The Statist Media, Ct'd...

Two more data points for my theory that the legacy media aren't liberal, they're just authoritarian.

First, while covering this week's Senate TSA hearings, Time Washington correspondent Alex Altman rises above the the fray, and bravely throws cold water on all you shrill anti-TSA types. Here's his lede:

Some dramas seem tailor-made for the Internet's ephemeral obsessions, and the kerfuffle over the Transportation Security Administration's new airport screening procedures is a perfect example. It's got all the ingredients to feed a media circus: a whiff of government overreach, children prodded to tears, bold push-back, splashy protests, federal employees apparently frisking nuns--an irresistible  recipe seasoned by the immediacy of next week's Thanksgiving travel crunch.

Altman then goes on to debunk all this infantile Internet screaming by citing a poorly-worded public opinion poll showing support for x-ray scanners, and helpfully pointing out that members of no less an esteemed, august institution than the U.S. Senate expressed solidarity with the TSA.

Well. I guess we stand corrected, then.

Altman doesn't really get into whether these invasive new measures will actually make flying any safer, or whether the x-ray machines themselves are safe for passengers (where's that damned Precautionary Principle when you need it?). No, his evidence that all this talk about the government abrogating our rights in the name of security theater is mere "drama", "tailor-made for the Internet's ephemeral obsessions" is a series of quotes saying as much from . . . members of the government.

It's especially rich to see this in Time, a magazine with a long history of ginning up hysteria over the likes of Pokemon, satanic cults, dirty words, and Internet porn, and which has never met a faddish new drug that wasn't just as bad as heroin. Of course, Time's attempts to gin up moral panic have always at root been about people exercising their personal freedom in ways Time writers and editors find objectionable; the stories are always wrapped in urgent we must do something appeals for government to protect people from themselves. The TSA backlash is about government violating personal freedom. So of course now is the hour for a Time correspondent to step up all sober-minded like to call foul on the protests.

The other example comes from Glenn Greenwald, who had a bizarre exchange with NPR National Security Correspondent Dina Temple-Raston over the Obama administration's plan to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, and, more broadly, its assertion that it has the power to assassinate American citizens without trial, oversight, or even letting anyone know it happened. You can watch video of the exchange at the link, but here's a summary from The American Prospect's Adam Serwer:

It's really an amazing exchange -- Temple-Raston snaps at Greenwald, asking him, "Isn't it possible that I've seen something you haven't seen?" When asked about the evidence of al-Awlaki's operational role in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, she smugly tells him that "he doesn't do national security for a living."

As Serwer explains, the point here isn't whether al-Awlaki is a good person, though let's not forget that we were repeatedly told that only the "worst of the worst" were housed at Gitmo. The issue is whether the executive can be trusted with this sort of power, not just with al-Awlaki, but in the future.

There's no more important function of the press than government watchdog. Whether it's to protect or curry favor with official sources, to preserve access, or just a jones for authority and the cult of expertise, the legacy media too often comes off as government's biggest fan. And it's a problem that transcends left-right ideology.

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  • ||

    no less an esteemed, August institution than the U.S. Senate

    You had fun writing that, didn't you, Radley?

  • aaron||

    Dina Temple Raston doesn't "do" national security for a living either. She writes about it. Just like Greenwald!

  • ||

    How do you know whom she "does"?

  • cynical||

    I was about to say the exact same thing, verbatim.

  • Xenocles||

    Me too. Dammit!

  • Wind Rider||

    Radley didn't nut-punch us today. Just 'met our resistance'.

  • ||

    He's still got time.

  • Old Mexican||

    Two more data points for my theory that the legacy media aren't liberal, they're just authoritarian.

    Pssst! Balko! Hey! Let me get you in on a little secret!

    Ready? Here it goes: Liberals ARE authoritarian.

  • Radley Balko||

    I think Greenwald and Serwer are both good examples of liberals who aren't authoritarian when it comes to civil liberties.

  • JoshINHB||

    Until they're in charge.

  • ||

    Huh? Greenwald's advocacy didn't stop when Democrats controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress. Stop slandering an honest guy.

  • Thomas Ellers||

    You are entirely correct about what an honest guy Glenn Greenwald is. My friend Rick Ellensburg will also attest to that.

  • ||

    I think his point was that conservatives are also authoritarian. The fourth estate is just a cheerleader for the first three.

  • ||

    And everyone hates the fifth column.

  • Michael Savage||

    What is the difference anymore?

  • Old Mexican||

    The press' most important function is government watchdog.

    Well, there you have it - the press enables the government in order to watch it. Because if no government, then no watching.

  • bravo, mexicano||

  • ||

    "I'm a narc, not a cop!"

  • ||

    The new scanners are not "x-ray machines" as they don't use x-rays, they use terahertz radiation. Which, as you might know from the source of the problem people have with the new scanners, does not penetrate skin, so it's very unlikely they are harmful.

  • ||

    There is, nonetheless, a small incremental increase in cancer risk.

    Approximately equal, as it happens, to the risk of being killed in a terrorist highjacking.

  • ||

    You are incorrect. There are two types of "naked scanners". One of them uses X-rays.

  • Fr. Spike||

    Right, and there's a possibility that those are actually more harmful than conventional x-rays. High energy x-rays mostly go straight through the body. Low energy x-rays get absorbed more easily by the skin. The data on which is more dangerous aren't there yet, but it's not at all clear that the backscatter scanners are harmless. I know a radiologist who's done studies on radiation exposure and cancer risk, and he's been steering clear of the scanners since way before it was cool. Not that that proves that it's deadly, but the fact that the TSA is handwaving the problem away and trying to compare millisieverts isn't helpful.

  • ||

    The Stockholm Syndrome is alive and well.

  • Joe M||

    Oh man, did anyone see this?

    TSA v Pasties

    And be sure to check the actual website: Flying Pasties (borderline NSFW, no actual nudity though)

  • ||

    you know, that brings up (topic wise, not erection wise)a thought: What if your (or your girlfriends...OK, OK, they're all natural, - let's say someone else's girlfriend) boobs are plastic??? What if the fun bags are filled not with boob gel, but with plastic explosive???
    Will the future face...er, boobs of terrorism be extremely busty women???
    I for one, am willing to squeeze buxom women's breast to keep this country safe. (actually, I guess I wouldn't be able to tell harmless boob gel from explosive plastic...alas, Fresnodan has so little experience with natural boobs will probably need remedial training in telling real boobs apart from enhanced boobs)

  • ||

    Are you lost, Tulpa?

  • ||

    Maybe he should try Hare Krishna?

  • Old Mexican||

    The TSA backlash is about government violating personal freedom. So of course now is the hour for a Time correspondent to step up all sober-minded like to call foul on the protests.

    As any protest against government-sponsored violations of our individual rights has to be construed by journalists and editorialists as personal attacks against themselves, as the State is ihr vater und ihre mutter.

  • JoshINHB||

    There's no more important function of the press than government watchdog.

    This was always more wishful thinking than realty.

  • Steve||

    There's no more important function of the press than being the government's watchdog.

    That seems more accurate.

  • ||

    There's no more important function of the press than government watchdog lapdog.

  • Almanian||

    Thank you for correcting this

  • Joe M||

    The department is doing its best to accommodate concerns about privacy invasion, but "the core mission of TSA is to keep the traveling public safe" in an age of increasingly sophisticated terrorist threats, [TSA Administrator John Pistole] explained.

    Yeah, like stuffing a bomb in your undies. Very sophisticated.

  • ||

    Note that if you actually stuff it up your ass, they still can't detect it if you can keep explosive residue off yourself (and the residue from explosive diarrhea).

  • RyanXXX||

    I watched the video of Greenwald and that bitch. She drones on about evidence she's supposedly seen about Awlaki directing terrorist ops, having been shown it by "national security officials." Greenwald replies "Great! We should be able to indict him now, and put him on trial!"

    Her blabbering non-response was priceless

  • ||

    "Great! We should be able to indict him now, and put him on trial!"

    On the evidence to date, our DOJ has approximately a 1 in of 280 chance getting a conviction on any given count of a civilian terrorist trial.

    I don't think the executive should be able to issue a diktat that citizen A should be terminated. I think there should be some due process first. In absentia military commission works for me.

    But this notion that Ghailani and Al-Awlaki should be treated exactly the same as we would someone who knocks over a liquor store, and considerably better than we treat people suspected of having marijuana in their houses, doesn't convince me.

  • ||

    Due process: Hey Gibbsie! What do you say, heads or tails?

  • ||

    How many divisions are required?
    [Liquor crimes/Drug crimes/sex crimes/bomb crime/thought crime]

    How sure do we need to be that they are probably guilty of whatever we think they are to be shuffled to a different tier of 'justice'?

    Who makes those determinations?

  • ||

    The fact that al-Awlaki is a citizen does not change much in my eyes. We are, in effect, at war with al-Qaeda. (I don't know why we haven't declared it officially. They have.) If in WWII we had targeted and killed Axis Sally in a bombing raid, would anyone claim that would have been some sort of civil rights violation? Or that it gave the government the authority to kill any American they wanted to?

    Everyone talks about this issue in the broadest, most general terms, as if allowing Obama to target al-Awlaki is the same thing as (or starts us on a slippery slope towards) saying it's OK for him to order a hit on Sarah Palin. I don't think it is.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Exactly. He's fighting as part of a hostile force. Killing him is the same as killing any other AQ baddy.

  • Apogee||

    as if allowing Obama to target al-Awlaki is the same thing as (or starts us on a slippery slope towards) saying it's OK for him to order a hit on Sarah Palin.

    First, he would never order a hit on Palin - the DNC needs her too much as a propaganda tool.

    Second, there's a big difference between ordering the execution of an American Citizen without any due process and requiring a check and balance in order to do so.

    The separation of powers seems to serve an important function, at least the founders thought so. That's a broad and general principle that I, for one, am not willing to abandon.

  • Tony||

    How about the same due process rights for everyone regardless of whether they are swarthy Muslims?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    How about the same due process rights for everyone regardless of whether they are swarthy Muslims?

    You are living in the moon - who said we have "due process" rights? We only have those rights our sage overseers deem enough for us peons. You should know that by now - it's written in a statute somewhere...

  • ||

    Due process rights for armed traitors at war with the US and located in foreign countries? Will you volunteer to deliver the arrest warrant?

  • Swarthy, indeed, Tony||

    How mildly bigoted of you to notice.

  • ||

    members of no less an esteemed, August institution than the U.S. Senate expressed solidarity with the TSA.

    Top men, one and all.

  • Wind Rider||

    Exactly what we've come to expect from years of Government training.

  • ||

    Top Men.

  • blubi||

    The press does lean left. It is authoritarian because the left is in power.
    Similarly, many on the right (social conservatives) are antigovernment, whether consciously or not, because they disagree with the agenda of those in power. Some may have developed libertarian streaks because they have "suffered" from the authoritarianism of the left, I´m pretty sure I would have been more authoritarian (or less inclined to recognize the abuse of power) if I agreed with today´s establishment.

  • ||

    If we had an authoritarian libertarian regime, I probably would completely miss the abuses of power.

  • Paul||

    Two more data points for my theory that the legacy media aren't liberal, they're just authoritarian

    I'm sorry, but is there a difference?

  • ||

    an authoritarian libertarian regime

    DISOBEY!!

  • ||

    Vee haff vays uff makink you be left da fuck alohn!

    Now, shall ve shtart again at ze beginnink, autonomous individual?

  • Paul||

    It's really an amazing exchange -- Temple-Raston snaps at Greenwald, asking him, "Isn't it possible that I've seen something you haven't seen?" When asked about the evidence of al-Awlaki's operational role in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, she smugly tells him that "he doesn't do national security for a living."

    Wait the fuck a second. A reporter at NPR has a hyphenated last name? I call bullshit.

  • Almanian||

    Wesley Fortescue-Smythe, Nigel Blithe-Patterson, and Nellie Anne Jameson-Attingale, on the other hand, are delighted to find that they are in the company of "one of their own."

  • ||

    "..it's spelled Luxury-Yacht, but it's pronounced Throatwarbler-Mangrove.."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: blubi,

    The press does lean left. It is authoritarian because the left is in power.

    Non sequitur. People can be authoritarian no matter who happens to be in power, by virtue of their own eleutherophobia.

    Similarly, many on the right (social conservatives) are antigovernment

    Liar. Big liar. Social "conservatives" are just as happy to ask government to do the bullying for them as the statist fucks from the left.

    whether consciously or not, because [???] they disagree with the agenda of those in power.

    Again, non sequitur, as in "one thing does not follow the other."

    One can be anti-government REGARDLESS of who's in charge, if devils or angels.

    Some may have developed libertarian streaks because they have "suffered" from the authoritarianism of the left

    Which leaves the door open to "some others became libertarian even without suffering authoritarianism from the left."

    I'm pretty sure I would have been more authoritarian (or less inclined to recognize the abuse of power) if I agreed with today's establishment.

    And vice-versa: The establishment would feel ecouraged to BE authoritarian if statist FUCKS agree with them.

  • Almanian||

    OM, you are on fire today!

  • ||

    In theory, you're right. In practice, those in charge are NEVER angels. But I agree with you anyway.

  • blubi||

    1) You´re right, I should have written "the press APPEARS TO BE authoritarian because"..

    2) No comprendo, but I wasn´t lying.

    3) if you agree with state policies you are unlikely to want less of them.

  • ||

    The left/right, liberal/conservative dialectic serves the purposes of political class. They get to participate in the charade that there are two opposing sides while eliminating consideration of other perspectives. To pretend that either the left or right is more or less authoritarian is meaningless. They are part and parcel of the same thing and their intention is to exclude viewpoints which challenge the paradigm which they both share.

    Left/right, Dem/GOP - it's all bullshit designed to keep the debate from going anywhere except within the framework of that paradigm. The only real political debate to be had is between those who advocate liberty and those who do not. Unfortunately, our political system is defined by those who do not and we never have that debate. We never have any meaningful debate.

  • ||

    and "bipartisanship" is part of the charade. If the Left and the Right find common ground, then it must be in the middle, and therefore good.

  • ||

    When the Left and Right find common ground, it's the middle all right. The middle finger, and it's raised at all of us. See COICA.

  • MJ||

    The press definitely (with some notable exceptions) leans to the left, but they also do not stray too far from the conventional wisdom of the establishment Democrat leadership. They'll push an philosophically confused Republican like McCain when he's fighting with other Republicans, but will abandon him when he mixes it up with an actual Democrat.

  • ||

    While there are moments where I respect Greenwald's take on things I just as often feel he is to radical islamists what Timothy Treadwell was to grizzly bears.

  • No||

    Time had a problem with Pokemon? Jesus, that's even worse than the D&D scare.

  • ||

    Radley shoulda mentioned, as an example of media-fueled statist hysteria, their propaganda campaign for the Iraq War, and the current one for the upcoming Iran War.

  • ||

    left right banter aside, The law is the issue at hand.
    "The law, (says he,) no passion can disturb. Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger. 'Tis mens sine affectu; written reason; retaining some measure of the divine perfection. It does not enjoin that which pleases a weak, frail man, but without any regard to persons, commands that which is good, and punishes evil in all, whether rich, or poor, high or low,'Tis deaf, inexorable, inflexible. On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder to the clamours of the populace."
    back to school for all......
    http://www.schooltube.com/vide.....g-Argument

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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