Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chas Freeman: Cover up by the big media

Just another controversy over an Obama appointment to a key post. The nominee withdraws under the hail of criticism. But all the big media outlets hide the story, except the Wall Street Journal and Jake Tapper at ABC. Jennifer Rubin covers it: Commentary; Blog Archive; Why the Cover Up Matters: The mainstream media, with the exception of ABC’s Jake Tapper, utterly ignored the Chas Freeman story. A large number of mainstream outlets simply wouldn’t report on it at all. In doing so they not only missed a significant event — made more significant by Freeman’s self-revelation as a ranting paranoid — but they missed a key insight into the administration’s current travails. Yet, the New York Times editor says they were just too busy with other things. (Even to cover a story about a top intelligence post in which its home senator claims to have played a key role?) One of the better stories placing the issue in context comes from the Wall Street Journal. The reporter first lays out the facts — quoting the bizarre farewell missive, describing Admiral Dennis Blair’s defense earlier in the day, and explaining the subject areas which concerned his critics. And why is this important? The reporter explains:
The abrupt turnabout recalled other missteps early in the Obama administration, which has seen several nominees for top posts withdraw under pressure. Most of the other cases involved tax problems and personal financial issues, while the Freeman case centered on ideology. The White House declined to comment on Mr. Freeman’s withdrawal.
Ah, there might be a pattern — of compounding incidents involving problematic appointees and incompetent vetting processes. Specifically, we see the emergence of ongoing rifts within the national security apparatus of the administration:
Intelligence appointments have proved politically precarious for President Barack Obama, who is looking to improve the relationship between intelligence agencies and Capitol Hill. His initial choice for Central Intelligence Agency director pulled out before he was formally named, under pressure from liberals concerned about the official’s service in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Obama’s next choice for CIA director, Leon Panetta, ran into initial resistance on Capitol Hill, because Congress wasn’t consulted, but he was ultimately confirmed by the Senate.
You see, the mainstream media did not simply miss a story. They missed a very important one, which provided insight into the administration’s recurring problems. By not providing coverage for this story – or by obfuscating key details as Walter Pincus did — they are misleading the public and conveying a false portrait of the administration. This is simply inexcusable.