Political Theater on Immigration

Josh Marshall has been all over the immigration dishonesty from the get-go. Ron Brownstein's piece is terrific, but unless I'm mistaken the key new nugget is what Jonathan Singer picked up, that the hard-line immigrants-as-felons piece which ended up in the Sensenbrenner legislation came from the White House.

This is remarkable, since it suggests that the 'debate', which just exploded on queue, was orchestrated by a political apparatus playing both sides of the fence simply for dramatic effect.  Now, this could simply be a case where the administration had internal debates and both sides were represented, and as I don't have sources inside the White House, I don't know what really happened there. But I'd sure be mad if I were a reporter covering the issue.  Talk about a loss of credibility; not only will the administration lie for partisan purposes, but it will engage in multi-layered deceptions to play out political theater designed to generate wedge issues.  What contempt for the press, and the public.

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Hersh, Fisk, Other Journalists Discuss Iraq

[Cross-posted from Blue Mass. Group] An interesting panel today at Columbia University by four war correspondents: Seymour Hersh, a regular contributor to The New Yorker; Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for British newspaper The Independent; John Pilger, who has twice won British journalism's highest award, "Journalist of the Year;" and Charles Glass, ABC News chief Middle East correspondent from 1983-1993, and current freelance reporter. The panel was hosted by U.S. history professor Eric Foner. The general subject was War Reporting; Iraq was the primary focus. Some highlights:

  • Fiske: "Iraq is a disaster and don't believe anyone who tells you differently." He lamented "hotel journalism:" reporters who file their reports from the Green Zone -- although he acknowledged the danger to correspondents. "When we go to the mortuary we reckon we have 20 minutes before someone with a mobile telephone comes by and there is a carload of gunmen. The New York Times reporters live in a compound guarded by a stockade with towers," he said. However, he added, the U.S. and British authorities, "like it this way. They do not want reporters going to the morgues and counting dead people." He said Coalition regulations prevent morgue officials from showing computer records to journalists. He said he did get access to a morgue computer system last summer: the system showed 1,100 dead in Baghdad alone in that month. He suggested a deal may have been made between Syria and the U.S.: less focus on the murder of Hariri in return for more cooperation on Iraq.

  • Hersch: Said we have a "Messianic President" who considers himself above politics. "And he's not done." Is there any good news? "There are 1,011 days in the reign of King George the Lesser. The good news is there is one less day tomorrow. That's the only good news." On Iran: "With George Bush what you see is what you get. He's probably going to do it. There are people in the White House who are scared to death about this guy." He did tip his hat to Patrick Fitzgerald. "The Special Prosecutor seems like a pretty straight guy."

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    We need MORE independent video!

    I feel like there is a lot of good things going on these days, alot of grassroots organizing, alot success stories. But how do we get these success stories told? How do we make sure more people know the positive things that are happening.  After all I think cyncism and apathy are our real enemies.

    I think independent media orgs are doing a great job, but we need to reach a larger audience, so that people know there is hope, that there is an alternative. I think we need to take advantage of video as a mass media on the internet.

    Check out these online independent news videos

    And there is also a Free "Video Alert Service".
    http://www.coanews.org/lists/index.php?p =subscribe Once a week, email subscribers get the latest news videos for a diverse group of independent media outlets (democracyNow!, G Channel et and FreeSpeech!..) sent to their inbox.

    You can sign up for free email video alerts here:
    http://www.coanews.org/lists/index.php?p =subscribe

    But again; how can we reach more people with this media?

    I think that independent media orgs, need to focus more on video (like Freespeech does), but beyond that we need to find a way to disseminate them to a larger audience.  

    Online video is taking off right now, and we need to position ourselves so that independent media is an established and accessible part of the landscape.  Corporate media outlets, and advertising agencies, are drumping boatloads of money to ensure they are established online video distributors, while also trying to narrow the range of video available.

    We need to raise funds (more people donating, and becoming members of indy media orgs)for independent media so they can compete.  Perhaps indy media orgs could have citizen coalition groups to take an active role in rallying people to raise funds.  I believe PBS and NPR have groups like this, so why can't we do the same.
    -maybe a trust or fund controlled by citzens?

    -but we also need a grassroot movment to help disseminate their content, and keep the internet open.  Part of this is simply using any way possible to promote the online video that is produced by indy meida orgs - use your website, blogs, email lists, classes, workers groups etc...

    There is no time to waste

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    Wall of Shame: Fred Hiatt can't figure out Democrats.

    Fred Hiatt can't make up his mind about the Democrats. First, he says that the Democrats are soft on national security and would cut and run from Iraq at the first opportunity. This was back in November. But now, he has turned around and written another piece in tomorrow's Post saying that all the Democrats want to do is build more weapons than the President ever would have dreamed of building.

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    The war on the media

    Recognizing that the war in Iraq is an abject failure, the Bush administration has decided to take on a more manageable opponent: The media. Because, you see, the Helen Thomases of the world are a far greater threat to our troops in Iraq than, say, roadside bombs. Or an all-out civil war with no exit strategy.

    President Bush, his surrogates and a willing right-wing chattering class are now fighting the only war they're ready and willing to fight - a war of ideas. Because, as you know, when the chips were down and these Republicans were asked to take up arms to defend their country, they made excuses and let others do the fighting. Sound familiar?

    But the right is at a distinct disadvantage in this war of ideas, too. Though they blame the media for not reporting the good news from Iraq, they miss the obvious: The facts don't lie. Not only that, but Americans are also starting to wake up to that realization. So Republicans can step up the heated rhetoric all they want, but nothing is getting in the way of the truth.

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