Monday, September 13, 2004
( 4:38 PM )
What Nobody's Talking About
With regard to the 9/11 Commission Report - the media is happily ignoring the very harsh findings in there about what went wrong in the year leading up to 9/11. Elizabeth Drew discusses these things in depth in her review of the report. I urge you to read it. What is most disturbing are the constant road blocks the Bush administration put in the way of truth.
The administration fought the commission at nearly every turn—at first denying it sufficient funds, then opposing an extension of time, refusing it documents, trying to prevent Condoleezza Rice from testifying in public. The White House, in a preemptive move, told the commission that Bush would not testify under oath, and insisted that he appear along with Vice President Cheney. The main partisan division within the commission, I was told, was over how hard to press the White House for information that it was holding back. In its effort to achieve a unanimous, bipartisan report, the commission decided not to assign "individual blame" and avoided overt criticism of the President himself. Still, the report is a powerful indictment of the Bush administration for its behavior before and after the attacks of September 11.
In an attempt to discredit the commission, the White House charged that some of its Democratic members were "partisan," a view some Bush officials expressed in interviews with an obviously phony show of sorrow. "Partisan" meant that certain commissioners, in particular Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democrat and a skilled trial attorney, asked tough questions—as if somehow tough questions weren't in order. Some Republican commissioners—in particular Jim Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman—in appearances on television or in the commission's deliberations, sometimes seemed to be doing the White House's bidding, repeating some of its "talking points." But in the end they didn't attempt to block damning information about the Bush administration's performance from appearing in the final report.
The media found it convenient not to question the rush to war, and now it finds it convenient not to question what led to 9/11 and what is being done about it (nothing). I wonder exactly how the media views itself? Do they have any sense of purpose anymore?