Over the weekend, the spouse and I decided to upgrade our cable service, and add a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for an extra $9.95/month. This was very good timing, as Monday began the televised version of the Al Franken Show from Air America.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it’s one hour (well, technically 45-50 minutes plus commercials) of the radio show, televised on Sundance Channel, featuring some of the guests and comedy bits done during the three-hour broadcast. It’s on at 11:30pm, then repeated at 2:30am and 7:00am;  not exactly the best hours for people who have a daytime life, so I record it and the spouse and I watch it the next evening.

Last night, we were watching the telecast of the Tuesday show, and one of the guests was Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist. As the interview went on, talk moved to the Downing Street Memo (or Minutes), and I’m glad I had the show recorded. Here’s the section of the interview I transcribed:

AL FRANKEN: A lot of people, including myself, have been saying that this [DSM] hasn’t been getting enough play. You disagree…

FRANK RICH: I do disagree. Could it have gotten somewhat better play from the New York Times, which played it inside, as I recall, but had at least two columnists — not me, but write about it in detail. My feeling is that it didn’t land, and it didn’t land because it wasn’t news. What…we all knew this, and this is another confirmation. But we knew this from Richard Clarke’s book. We knew this from Bob Woodward’s book. I think this country…

FRANKEN: Paul O’Neill’s book.

RICH: Paul O’Neill’s book…we knew the fix was in. The country knows this, and my own theory about why people didn’t get up in arms about this memo, including in newsrooms, is not any political agenda, but just a feeling that this country is really going to turn on this war, and if you look at the polls…

KATHERINE LANPHER: What do you mean, “turn on the war”?

RICH: They think it was a mistake. Every poll is showing that a clear majority of this country thinks that it was a mistake to go in, and you know that part of the reason they think it was a mistake is that every one does know that we were lied to about whether there was…

FRANKEN: Yeah, but there’s a difference between “a mistake” and lied to.

RICH: Right, but the polls don’t make that distinction…I’m sure if they did, people would have various reasons why it was a mistake…

Frank Rich, I think, is being a bit naive here. I also think he’s putting way too much faith in both the mainstream media (MSM) and the mainstream public (MSP).

I think of myself as a pretty politically savvy person. I do a lot of reading, I follow the news to the best of my ability. I spend time on blogs (probably too much time, judging from my lack of housekeeping). But last year was a pretty hectic year. I had a job (which ended in October, but that’s another story). The spouse and I moved from his parents’ home (where we were staying for a year getting our lives together) to a new apartment, and it took a while to get internet access. My mom was dying of cancer and heart disease, and I was concentrating on her as much as possible. I read a few books, but not Clarke’s or Woodward’s or O’Neill’s. I really never heard any mention of the intelligence being “fixed”, of the circumstances being arranged to produce the results desired. How many more ordinary working folks, members of the MSP, are in that same boat?

In addition, just as there’s a difference between “a mistake” and being lied to, there’s a big difference between words in a book that the right-wing talkers can chalk up to “disgruntled ex-employees” and “liberal speculation”, and an actual document that may be a greater ground for impeachment than a stained blue dress. (I could also ask how many members of the MSP actually look “inside” the New York Times, but that may bruise Rich’s tender ego…)

We’ve got to keep up the pressure on the media outlets to cover this story, especially John Conyers’ efforts for a full investigation, and coverage of groups such as After Downing Street. The ordinary person can’t decide if this is important if they don’t know about it.

0 0 votes
Article Rating