So Much for the So-Called “Liberal Media”

RumsfeldWell, those of you who didn’t read that last entry until today will doubtless be wondering, “What the hell is he talking about?” I’ve removed the original link I had accompanying the story, for the simple reason that it’s not there anymore. I don’t know what the bigger story is, that Donald Rumsfeld openly advocated an overtly fascist position, or that The Washington Post decided — after running the story on their website — to kill it.

The above-linked article now contains some fairly blasé content about Rumsfeld in Ireland, blathering on about something or other, downplaying the hunt for “weapons of mass destruction,” yada yada yada. Typical Donald Rumsfeld shit, but certainly nothing to get me up in arms. Of course, yesterday, that exact same link brought up a story about comments Rumsfeld made on completion of his Iraq trip, saying in effect that criticism of the Bush agenda — both at home and abroad — was explicitly aiding the terrorist cause by destabilizing the Iraqi reconstruction and allowing terrorist groups to more easily recruit warriors to their cause. I’d provide exact quotes here, but I can’t, since, to look at the Post’s site now, the story never happened.

A little background here — this is one of my real hot-button issues. Almost two years ago now, then-Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Michael Kelly wrote an Op-Ed piece, also appearing in the Post, saying that any person who advocated pacifism following the attacks of September 11 was actively aiding the enemy, and should be considered a traitor. Kelly’s comments — coming from a writer, no less — incensed me, to the point where I actively removed myself from any design work for The Atlantic while Kelly was in charge. (Disclosure: I did continue some work for Atlantic owner David Bradley’s holding company, Atlantic Media.) I was still irate some time later, and when asked to videotape the memorial service following Kelly’s death, I delegated the task to two members of our videography staff; I didn’t go so far as to refuse to tape it, but I honestly didn’t think I could have kept a straight face during what, naturally, should have been a solemn — and positive — remembrance.

The funny thing was, I agreed wholeheartedly with the view that we should retaliate; I’m no dove. But to brand those who disagree as to the proper course of actions traitors goes far beyond the scope of common decency.

Rumsfeld’s comments, of course, are leaps and bounds worse than Kelly’s. Kelly was a private citizen speaking his mind — I deplore his comments, but will defend to the utmost his right to express them. Rumsfeld is a member of the presidential administration, one in a position to make policy. Kelly’s comments followed an overt attack on the United States; Rumsfeld’s follow a war of lies waged by a right-wing regime with a hidden agenda — not to mention the fact that their actions have clearly demonstrated a complete lack of competence.

Rumsfeld’s advice to those would point out this utter incompetence is to shut up and quit whining about it. Forget about fixing the problem — or admitting culpability — the problem will apparently just go away if nobody talks about it. Or if we can call those who do talk about it “traitors,” which will allow us to take more... drastic measures against them. (I find it particularly apropos that this story was called to my attention on the same day that I put up a new Micah Wright poster, titled “Who’s Unamerican? The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down.”)

I’ll investigate this apparent cover-up further; for all I know, the original Post story is completely false, inserted by some hacker and removed as soon as it was discovered. But if not, the Post is going to have some serious explaining to do.


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