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Stories I'm Sick Of Already

The Bush administration is about to bring the military and civilian intelligence together by hiring a former general to run the CIA.

The Justice Department is trying to force journalists to reveal who leaked information about the grand jury testimony involving the BALCO steroid scandal, further eroding the press' ability to report on controversial issues.

And recent circulation figures released for the first six months of 2006 by the Audit Bureau of Circulations shows newspapers continuing to slide in paid subscribers, with the San Francisco Chronicle down 15 percent, the Boston Globe down 8 percent, the Orlando Sentinel down 8 percent and the St. Petersburg Times down 4 percent.

But what do many columnists and media watchers want to talk about? Why there weren't more stories about Comedy Central's Steven Colbert.

I get it. The lack of early stories on his cutting routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner showed how cozy the press corps is with the Bushies and these minions of the Beltway establishment are so self-important they can't take a joke.

Nonsense. Didn't the nation's major newspapers just win Pulitzers for exposing the Jack Abramoff scandal, the CIA secret prison scandal and the NSA spying scandal? Aren't they filled with stories of Bush's waning poll numbers and management miscues? Haven't journalists apologized enough for dropping the ball in the run up to the Iraq War?

For those who want to see conspiracies everywhere, the lack of Colbert coverage can seem a smoking gun. But it sees to me that there was a genuine lack of consensus on whether the guy was funny or insulting, while the president turned out to be funny while making fun of himself.

The controversy over Colbert coverage reminds me of the other overblown issue from last week: the Spanish-language Star Spangled Banner. Turns out, the State Department features several Spanish translations of the banner on its Web site and President Bush reportedly had Spanish versions of the banner and America the Beautiful played at past campaign events.

So Spanish language versions of hallowed American songs were okay until illegal immigrants started protesting?

Frankly, I'm more appalled that more news outlets didn't pay more attention to Donald Rumsfeld's dissembling last week when challenged on statements he made in the run up to war. A former CIA analyst with his own history of saying odd things publicly, reminded Rumsfeld that he claimed to specifically know where Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were before the war -- CNN was one of the few news outlets I saw that bothered to confirm that the analyst was correct and Rumsfeld was being disingenuous.

I guess oversight is in the eye of the beholder.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:36pm]


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