Thursday, January 8, 2009

Time Magazine or the National Inquirer?

For some reason, "Yellow Journalism" tends to be a term consigned to historical discussions of the news media and it is rarely used in a post-1960 context. That's really too bad, because 24 hour coverage, intense competition and the lowering of journalistic standards have created the perfect environment for Yellow Journalism. One only has to see the latest issue of Time magazine which features an article entitled "The Bush Administration's Most Despicable Act."

In a way, the article is the same old same old. The Bush administration has committed "war crimes" and we should all be positively frightened by the fact that he might grant a super-duper-preemptive-blanket-Nixonian-Rove inspired (and, of course, unprecedented) pardon. True to the template, the piece says not a word about key Democratic leaders (including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) who have confessed to having full knowledge of these "war crimes" and are guilty of having given them tacit approval all along the way ... until an election came along, that is.

But the original slander/doomsday scenario was simply not shocking enough for those who have a taste for such. Boredom comes easy when looking at thin clouds. So, a more spectacular scenario had to be devised. Bush resigns from the presidency on January 19th and Dick Cheney is sworn in. Cheney then pardons Bush (and himself? because Bush is too afraid to do that?) and everyone who has anything to do with these "war crimes." Of course, the new version also fails to mention Democratic leadership. A well-respected presidential scholar recently described this new scenario sarcastically, as "science fiction."

Now, the final days of the term approach. No one has anything like a compelling reason to expect that Bush will grant these "despicable" pardons. The choir is bored. It is time to ramp up the fantasy. To the rescue is Joe Klein of Time, who writes, in part:
If Barack Obama really wanted to be cagey, he could pardon Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld for the possible commission of war crimes. Then they'd have to live with official acknowledgment of their ignominy in perpetuity.
Anyone who was critical of those who suggested Bush should have pardoned Bill Clinton can now send out the apologies. See Time's yellow journalism here.


Bob Fertik said...

Every definition of war crimes includes torture. Waterboarding is universally recognized as torture.

Cheney admits he authorized waterboarding. He therefore authorized torture, even if *he* doesn't consider it torture. That makes him a war criminal, even if *he* doesn't consider himself one.

Of course he's not alone - anyone else who performed waterboarding or knowingly approved it shares both criminal and civil liability. That would include Nancy Pelosi if she was fully informed and did not object. That remains unknown; but Cheney's guilt is known because he confessed it on TV.

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

EDITOR:It is clear that you have an opinion. But it is not clear how you could have missed Pelosi's clear confessions in print. The blind spot is the norm, but quite troubliing (and telling) nonetheless.

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