Monday, December 26, 2005

Too Rich For Me

And I am not talking about all the chocolate I have devoured in honor of this Christian holiday. Which by the way now has turned into Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day. Why is there a war against both of these honorable days (which happen to fall on the same day)? Hmm.

I must call Bill O'Reilly about this. Maybe next year he can do a long propaganda campaign on the wars against Boxing Day and St. Stephen's Day. But I digress, because of all the chocolate I have eaten.

The richness I started with has to do with all the possible evildoing of this administration. That is a strong word to use, "evildoing", but it's kosher because the administration uses it in exactly the same way as I plan to do here.

Like this: It appears that the president has a habit of calling journalists in to try to stop the publication of articles he doesn't like. Sometimes he is successful (like last year with the New York Times), sometimes he is not:

President Bush has been summoning newspaper editors lately in an effort to prevent publication of stories he considers damaging to national security.

The efforts have failed, but the rare White House sessions with the executive editors of The Washington Post and New York Times are an indication of how seriously the president takes the recent reporting that has raised questions about the administration's anti-terror tactics.

Leonard Downie Jr., The Post's executive editor, would not confirm the meeting with Bush before publishing reporter Dana Priest's Nov. 2 article disclosing the existence of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe used to interrogate terror suspects. Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, would not confirm that he, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman had an Oval Office sit-down with the president on Dec. 5, 11 days before reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed that Bush had authorized eavesdropping on Americans and others within the United States without court orders.

But the meetings were confirmed by sources who have been briefed on them but are not authorized to comment because both sides had agreed to keep the sessions off the record. The White House had no comment.

I have no comment, either. I am quite wordless.

But wait, there is more! It also appears that the administration has the habit of paying journalists who agree to write government propaganda without calling it that. I have posted on this before, of course, but I wanted to start this paragraph with that wonderful sentence I hear on the television all the time. In any case, the names here are virgin ones (on my blog, at least):

The admission by two columnists that they accepted payments from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff may be the tip of a large and rather dirty iceberg.

Copley News Service last week dropped Doug Bandow -- who also resigned as a Cato Institute scholar -- after he acknowledged taking as much as $2,000 a pop from Abramoff for up to two dozen columns favorable to the lobbyist's clients. "I am fully responsible and I won't play victim," Bandow said in a statement after Business Week broke the story. "Obviously, I regret stupidly calling to question my record of activism and writing that extends over 20 years. . . . For that I deeply apologize."

Peter Ferrara of the Institute for Policy Innovation has acknowledged taking payments years ago from a half-dozen lobbyists, including Abramoff. Two of his papers, the Washington Times and Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, have now dropped him. But Ferrara is unapologetic, saying: "There is nothing unethical about taking money from someone and writing an article."

"Nothing unethical about taking money from someone and writing an article." It must be nice to believe that if one is Mr. Ferrara. It guarantees sound sleep and peaceful thoughts.
Added: As Eric Jaffa points out in the comments, the journalists took money from a lobbyist, not from the administration, this time. The ethical problems are pretty much the same, though.