This video should be required viewing for the historical amnesiacs and revisionists who wistfully wander down paths of ignorance that lead to personal ruin and animus and hostility, but could be avoided with just a little perspective and reason. As usual, Bill Moyers supplies copious amounts of both.
“Little of what Allen West says ever surprises me. He’s called President Obama ‘a low-level socialist agitator,’ said anyone with an Obama bumper sticker on their car is ‘a threat to the gene pool,’ and told liberals like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to ‘get the hell out of the United States of America.’ Apparently he gets his talking points from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or Ted Nugent. But this time I shook my head in disbelief. Seventy-eight to 81 Democrats, members of the Communist Party?”
And don’t forget to help out Patrick Murphy’s campaign against West in Florida’s 18th district. Send a progressive Democrat to congress and send West packing (or more likely, to Fox News).
The Emmy nominations for News and Documentaries were released today by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. PBS scored the lion’s share with 41 nominations, including two more for Bill Moyers, who has won more than 30 Emmys already. CBS was a distant second with 23. One notable name missing from the list of honorees is the #1 cable news network in the country, Fox News. There are two principle reasons for the absence of Fox News.
First, Fox claims to have declined to participate because they believe that the Emmys are biased against them. That’s a rather piddling complaint that, more than anything, exposes their self-centered pettiness with an attitude that recalls a school child taking the ball and going home.
The more likely reason for their Emmy snub is that Fox is not actually a news network and, knowing this, they are acknowledging that nominations will not be forthcoming. I suspect that they are preparing to submit their programming for Emmys in the drama and, perhaps, comedy categories, where they have a better chance of being recognized. Of course then their other fictional fare, like “24” and “The Simpsons” will have to compete against the far more flagrant fiction produced by Fox News. Whatever will they do?
Well, we can expect Bill O’Reilly to issue a blistering condemnation of the Academy shortly. He did the same thing when the Peabodys snubbed him (again), despite honoring Moyers and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on multiple occasions. What does it say when a comedy network’s fake news programs receive more plaudits from their journalism “peers” than a network that pretends to be a bona fide news enterprise? And furthermore, what does it say about the viewers of a so-called news network that is held in such ill repute by other news professionals?
Amongst the Emmy hopefuls is David Barstow, the New York Times reporter who wrote Message Machine. This article, which has already won a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Press Club’s Golden Keyboard, described how the Pentagon in the Bush administration conspired to train and deploy former military personnel to spread propaganda in support of the war in Iraq. And if that weren’t bad enough, the program also permitted them to use their high profile media platform to enrich themselves and the defense contractors to whom they were attached.
Despite the acclaim the article has received, Barstow has still yet to be invited to tell this important story in any conventional media venue. The only in-depth broadcast interview was conducted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. This may be the most egregious example of a heralded, Pulitzer caliber investigation being so brazenly suppressed. The obvious explanation is that the media organizations that have actively blackballed the story are also the subjects of it. They are the news enterprises employing the compromised Pentagon Pundits, and they have a vested interest in preventing the truth from getting out.
Now that the report has been awarded another honor, will Barstow’s phone start to ring? Will the media pay attention to what may be the worst instance of propaganda executed by the U.S. government against its own people? At the very least, MSNBC has a special obligation to pursue this story. They have a contractual relationship with the New York Times, and their own John Harwood is a frequent guest on both MSNBC and CNBC. Why on earth wouldn’t the Times be lobbying to promote a story by their own Pulitzer award winning reporter who has now been nominated for an Emmy?
George W. Bush has presided over the most secrecy-obsessed administration in the history of the country. More documents have been classified than at any other time. White House officials have defied court orders to disclose data, calendars, and emails. They even claimed that the vice-president was not subject to Congressional demands for information from the White House because he was not a part of the executive branch of government.
Bill Moyers, in a superb speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the National Security Archive brilliantly articulated the urgency with which Bush pursued the suppression of public data:
“Bush and Cheney have made the Freedom of Information Act their number one target, more fervently pursued for elimination than Osama Bin Laden. No sooner had he come to office than George W. Bush set out to eviscerate both FOIA and the Presidential Records Act. He has been determined to protect his father’s secrets when the first Bush was Vice President and then President – as well as his own. Call it Bush Omerta.”
The end may finally be in sight to the seven-year battle historians and archivists have waged to overturn President Bush’s Executive Order 13233 of November 2001 that restricted access to presidential records. On January 7, 2009, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 35, the “Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2009,” by an overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote of 359-58.
The bill offered by Edolphus Towns (D-NY) has now been sent to Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security Committee in the Senate where it is expected to be welcomed and passed. Previous versions of this legislation were held up by Senate Republicans and threatened with a Bush veto. At this time, such opposition is not given much credence as the bill could likely muster 60 votes to achieve cloture and President-elect Barack Obama appears to be supportive. While not explicitly citing Bush’s Executive Order, Obama’s ethics agenda includes this statement:
Release Presidential Records: Obama and Biden will nullify attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.
The National Coalition for History, a non-profit educational project hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, has composed a detailed description of the bill’s provisions. Here is a summary:
Overturn Bush Executive Order 13233
Establish a Deadline for Review of Records
Limit the Authority of Former Presidents to Withhold Presidential Records
Require the President to Make Privilege Claims Personally
Eliminate Executive Privilege Claims for Vice Presidents
Deny Access to Anyone Convicted of a Crime Relating to the Archives
Passage of this bill would mark a profound step back from Bush’s attempts to conceal the crimes and corruption of his office. Joseph Wheelan, of George Mason University’s History News Network, expressed the very real risks of allowing the Bush Doctrine of Secrecy to endure:
“Executive Order 13233 portends a day when spin, the currency of politics, may become the province, too, of presidential history. One can envision a future when a presidential library’s watchdogs would allow only ‘safe’ historians to sift through the library’s holdings for material to cook up a bracingly whitewashed version of his subject’s actions. Objective historians, denied access to the panegyrist’s primary sources and all the juicy details, would be placed at a severe disadvantage. Which version do you think would get the seven-figure publishing advance and the lavish promotional campaign?”
Rep. Towns, and his colleagues in the House, have done a great service to the country with the passage of this bill. In a comment to the press, Towns said:
“President Bush’s executive order created an imbalanced and restrictive process. The Presidential Records Act preserves the important intent of the original post-Watergate law, which was to assure timely accessibility and preservation of official White House records for historical and, if necessary, legal purposes.”
The emphasis added at the end of that quote was mine, because of the hope it implies that justice can still be achieved, that the criminality of the outgoing administration does not go unpunished, and that their unconstitutional behavior is not set as a precedent.
I have long advocated that Executive Order 13233 be rescinded by the next Democratic president. Now Obama has the chance to do that with the added force of law behind it. I expect that he will gladly follow through, but first it has to get out of the senate and onto his desk. This would be good time to contact your senators and request that they support this bill.
Little Billy O’Reilly is poor loser (or just a loser, period). The delusional narcissism that prompted him to falsely claim that he had won two Peabody awards a few years ago has swelled to consume an ever greater portion of his diseased ego. For the record, O’Reilly has won precisely zero Peabody’s. He later claimed that he meant Polk Awards, but he never won of those either. Inside Edition, which O’Reilly hosted for a spell, did win a Polk Award, but that was two years after O’Reilly had left the program.
A few weeks ago, the most recent collection of Peabody honorees were announced and O’Reilly was, of course, not on the list. Why would he be? The purpose of the Peabody’s are to…
“…recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web.”
Nope. Nothing in there describes Bill O’Reilly. So, consistent with the nature of his personality disorder, he is now striking back at the offending academics who fail to recognize his superiority.
The envy is so thick it could be smeared with a loofah. O’Reilly has used his “Reality Check” segment to advance his fantasies. He no doubt gets great pleasure from disparaging his nemesis, Bill Moyers, who has won ten Peabodys. But he goes further in attempting to discredit the entire enterprise by asserting that it is a bastion of liberalism. Unfortunately, O’Reilly just ends up providing more evidence for why he is unqualified for this award.
In labeling the program’s director, and nine other board members, as liberals (he says two are conservative), O’Reilly offers no evidence for the claim. However he does mangle the facts related to the board’s composition. There are sixteen members, not twelve, as O’Reilly says.
Now we can add the Peabodys to the growing list of O’Reilly’s enemies: Al Franken, Keith Olbermann, NBC, MSNBC, GE, Jeff Immelt, Newsweek, San Francisco, DailyKos, CNN, Paul Krugman, Brian De Palma, Cindy Sheehan, Ludacris, Howard Dean, Ariana Huffington, Dumbledore, plus those inducted to his fearsome Hall of Shame.
What must really hurt is that amongst the winners this year was an upstart from Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert. So the guy who plays a character mocking O’Reilly is honored with the most prestigious award in journalism, and O’Reilly is reduced to mocking the institution:
“”[W]e’re sure the judging is fair and balanced. Party on, Peabody guys.”
The irrepressibly corrupt Kenneth Tomlinson has informed the White House that he will not seek renomination as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).
This is the same Kenneth Tomlinson that “improperly used his office, putting a friend on the payroll and running a “horse-racing operation” with government resources.”
This is the same Kenneth Tomlinson that presided over the Voice of America as it closed its Baghdad bureau because they could not retain journalists to staff it.
This is the same Kenneth Tomlinson who sheepishly resigned as chair of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting in advance of a report that found that he violated the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
This is the same Kenneth Tomlinson that paid $15,000 in payments to two Republican lobbyists that were not disclosed to the Corporation’s board.
This is the same Kenneth Tomlinson that had taken overtly partisan steps to remake the CPB as a publicly financed Fox News – hiring Tucker Carlson and Paul Gigot and recruiting a former co-chairman of the Republican National Committee as president of PBS.
This is the same Kenneth Tomlinson engaged in ethically-questionable tactics to discredit Bill Moyers, former host of PBS’ Now.
Now this same Kenneth Tomlinson is jumping ship rather than face the newly elected Democratic majority in the senate that would be unlikely to reconfirm him anyway. And in his message to the President, in a pique of denial and self-righteousness, he declares:
“I have concluded that it would be far more constructive to write a book on my experiences rather than to seek to continue government service. Accordingly, I ask that you nominate another person to serve as chairman of this board.”
I think we can expect that his book will reveal that he was a victim of the secular progressive cabal that his hero Bill O’Reilly rails against. We can expect that he will deny any wrongdoing and that he only tried to serve his country. Nevermind all the evidence against him, we can expect to learn that it was actually another scoundrel that was responsible for these misdeeds (probably Bill Clinton).
In short we can expect that the book will reveal the very same Kenneth Tomlinson. An alligator doesn’t change its scales.