Bob Franken

SECRECY: LESSONS UNLEARNED

June 27, 2007
Secrecy: Lessons Unlearned (Bob Franken)
@ 10:20 am

Big deal: In the name of openness, the CIA is releasing records of the abuses we already knew about in the 1970s. Well, if you really want openness, how about honesty about the abuses of the 21st century?

How about an honest accounting of the torture, secret prisons, domestic spying, eavesdropping, wiretapping and other invasions of privacy that have become routine business by our national intelligence community? They have only become public to the extent that they have been leaked.

Naive? I’m sure many will say so. After all, these folks will argue, the nation’s vicious enemies do not play by such rules and the United States can only protect the way of life we hold so precious by matching brutality with brutality.

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DISTORTING LIGHT

June 26, 2007
Distorting Light (Bob Franken)
@ 10:23 am

Vice President Cheney is not the only one. In fact, rare is the official, particularly the elected one, who embraces unfettered media access to the way he or she conducts the public’s business. Not so rare is the official who holds the media and its reporters in contempt.

It’s not hard to understand. Having one’s foot held to the fire by brilliant reporting like the current Washington Post series on Cheney or the Walter Reed exposés is an altogether unpleasant experience, and the knee-jerk reaction to such stories is to blame the messengers, meaning the media, for such exceptional journalism.

But the bigger problem is that it IS exceptional. More often than not, many, if not most, outlets favor the ratings/circulation-boosting stories over the ones that would truly shed light on important issues. We gloss over essential substance, presenting sound bites as meaningful debate. Worse, many of us are downright careless with facts, to say nothing of context. It’s frequently hard to find the story that doesn’t distort reality to one degree or another.

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THE UNTOUCHABLE

June 25, 2007
The Untouchable (Bob Franken)
@ 10:24 am

That is one creative legal argument Vice President Cheney advances, arguing he does not have to comply with the order requiring members of the executive branch, the Bush administration, to account for the way they handle classified material.

Why? Because the vice president of the United States, under the Constitution, is president of the Senate and casts tie-breaking votes.

Since the Constitution also specifies that only Congress can determine how it operates, Cheney is not bound by the executive order.

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DEVIL’S ISLAND

June 22, 2007
Devil’s Island (Bob Franken)
@ 12:10 pm

I have been to Guantanamo Bay a lot since they brought the first prisoners, uh, “detainees.”After an outcry from reporters the military decided it was better to let us in rather than face questioning over what they were hiding.

So they came up with a tightly controlled tour of the facility. Journalists call it “The Dog and Pony Show.”

I mean TIGHTLY controlled. We had to sign restrictive agreements about what we could say and show. And we weren’t really allowed to see much anyway that departed from the propaganda that these detainees were being “treated in humane fashion”

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THE IDLE MIND (PART 2)

June 21, 2007
The Idle Mind (Part II) (Bob Franken)
@ 12:59 pm

More of today’s random thoughts (which really means I didn’t have anything I wanted to write about):

I wonder if those sickeningly sweet Romney family blogs can be read safely by diabetics. Or, for that matter, anyone with a gag reflex.

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