Monday, May 22, 2006

"This is the thanks we get."

Journalists feel betrayed by government snooping

ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” this weekend, sounding both agitated and frighteningly naïve for a hard-nose reporter regarding the recent revelation that the government has been snooping on journalists.

“It makes me feel, in a way — and this is, I think, the disturbing part — as if we are drug dealers or terrorists trying to traffic in information, and should we be using bags full of quarters like old Mafia capos to avoid having our phone calls traced? I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong; I don’t think any other reporter is, either. We’re trying to cover these stories, which are difficult, but which are very important.”

This “why us?” sob story is very hard to stomach. Where was the indignation when the NSA spying story broke? Where was the anger and hand wringing from the national media over the fact that perhaps tens of thousands of innocent Americans were having their conversations recorded? Now that it’s reporters whose phones are tapped, it’s a story that merits airtime.

Ross either suffers from a serious case of short-term memory loss or his ability to connect dots in a story is pitiful for an investigative journalist. How could he be the least bit shocked by this turn of events after five-and-a-half years of the Bush administration walking with bloody Jack Boots over the Constitution? Is he so insulated in Washington that he’s unaware of the damage caused by the pathological liars running this country? Did he seriously believe that this government’s pattern of unethical and criminal behavior would somehow exclude the fourth estate? What utter naiveté.

If, on the other hand, Ross just can seem to fit the pieces together as to how we got to the point where government snoops are listening to him order Chinese take out, let me help jog his memory with this very incomplete list of stories the press failed to cover adequately or cover at all during King George’s dynasty, resulting in a renegade government that believes it is above the law:

The serious irregularities surrounding the 2000 and 2004 elections
The fact that Bush was wired and fed answers during the presidential debates with Kerry
The numerous pre-9/11 warnings the administration received regarding impending terrorist attacks
The case for war against Iraq
The ineptitude of the post-war occupation of Iraq
The no-bid contracts for rebuilding Iraq
The 9/11 Commission whitewash
The Valarie Plame affair
The use of torture
The Downing Street Memos
The Hurricane Katrina debacle
The Republican corruption scandals
The administration’s war on science
The ongoing attempts to turn our secular democracy into a fundamentalist theocracy
The NSA spying scandal

Do you really like investigating things, Brian? Fine. You can start at the top of the list and work your way down. Just make sure you use a pay phone.

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