January 5, 2006

by Reb Yudel
CNN: Would Big Brother Lie to You?

I really try not to blog continually about the credulity of the Republican media. There are other sites that do that on a regular basis. But here's how CNN reports on a claim that one of its reporters was targetted by the illegal Bush wiretaps (as summarized by AmericaBlog):

Well, John, I'm told considerable manhours today went into making sure the answer to CNN would be accurate. A senior US intelligence official tells use that our colleague Christiane Amanpour has never been targetted by the National Security Agency, and nor has any other CNN journalist. Now, the NSA as you know is the eavesdropping intelligence agency, the US government's big ear, and from time to time, the official says, wiretaps overseas or other intercepts turn out to include Americans, or what they call 'US persons', which includes people who works for US companies, it does so inadvertently. But if the NSA finds it has tape and transcript of such a person, by law, it is required to be immediately erased, deleted, gotten rid of. US intelligence officials rarely comment on who they may or may not have collected information about, but because of all the web blogosphere attention this was getting today, this senior official was willing to look into it for us, and to be quite clear in his denial -- frankly, I get the impression the NSA is as puzzled by Andrea Mitchell's question, and NBC's decision to put it out on the web, as we were.
To which AmericaBlog wisely responds:
By law? You mean the same anti-wiretapping law that George Bush just broke and just told us he doesn't have to abide by because we're at war and he's commander in chief? Come on guys, I can't believe no one at CNN cracked a smile when they heard this. And please don't present this as definitive proof without noting the fact that the administration says it can break the law and many think they have broken it already. Not to mention, this totally contradicts what the president told us about taping conversations of 500+ American who have supposedly spoken with Al Qaeda affiliates - he's already admitted that Americans can be taped.

So you mean if Christiane spoke to a source who was an Al Qaeda affiliate the administration would NOT tape the call and if they did accidentally, they'd delete it? Give me a break. And in any case, Bush already admitted to tapping Americans so this defense is already moot. Unfortunately, CNN didn't mention that fact either.

And finally, while I'm glad CNN dug into this, asking a "senior intelligence official" to look into this - then having him get back to you and say "nope, nothing there, we didn't break the law" isn't really very conclusive evidence, don't you think? Did you expect him to get back to you and say "yes, we are tapping journalists?"

Then again, whose to blame CNN? Under the Bush "I-can-do-whatever-the-fuck-they-I-want-if-I-call-it-war" Doctrine, nothing stops him from hiring G.Gordon Liddy to blow up reporters he doesn't like. If I was a CNN produce on the White House radar -- rather than an irrelevant blogger -- you can bet I'd be an ass-licking toady too. When the boss plays by Putin rules, the media knows enough to play the Pravda game. TrackBack
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