Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

“Most secretive”

with one comment

A commenter who has decided to quit the blog once was quite scathing (in the comments to this post) to my point about the incredible secrecy practiced by the Bush Administration, so different from the Clinton Administration, which was quite open and frequently allowed advisers and other Administration officials to be questioned by Congress. He basically didn’t buy it.

But Bill Keller, in a lecture in London, had some remarks on this point:

My assignment tonight is to talk about the state of newspapers in America. No doubt you have read that newspapers, at least in my country, are beleaguered. That is undeniable. Let me count the ways.

To begin with, we have endured nearly seven years of the most press-phobic government in a couple of generations. I don’t intend to blame the plight of the newspaper business on George Bush. He did not invent our great disrupter, the internet. (That, you recall, was Al Gore.) The Bush administration has merely fed a current of public antipathy that has been running against us for a long time, a consequence of our own failings and, perhaps, a tendency to blame the messenger when news is bad. But Mr Bush has contributed to that unwelcoming environment in at least two significant ways.

First, he has rejected out of hand the quaint idea of our founders that the press has a constructive role to play in American society, and that this role consists in supplying citizens with the information to judge whether they are being well served by their government. The Bush administration believes that information is power, and that like most other forms of power it is not to be shared with those the regime does not trust. It most decidedly does not trust us.

Whatever you think of its policies, the current administration has been more secretive, more mistrustful of an inquisitive press, than any since the Nixon administration. It has treated freedom of information requests with contempt, asserted sweeping claims of executive privilege, even reclassified material that had been declassified. The administration has subsidised propaganda at home and abroad, refined the art of spin, discouraged dissent, and sought to limit traditional congressional oversight and court review. The war in Iraq alone is a case study of the administration’s determination to dominate the flow of information – from the original cherry-picking of intelligence, to the deliberate refusal to hear senior military officers when they warned of the potential for chaos, to the continually inflated claims about the progress in building up an indigenous Iraqi army.

Much more at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

30 November 2007 at 2:40 pm

One Response

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  1. The light at the end of the tunnel is that we have a little more than a year to endure one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time, which I consider to be the Bush “presidency”. I put this in quotes because no one can say that he “presided”. It has been 8 years of pure Hell to view the daily consequences of ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and irrationality.
    My other hope is the Internet itself, that through blogs such as this and interaction with others the American electorate becomes more educated and enlightened, and that we never go through a similar period in American history again. Go Democrats – or Ron Paul!



    30 November 2007 at 3:39 pm

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