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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, February 9, 2006

There he goes again.

It's just like clockwork. Whenever Dubya is having political difficulties, his administration starts bringing out the terrorist bogeyman again. And, sure enough, the prez's problems over his illegal NSA surveillance program and the uproar over his new welfare program for the rich and corporate federal budget have done the trick one more time.

This morning, Dubya told the nation about a 2002 al-Qaeda plot to smash a plane into the Library Tower in Los Angeles. According to the prez, that plot shows how the threat of terrorism is still real. Dubya did not explain why the previously classified details of the plot could not be made public until a moment when their revelation would be politically advantageous.


Another convenient terror tale

Alleged terror target [left]; alleged president [right].
[Photos: Kim D Johnson/AP; Mark Wilson/Getty Images]


Being oh such a cynic, I have to wonder how a terror plot from four years ago shows anything about the current threat of such action by al-Qaeda. Or any other terrorists, for that matter. I mean, that plot took place only months after 9/11, well before the Department of Homeland Security and all of Dubya's other anti-terror efforts really got rolling. The country is much better protected against terrorists now, isn't it? Well, unless all of the anti-terror efforts by the administration have been ineffective. [Does the president know something else he's not telling us?]

What do you bet that the US terror alert level is about to be jacked up to orange again?

Note to the NY Times: You might want to suggest that reporters avoid writing stuff like the following paragraph from today's story by David Stout:

Counterterrorism officials said months ago that the Los Angeles skyscraper (Mr. Bush mistakenly called it the "Liberty Tower") would be a logical target for a West Coast attack, although Mr. Bush had not spoken in detail before about the officials' suspicions. Given the building's iconic status, it is easy to see why America-haters would rejoice at seeing it fall — as some rejoiced when the Twin Towers in New York collapsed. [Emphasis added]

While I'll give Stout credit for pointing out that Dubya didn't know the correct name of the building in LA, where did the last sentence in the paragraph come from? To whom exactly is the Library Tower iconic? I'd never heard of the building before and, having spent almost half my life living in southern California, I doubt that the Library Tower is 'iconic' to many people there. It's certainly not iconic to people around the US in the same sense that the Twin Towers were. Either Stout made up this 'fact' about the building, or he got it from someone close to the prez. In either case, an editor should have questioned the statmement.

Even worse was the bit about how 'America-haters' would 'rejoice' in the Library Tower's destruction. Says who? And where did the term 'America-haters' come from? If it's Stout's language, it should have been edited out in favor of a more neutral term. [We'd suggest 'terrorists.'] And if it came from some Dubya administration minion, that person should have been identified.

As the paragraph stands, it's propaganda, not journalism.

Via Reuters and NY Times.

| | Posted by Magpie at 11:12 AM | Get permalink




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