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Friday, June 17, 2005

Right to the heart of the matter 

CBC had a good story on tonights news summarizing the Downing Street Memos and covering today's Washington hearings. As is usual with the CBC, the story was an excellent summary about what is happening and why people should care. Here's the led: "Senior Democrats are calling for a full investigation into a memo that appears to accuse U.S. President George W. Bush of misleading Americans into backing the war with Iraq. Bush has always maintained that "the use of force has been and remains our last resort." But the memo, called the Downing Street Memo, could be the first documentary proof that Bush deceived the American people."
There -- does everyone get it now?
Joe Conason does. In Salon today, he briskly dispatches any lingering media excuses for not covering the Downing Street Memos, in A press coverup: "How foolish and how sad that all these distinguished journalists prefer to transform this scandal into a debate about their own underachieving performance, rather than redeem mainstream journalism by advancing an important story that they should have pursued from the beginning . . . they are proving once more that their first priority is to cover their own behinds. "
Then he proceeds to briskly dispatch any lingering public belief that the DSMs are not newsworthy: "Deciding what constitutes news is a subjective exercise, of course, with all the uncertainty that implies. Yet there are several obvious guidelines to keep in mind . . . a classified document recording deliberations by the highest officials of our most important ally over the decision to wage war is always news. A document that shows those officials believed the justification for war was "thin" and that the intelligence was being "fixed" is always news. A document that indicates the president was misleading the world about his determination to wage war only as a last resort is always news. And when such a document is leaked, whatever editors, reporters and producers may think "everyone" already knows or believes about its contents emphatically does not affect whether that piece of paper is news."
And he ends with a brisk summary of all of the columns and editorials and opeds which appeared across the US in the months before the Iraq War, which yap-yap-yapped about how poor widdle hard-working Bush was trying with all his might to avoid going to war.

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