Sunday, October 17, 2004

SUCH is the power of movies that the first image "Watergate" brings to mind three decades later is not Richard Nixon so much as the golden duo of Redford and Hoffman riding to the nation's rescue in "All the President's Men." But if our current presidency is now showing symptoms of a precancerous Watergate syndrome - as it is, daily - we have not yet reached that denouement immortalized by Hollywood, in which our scrappy heroes finally bring Nixon to heel in his second term. No, we're back instead in the earlier reels of his first term, before the criminality of the Watergate break-in, when no one had heard of Woodward and Bernstein. Back then an arrogant and secretive White House, furious at the bad press fueled by an unpopular and mismanaged war, was still flying high as it kneecapped with impunity any reporter or news organization that challenged its tightly enforced message of victory at hand.

..."The fundamental right of Americans, through our free press, to penetrate and criticize the workings of our government is under attack as never before," wrote William Safire last month. When an alumnus of the Nixon White House says our free press is being attacked as "never before," you listen...

Interesting article in the NY Times about media companies folding over in an attempt to not incur the wrath of Jr. & The Big Chair Players. None of this is new news or surprising news, but it's a good attempt to pull it all together into something easy to see. Essentially, any news source that critizizes the White House finds itself on the wrong end of Justice Dept. & FCC legal guns, and any source that lauds the Reps, or at least trashes the Dems, gets to operate in an utterly unmolested fashion.

Again, it's not anything you don't already know about, if you've been paying the slightest attention, but it's an awfully nice summation.

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