Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Will the Media Fully Examine the Rove Case? Don't Hold Your Breath


From time to time, in the news media business, there will emerge a story that journalists will say "has legs."

A story with "legs" tends to completely dominate our nation's public discourse for months at a time. More often than not, by the time the story has run its course, virtually every American will be sick and tired of the topic. (Recall the O.J. Simpson case).

A good example of a story with legs was the Monica Lewinsky story. This is a story that got "above the fold," saturation, round-the-clock coverage for 18 seemingly never-ending months. The media obviously believed it was a major story with legs (although the American public obviously disagreed---Clinton enjoyed strong approval ratings in the high 60s, even at the height of the "crisis").

By the time this story wound down, virtually everyone in America was long since tired of the topic. (It's interesting, because the media has long claimed that it serves up news stories that "the public wants." And yet, who, outside of a few right-wing partisan hacks really wanted to read about the Monica Lewinsky story day after monotonous day for a year and a half?)

Progressives these days are no doubt wondering if the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame story will have legs. Will the mainstream media continue to pursue this story, day in and day out, and give it the coverage that it deserves?

I think this story, as important as it is, will fizzle out soon, as the mainstream media looks elsewhere for its "flavor of the month" news cycle fix. No doubt, the next time an attractive white woman winds up in peril somewhere, the media will latch onto that story and drop the Rove story.

The fact is, the media has given the Bush White House a free pass on everything for the past five years and I don't expect the Rove case to be any different.

The media's agenda these days is pretty much dictated by the right-wing's powerful noise machine, which pretty much obliterates any real dialogue on the issues that impact the lives of ordinary working Americans.

The corporate media would have us believe on most days that the most important issue in our society right now is the plight of yet another attractive young white woman in distress somewhere. (Never mind that a similar story involving say, a frumpy middle-aged black woman, would never be similarly regarded as national news).

And meanwhile, hugely critical stories impacting the lives of every American receive virtually zero coverage in our nation's media. To name but three examples:

1. The U.S. has gigantic and growing, unprecedented trade and fiscal deficits that a growing number of economic commentators say imperil our nation and threaten to implode the value of the dollar: a massively urgent story that critically impacts the lives of every single American.

2. The U.S. is currently experiencing a rapidly growing divide between rich and poor that is unprecedented in world history. This astonishing polarization of the classes (which began around 1980 and is rapidly picking up steam today) has been completely ignored by the media.

3. The U.S. public schools system is in what can only be described as a major crisis. The U.S. school system as a whole is in fact the worst in the industrialized world. It's hard to imagine a story that has a greater impact on America's future.

The above are merely three major stories that the media neglects; there are many others.

I'm willing to admit, in the overall scale of things, the Rove story might not be that important compared to say, America's titanic fiscal deficits, or America's worst-in-the-industrialized-world school system. But it'd be nice to see the media (for once) not give the Bush White House yet another free pass.

I mean, this is the same media that never gave Clinton a pass on anything (even if it was a non-story that was pitched to the media by Clinton's enemies).

Thus, we got massive, saturation coverage on "stories" like the time Clinton supposedly held up air traffic so that he could get a haircut. That story got weeks of heavy coverage (and it was only later that it emerged that the incident, in fact, never happened at all, as the FAA later confirmed).

Virtually every critical story that ever appeared on Clinton, in fact, turned out to have no basis in reality. And yet, to this day, many Republicans are convinced that the most bizarre, outlandish tales about Clinton are true: that he had people murdered in Arkansas; that he had a hand in the death of Vince Foster; that he had a chance to capture Bin Laden and instead let him "get away."

Therefore it's quite frustrating for progressives these days to watch as Bush escapes responsibility for anything he's ever done, simply because the media refuses to hold him accountable for anything. Bush can lie through his teeth all day and he confidently and arrogantly knows he'll get away with it, because the media will never have the balls to challenge him.

So if you waiting for the media to fully examine the Rove/Plame case, and to tell the American people the truth about this story, don't hold your breath.


Anonymous said...

You must be blind, crippled, or crazy. The media is in a frenzy. Did you not see the McClellan press conference.

Anonymous said...

This story is getting some attention at the moment. But the whole point of my piece was to suggest that perhaps this story will fade from the headlines and fail to develop "legs," as the media fails to follow through and fully examine this case. In the end, I expect Bush to get yet another free pass in this case. Time will determine whether I'm correct.

Claude Chaney & Friends said...

Everyone at one time or another tells a lie, you, me and even President George W. Bush. It would unfair for me to criticize George W Bush or any member of his administration for lying because he/they told a lie, or two, or ninety-seven or eight thousand because at one time or another everyone tells a lie. The difference between the lies that George Bush and company tell and those of others is that George Bush's lies have led to over 1750 US deaths and possibly 10,000 or more Iraqi deaths. I would like to have as many of those lies together at one place on one page. That is why I am sending out this urgent plea for you the public to send me copies of what you know to be an untruth told by George W. Bush. Due to the high frequency of lies told by the Bush administration I am going to need all the help I can get because I realize there may be hundreds possible thousands of lies that I may not be aware of. I emphasize that I would like to have not only George Bush's lies but also lies from other members of the past two Bush administrations, lies from Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld, George McClelland etc. Send as many lies as you can via e-mail to This is an example of what I am looking for. Suppose we were doing this for the administration of King George the first. LIE: "Read My Lips......There will be NO new taxes" I will be taking all Bush Administration lies until September 24, 2005 (the day of the world-wide anti-war demonstations). All lies received will be published on this site. Please stop whatever you are doing and send me an authentic Bush Administration lie right now. This is an activity that would take less than a minute to complete. DO IT NOW WHILE IT IS STILL ON YOUR MIND! It could be a whopper like the "Saddam Huessein is harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction" or it could be one of the minor lies that didn't result in people being killed. I feel that this is the least I can do for my country and for posterity. Future generations need to know that George W. Bush was a LIAR and so were many others in his administration. Remember I promise to publish all the lies without preference and without regard to the size of the lie. A Paul Wolfowitz lie will be treated with the same blatant contempt as a Karl Rove lie. I promise not to play favorites. Your immediate action towards this urgent matter will be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Claude Chaney, July 18, 2005