodless way. I shrugged and assumed I must have been bending over backwards to "play nice."
They actually convinced me that I'd said something in a way that I hadn't said at all! Unfucking believable.
Who, I wonder, rewrote my question? Who had the balls to strip my question of its context and urgency? To deliberately misquote me to keep the Fourth Estate's Oh-So-Serious Mellow unharshed!?
Or did Gwen rewrite it, so she could take a T-ball swat, shooting toy-derringer blanks about "wireless wiretapping"?
It's verifiably true: The Village is a sac of pus waiting to burst.
Luckily for them, my tone here (though not in my politely written original question, and certainly not in the castrated counterfeit they posted) is "uncivil." This post includes words like "fuck" and "balls." So, clearly, Gwen and her noble industry are on the high road, by greasing the skids for the total debasement of everything America used to stand for (or might have), and enjoying tasty BBQ at John McCain's house, while DFHs like me ruin everything with our petty insistence on truth and integrity and our tiresome concern about the lives and treasure squandered when the most powerful country on earth operates without the barest degree of oversight, despite the billions of dollars spent (and made!) on creating the illusion of news coverage.
In any case, I appreciate that the post was titled "Five Good Answers from Gwen Ifill." I had mistakenly thought otherwise, so it's helpful to know that her answers were, in fact, "good."
Here's what I wrote to PBS's ombudsman...
Dear ombudsman, please ombuds:
Pardon the lack of civility in the linked post. I’m not very happy with the quality of news media we have in this country at present, and I’m particularly not very happy to have words put in my mouth on the PBS website and to receive an incredibly snotty and ill-considered response to a sincere and important question.
Perhaps next time Ms. Ifill thinks about smacking down a concerned citizen with the high-handed pretense that she has no idea what s/he’s talking about regarding the biggest (missed) story in the history of American journalism, she might instead consider watching this fine PBS program:
Thank you in advance for your attention re: this matter.