Yesterday we had a story about an exchange between ABC News White House reporter Terry Moran and Bush spokesman Scott McClelland in which Moran agressively questioned Scottie about Vice President Cheney’s recent assertions that the insurgency in Iraq was in its “last throes.” That was encouraging.
But now comes evidence that the MSM has sadly slipped back into its coma. Writing in the Washington Post, former White House reporter, enabler and sometimes stenographer Dana Milbank gave a scathing and derisive account of a hearing held by Democrats on the Downing Street documents.
In his Post article, Milbank completely ignored the seriousness of these allegations and treated the forum and its chairperson, Rep. John Conyers, the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee with dripping sarcasm.
In response, Rep. Conyers sent a letter objecting to the rightwing bias of the coverage to the Post’s omsbudsman.
I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank’s June 17 [article] which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post’s only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious…
The article begins with an especially mean and nasty tone, claiming that House Democrats “pretended” a small conference was the Judiciary Committee hearing room and deriding the decor of the room. Milbank fails to share with his readers one essential fact: the reason the hearing was held in that room… Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings, Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them. Milbank could have written about the perseverance of many of my colleagues in the face of such adverse circumstances, but declined to do so. Milbank also ignores the critical fact picked up by the AP, CNN and other newsletters that at the very moment the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing…
The fact that I and my fellow Democrats had to stuff a hearing into a room the size of a large closet to hold a hearing on an important issue shouldn’t make us the object of ridicule. In my opinion, the ridicule should be placed in two places: first, at the feet of Republicans who are so afraid to discuss ideas and facts that they try to sabotage our efforts to do so; and second, on Dana Milbank and the Washington Post, who do not feel the need to give serious coverage on a serious hearing about a serious matter-whether more than 1700 Americans have died because of a deliberate lie. Milbank may disagree, but the Post certainly owed its readers some coverage of that viewpoint.
I happened to catch the last half of the hearings at 2AM Pacific time on C-Span last week. It was sad to see proceedings like these being held in a small crowded room. The hearings conducted by these same Republicans not so long ago into President Clinton’s sex life were televised live and given no-expense-barred, full Congressional trappings. Now, hearings into a Republican president’s lies and incomptent war planning are held in windowless conference room.
Why are the Republicans averse to holding hearings on the contents of the Downing Street documents? The childish attempts to stop the truth from being told underscore the concern among the GOP’s leadership that the documents offer incontrovertible evidence that the Bush Administration deliberately misled the American public, the Congress and the world about the reasons they took the country to war in Iraq.
The Bush Administration could never have succeeding in duping the American public without the willing and able assistance of conservative tools like Milbank, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. These propagandists have blood on their hands, just as surely as do President Bush and Vice President Cheney.