January 20 In graduate school they teach (so I’ve heard) that 1/4 of newspaper readers only take in the headline, another 1/4 read the first paragraph, another 1/4 read to where the story jumps to another page, and another 1/4 read it all the way through. Today’s New York Times carries a headline, “Lawmakers Suggest Snowden Link to Russia Before he Leaked Data.” The story by Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, datelined Washington, begins:
“The heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Commitees suggested on Sunday that Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency Contractor, might have been working for Russian spy services while he was employed at an agency facility in Hawaii last year and before he disclosed hundreds of thousands of classified government documents.”
The reporters acknowledge that Snowden’s accusers, Rep. Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, and Sen. Diane Feinstein, Billionaire of California, “offered no specific evidence that Mr. Snowden received help from a foreign intelligence service.” But they trumpet the groundless charges anyway!
“Mr. Rogers described… Mr. Snowden as a man who, from the beginning, might have knowingly or unknowingly been directed by a foreign intelligence service. He.. suggested the Mr. Snowden’s possession of a ‘go bag’ to get out of Hawaii, and his smooth entry into Hong Kong, indicated preplanning beyond his individual capacity.”
Moron Mike Rogers questioning brilliant Eric Snowden’s “individual capacity” reminded us that Stephen Colbert once showed a close-up of Snowden’s guileless face and warned his audience, “This is the face of E-vil.“
Laid out beneath the Snowden disinfo in the Times was a piece by Brian Knowlton, dateline Washington, headlined “Olympics Security Worries U.S. Officials.” It began:
Tensions rose sunday over security preparations ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as several Congressional leaders expressed concern about Russia’s willingness to share information about terrorist threats…
This piece, too, quoted Rep. Mike Rogers, who had been whisked from NBC’s Meet the Press to CNN’s “State of the Union” to badmouth the Russkies:
“They’re not giving us the full story about what are the threat streams, who do we need to worry about, are those groups —the terrorist groups who have had some success— are they still plotting?”
Mr. Rogers was not ashamed to yammer like that less than a year after the Boston marathon was bombed by a man whom the Russians had repeatedly identified to U.S. intelligence services as a potential terrorist. Rogers knew that the supine CNN interviewer would not bring it up and that the American people have no memory for facts the media does not want them to remember.
One more example of McCarthyism in the Times before we throw in the blue recycling bin. The day before Dennis Rodman lost his cool during a press conference, the Times sports section featured a piece by Scott Cacciola mocking Rodman’s basketball diplomacy project. Cacciola began:
“One is a recovering alcoholic who said he played in N.B.A. games while drunk. Another is a former 3-point N.B.A. specialist whose estranged wife once doused him in gasoline before attempting to set him on fire. Four others are self-professed street-ball legends.”
Every NBA player was a legend in his home-town playgrounds. Getting attacked by a vindictive ex is not a mark of dishonor, nor is being a recovering alcoholic. The snide disapproval had begun well before Rodman blew it in response to Chris Cuomo’s goading on CNN.
Now Rodman himself is dealing with an alcohol problem. But it wasn’t alcoholism that made him want to befriend Kim Jong Un and see Americans and North Koreans being friends for just one day. We’re standing by our song.