Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Truth Versus The Spin...

When the Bush Adminstration and conservative pundits in the MSM and blogosphere trashed The New York Times for reporting on terrorist financial transactions, it has become all too clear what their primary motive was - to score political points.

According to this week's U.S. News and World Report:
That Times Leak Was No Surprise
Before you jump in with those heaping scorn on the New York Times for using a leak to reveal the secret Treasury program to search financial transactions for terrorist activities, know this: The Treasury Department expected it to leak. When the program was developed in 2003, a press plan was included. The goal: Get out front with the spin that there are safeguards to prevent snooping on private accounts, that it is legal, and that there are big benefits to it. "These three elements needed to be in the first-day story," says an insider. The plan worked. When the Times told Treasury it was running the story, top Treasury aides were OK'd to talk to the Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, which presented the three points. "It was a textbook case of very good PR management," says the insider.
Does this mean that the Times, essentially, was set-up to take a fall by the Bush Administration? Clearly, they anticipated the story to be reported, approved officials to speak to the media, and then slammed the Times when it did so.

Obviously, it worked, as it gave the right-wing some much-needed blood to feed on at a time when they need an idealogical score.

No harm, no foul, though - right? The New York Times is in the big league and they can afford to take the hit, right? Not so fast. Remember when Ann Coulter mentioned that her only regret was that Timothy McVeigh didn't hit the New York Times building? Well, as it turns out, The New York Times received an envelope on Friday with an Xed-out Times editorial and a suspicious white powder. The response from the New York Times was wondering "...if she considers herself at all responsible when lunatics read her columns and she says that we should be killed."

Coulter's response? "So glad to hear that the New York Times got my letter and that your friend at the Times thinks I'm funny.... If we get hit again, don't forget to ask the NYT if they consider themselves responsible since they have repeatedly exposed classified government programs designed to prevent another terrorist attack."

Again, Coulter embraces her freedom of speech in making dangerous statements against the New York Times, while at the same time accusing them of "leaking" a story that was intended to be leaked.

And they wonder why we continaully call them hypocrites?

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:00 PM /


  • Blogger The Professor posted at 9:13 PM  
    Okay, come on... lighten up on this one...

    It is good planning to develop a "what if this leaks out" plan. Developing a strategy in case it leaks is quite different from developing a strategy to leak it, and then leverage the leak.

    You might be able to commend them for planning ahead, but you cannot say (er, write) that it was "a story that was intended to be leaked."


  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 12:44 AM  
    I can't? Watch me...

    Are you ready?

    Here goes....


    See? Now, wasn't that easy?

    I'm sorry... did I miss the part where the Bush Administration did something to foster my trust in them?

    Did I miss the part where Karl Rove was an altruistic man who cared more about the welfare of people than the politics of his party?

    Perhaps I got confused when Republican leaders stood up in Congress and told me (with a straight face) that the most important issues facing this country right now are Constitutional Amendments on flag burning and gay marriage.

    Nawww... you're right. It's completely out of line to assume that a Presidential Administration facing incredibly low poll numbers, a potential shift in power come November and the election of a Democratic president in 2008 would try to gain political points by feeding the right-wing conservative base a juicy target like the "perceived" most liberal newspaper in America.

    Let's talk about whether Ann Coulter will face any kind of prosecution for her comments, given what happened?

    But you're right. It's no big deal.

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 1:15 PM  
    Wow... If that's you lightened up, I would hate to be at an intersection where you get angry at a pedestrian...

    I appreciate that you have a rather long list of grievances, but might I remind you that they are also non-sequiturs. You may have lost faith in Bush (Doubtful you had any to begin with, similar to my inability to have "lost" faith in Clinton, or Kerry, etc...) and you may have a hard time believing certain things Rove has said. That does not mean that you can make the declarative statement that the was "intended to be leaked."

    You CAN say that, given the history of this administration it is hard for you to beleive that it wasn't intended to be leaked. You might even say you wouldn't put it past this administration to have intended it to be leaked. But there is no evidence--NONE--that can support such a declarative statement.

    Stay with logic and reason.


    Okay, so you CAN say anything you want--and it may even make you feel good. It just doesn't make it so.

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 5:27 PM  
    Okay, so you CAN say anything you want--and it may even make you feel good. It just doesn't make it so.

    Wha... ?? Really? OK, now I'm REALLY confused, so you're going to have to explain to me.

    This is precisely what the Bush Administration is doing... and so you're telling me that if they say something, it doesn't automatically make it true?

    "Saddam has biological, chemical and nuclear weapons."

    "Mission accomplished."

    "Iraq's WMDs were shipped out to Syria for hiding."

    "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ..."

    "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."

    And so what you're telling me here is that just because someone says something doesn't mean that it's actually true?

    You won't mind if I forward thse comments to "", right?

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 6:20 PM  
    Forward em, if you wish. But be sure to provide the total context.

    Remember, it was your headline for this posting that read " The Truth Versus The Spin..." so I am just pointing out that you cannot state this as fact, and thus it's not "Truth."

    Of course, if you wish to once AGAIN drag out the WMD argument... We can argue again and again whether or not their were any there. If one is told they are there, and is shown reports from many different nations intelligence agencies, and even has the prior administration's statements that support the argument that Saddam had, and was working on, WMD's, then one might find themselves convinced that yes, he did have them.

    It's not the same as "they had a backup plan in case something leaked, so therefore they intended it to leak."

    By your argument, if one were to have a contingency plan on how to deal with an outbreak of small pox in a major city, they there intended there to be one. Your argument is based on the flawed logic of "If exists PLAN then must have INTENDED."

    Surely you see the glaring logical fallacy here. Come on... you haven't had THAT much koolaid, have you?

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 7:01 PM  
    I know, I know... the Iraq argument about those lies that we were told about WMDs and everything, and our soldiers who remain there today in harm's way as a result, and the billion of dollars that we're spending on the war effort... all on the backs of the lies that were told to us... yeah, you're right... that's such a tired old topic to have to haul out over and over again. Sorry to bore you with it.

    Sadly, you're the one with the flawed logic, comparing my point to a plan for a smallpox outbreak??

    Did you miss the point where it mentioned not only that there was a plan to cover the leak, but Treasury officials were OKed to talk to the four papers about it.

    They were given the green light on the story.

    My point related to your comments is simply this - the fact that I am stating this as truth is no more OR less validly truth than anything that the Bush Administration has fed us as "the truth."

    Sorry to have to wipe that smug little Kool-Aid moustache of that lil' grin of yours.

    By the way, we can play the same game with material other than WMDs, you know:

    "The vast majority of my [proposed] tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum."

    "If you abolish the death tax, people won't have to hire all those planners to help them keep the land that's rightfully theirs."

    In early June 2001 the NAS released a report Bush had requested, and it concluded global warming was under way and "most likely due to human activities."

    Rather than accept the analysis it had commissioned, the Bush White House countered with duplicity. Press secretary Fleischer maintained that the report "concludes that the Earth is warming. But it is inconclusive on why--whether it's man-made causes or whether it's natural causes."

    Hot enough for ya', by the by?

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