Friday, March 05, 2010

Wolf Blitzer Gives Credence to Cheney and Kristol's Smears.

The recent campaign by Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol to question the loyalty of lawyers who have defended persons accused of terrorism is about as repulsive a smear campaign as it is possible to imagine.

When it was revealed yesterday that the Bush administration had also hired lawyers who had formerly defended persons accused of such crimes one would have thought that this might bring an end to this kind of foul McCarthyism.

But, as Glenn Greenwald amply illustrates, these unfounded accusations are simply being parroted by the mainstream media.

The last thing I would ordinarily do is watch a Wolf Blitzer broadcast, but I knew that this was going to be a heinously illustrative episode in modern political journalism -- at best the vile McCarthyite campaign was going to be presented in the standard "each-side-says" format which defines modern journalistic "objectivity" -- but it was far worse than even I expected. Blitzer first teased the segment as this on-screen logo appeared, taken directly from the Cheney/Kristol ad: "HAPPENING NOW: DEPT. OF JIHAD?"

The next time he teased the story, CNN flashed this logo -- "Al Qaeda 7?" -- also taken directly from the Cheney/Kristol ad, as Blitzer explained that numerous Justice Department lawyers have been -- as he put it -- "accused of disloyalty" by a national security organization headed by Liz Cheney. The final Blitzer tease came as these words were flashed on the screen: "Are Justice Dept. lawyers disloyal?"

The story itself began when Blitzer posed this question: "Should there be a loyalty test over at the Justice Department?" He then introduced CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve, who -- echoing Liz Cheney -- introduced her segment by asking about the Obama DOJ: "Should it really be called the Department of Jihad"?

It's beyond disgraceful that these disgusting smears should be treated in this way by the MSM.

As Atrios put it: "right wing lunatics can still push anything into the puke funnel."

Not only can they push it in, but they can rely on "journalists" like Wolf Blitzer to treat this rubbish as an "intense debate" and then discuss it as if it has genuine merit.

Again, Glenn Greenwald:
Edward R. Murrow led the media attack on the McCarthyism of the 1950s. Wolf Blitzer plays mindless, amiable, neutral, amplifying host to identical smear campaigns of today. That collapse says all one needs to know about much of modern establishment political journalism in the United States.
It really is shocking that no matter how disgracefully Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol seek to question the loyalty of lawyers who were simply doing their jobs, there will still be people in the media who, rather than remind Cheney and Kristol that John Adams famously represented the British soldiers who took part in the Boston massacre, instead choose to repeat their foul accusations as if they have merit.

So much for the infamous "Liberal media" that we keep hearing about...


On this radio show Liz Cheney claims that the ad "doesn't question anybody's loyalty."

However, the advert actually asks of the lawyers, "whose values do they share?" and labels them the "al Qaeda 7" whilst referring to Eric Holder's office as "The department of Jihad".

If that's not questioning their loyalty then I don't really know what the point of the advert is, or why it is so important that the names of these people be revealed.

And, from the questions which the ad prompted from Wolf Blitzer - "Are Justice Dept. lawyers disloyal?" - it would appear that this was certainly the reading that he took from the ad.

My disappointment with Blitzer was that he repeated these smears rather than challenge them, but he was quite right in his reading of what the ad was implying.

Click here for Greenwald's full article.

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