Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Wingnut Welfare Queens Strike Again

By Jane Hamsher

In our discussion of Eric Boehlert’s book Lapdogs over the weekend, I mentioned his notion that right-wing attacks on the press were largely incoherent because they didn’t really seem to understand what the press does or how it functions. Today the welfare queens of the NRO prove that point :

President Bush, who said on Monday morning that the exposure “does great harm to the United States of America,” must demand that the New York Times pay a price for its costly, arrogant defiance. The administration should withdraw the newspaper’s White House press credentials because this privilege has been so egregiously abused, and an aggressive investigation should be undertaken to identify and prosecute, at a minimum, the government officials who have leaked national-defense information.

Yesterday Crooks & Liars ran a video of right-wing talk show host Chris Baker who stormed off after refusing to answer a simple question — did he think the government should determine what the media reports? It’s obvious he does, as does the NRO. They have absolutely no concept of a free press, of a fourth estate who act as a check to power.

They have consistently preached authoritarian cultism; their hostility to any kind of check or balance that would impede Bush’s assertion of the unitary executive has always existed at a fever pitch. One wonders if they’ve ever read the Constitution.

But much like the profound irony of Ole 60 Grit O’Beirne demanding rights for herself won on her behalf by the feminists she bashes even as she earns her living denying them to other women, so the NRO exists as part of a free press it would very much like to see dismantled.

It’s all part of a long-term strategy by BushCo. to silence its critics by denying them access; Barbara Comstock already pulled this stunt with Eric Lichtblau when she was at the Justice Department. It’s one thing for a sports franchise to ban a hostile newscaster from a press conference; it’s quite another for the government to do so, and the NRO does not seem to recognize the difference or the danger therein.

I don’t really expect much more from a bunch of nepotistic hires who’d all be lucky to be flipping burgers if they had to earn their living competing for employment opportunities in the free market. But it is telling that they either don’t realize the simple inconsistencies of their position or don’t have enough pride to care.

I’d never suggest that the Wingnut Welfare brigade should be denied the right to cover what is going on with the administration. But the fact that they see themselves (and the press at large) as some sort of PRAVDA-like appendage to the Bush Cargo Cult probably explains why they have to go begging hat-in-hand for their continued existence. A bunch of BushCo. press-releases recycled through the keyboards of the C-Team just isn’t going to set either readers or advertisers on fire.

The NRO may demand the rights granted to a free press, but really they are nothing of the sort. They are little more than the subsidized PR arm of a bunch of robber barons anxious to preserve their right to steal by feeding at the taxpayer trough. But since these are the bozos who are going to be the lone recipients of "access" if petty scold George Bush has his way, we should all be very concerned about what they consider "news" and the obligation they feel they have to report any kind of objecttve news — i.e., none.

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