March 21, 2007 - March 14, 2007
Thursday, March 09, 2006
We will survive.
A role model for the right
A MATTER OF TRUST
This isn't about giving up. It's about being realistic. Republicans in
Congress and the electorate are turning their backs on the President in
droves for what seem to them very good reasons. They're mad about the
Dubai Ports deal, either because they're frightened of the Arabs or
disgusted by the administration's incompetent PR performance. They're
sick of all the excessive spending and the President's very belated and
lame request for a bandaid called the line-item veto. They're mad about
illegal immigration, which continues in an unabated flood because of
the administration's refusal to stop pandering to the Hispanic
vote. They're weary of the war and what appears to be the
declining resolve of the Bush administration to answer opportunistic
critics or to take the bold new steps needed to defuse the powder keg
of Iran. They're embarrassed by all the corruption in Congress, and,
yes, the Dems are corrupt too, but so are the Republicans.
All this negative emotion is building to the usual self-destructive
behaviors by conservatives. Of all times, now is not
the time to pull abortion to
center stage and polarize the electorate with a premature assault on
Roe v. Wade. So, of course, that's exactly what the social
conservatives are in the process of doing. Now is not the time for
mainstream conservatives to suddenly start paying attention to the
tired old isolationist rhetoric of paleo-conservatives like Buchanan
and Buckley. They have nothing new to say, so, of course, bewildered
Republicans of all stripes will be finding their antique restatements
of the Monroe doctrine incredibly compelling. Now is not the time for
Republicans across the country to sit on their hands while the
Democrats whale away at the President in order to regain control of the
House in the 2006 elections, so, of course, that's what they will do.
Fine. All these are time-honored behaviors and Democrats are much more
practiced at putting up with ideological compromises within their own
ranks for the sake of being in power. Many Republicans, on the other
hand, prefer the convenient ideal of simply being right, win or lose,
and especially lose. That's their call.
The only point I'm going to make is that if Republicans do sit on their
hands in the upcoming election campaign, the Democrats will win a
majority in the House of Representatives. And if they win the House, there is no question whatsoever that they
will impeach the President of the United States
American foreign policy for at least two years. The Iraq war effort and
the War on Terror will fall apart. Iran will bluster its way past
Europe and the U.N. to realize its nuclear ambitions. And no nation in
the middle east or in the broader muslim world will believe the United
States has the will to back up its diplomacy with anything but more
Is that okay with you? We will
survive it all -- the humiliations, the foreign and domestic defeats,
the Islamist advances and takeovers, the hideous vindictiveness of a
controlling party consumed by hatred rather than ennui. We may
eventually undo the decades of damage such a two years will wreak upon
us. We'll muddle through it, the way we always do. All I'm asking is
whether you're ready yet, or not. It's a lot of fun being mad at George
W., and by all means continue, but make sure you're comfortable with
the image of him being thrown out of office and possibly into prison as
well. When the hate juggernaut gets truly up and running, it has
considerable momentum and isn't easy to stop. And most of them won't
want to stop until the devastation is complete.
If you're not quite ready yet, here's a little instructional
that will help you. Focus on each little step, and pretty
soon you'll quit worrying about everything else. It's really simple and
easy when you get the hang of it.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The Ace Countdown
Three kills and counting...
Three times now in recent weeks, Hugh
has had one of the guests on his radio show hang up on him.
We wouldn't be tracking this statistic for Sean Hannity, who gets hung
up on fairly frequently for his loud, blustering style. Hugh Hewitt is
a very gentlemanly fellow, though, and when someone bangs down the
phone in his ear it's because he has found a line of questioning the
guest doesn't want to respond to or can't respond to without giving
something vital away. Here at InstaPunk we call that a "kill," and
though we're sure Hugh would never approve, we think it would be fun to
First to dive into the weeds was CNN's Washington correspondent Ed
Henry, who thought his Messerschmidt would be more than a match for
Hugh's P-51. It didn't turn out that way: Mr. Henry grew more and more
distraught at Hugh's questioning of policies and practices at CNN
throughout the interview
then finally took a mortal hit in his engine about here:
HH: Okay, let me ask you, Ed. Are you a
liberal or a conservative?
EH: I'm sorry?
HH: Are you a liberal or a conservative?
EH: I'm neither. I think my reporting is pretty obvious that I'm
HH: Did you vote for John Kerry?
EH: I, like I say, I'm independent.
HH: Well, did you vote in the presidential election?
EH: I'm strictly independent, and I think my coverage shows it.
EH: Thanks for inviting me on, Hugh.
HH: But Ed, is that not a relevant question to ask?
EH: Again, Hugh, I'm already late for a meeting. We've gone through two
segments. I'm sorry that we've continued beyond into a third.
HH: And so, you don't want to answer just that very basic question
before you leave?
EH: Again, we were talking about the Alito coverage.
HH: I know, but I think the Alito coverage...
EH: I appreciate you inviting me on.
HH: I think the Alito coverage represents a left of center opinion that
HH: Am I wrong?
EH: Again, thanks for inviting me on, Hugh. I really appreciate the
HH: And so you're going to hang up and walk away?
EH: I'm...again, you know, it's unfortunate that you told me it was
going to be two segment, and now you've...I'm late...
HH: But Ed, you told me it was going to be the top of the hour, right?
You told me from 5-5:30, which is a total of 18 minutes of air time,
which we're going to cover in these three segments.
EH: Okay. Thanks again, Hugh. I appreciate the invite.
HH: You don't want to talk about your own political...
HH: He hung up. He hung up. CNN hangs up. CNN hangs up. And that's CNN.
That is my point. Now let me give you the background. We booked him
yesterday, and he cancelled. And we booked him today, and he tried to
cancel. And so I said wait a minute, you said...and I cleared it, and I
promoted it, at 5:00, from 5:00 to 5:30, and Ed Henry said yes. And
then today, he said no. And I said wait a minute, you can't say no.
I've done this, I've cleared the show. And then I said come back for a
third segment, and he didn't say no, and he comes back, and he doesn't
want to answer hard questions, because that's CNN.
Second to go down in flames was the admittedly disturbed Helen Thomas,
who maintains the delusion that she is regarded as an objective
journalist. Trying to defend this absurd pretense on the radio
got her into trouble right away, and she began fleeing at top speed.
The climax was reached when Hugh swung the P-51 around on her tail and
politely gunned her down:
HH: Why don't you like George Bush?
HT: I don't like people who want a war.
HH: And you just think he really just decided to go to war...and is
Iraq better off today than it was four years ago?
HT: No. Watch...I want you to read...I want you to look at these
pictures of these detainees and prisoners of war. And you will really
be so disturbed. Why don't you...
HH: What did we do?
HT: Why don't you look at the pictures and call me back, okay?
HH: No, but Helen, before I let you go, I want to know why do you think
Iraq is worse off today than it was four years ago? What was Saddam
doing to his people?
HT: Should they be the grateful dead? A hundred thousand dead? Wounded?
Should all of the people we have killed, Americans, dead? Should they
be happy? I mean, what are you talking about? Did you enlist?
HH: I'm asking...
HT: Are you going to be recruited?
HH: I'm asking, Helen, if you think Saddam was good for Iraq?
HT: Of course not.
HT: But I don't think it was right to go in and to kill thousands of
HH: Do you think he would have killed even more...
HH: ...and that there would have been any free elections?
HT: No, no. I think that we brought it on, and we have really killed
thousands. And I don't know how you can face that fact and look in the
HH: And what would have happened to the Oil For Food program if Saddam
had not been removed?
HT: Look, are you...I'm talking about human beings. Why don't you try
to think of the people you've killed. All of us. It's all on our hands.
HH: Helen, again, I think it was a good thing...
HT: I'm so sorry that you don't care about people who've been slained,
thousands and thousands. I mean, worry about them.
HH: What about...
HT: They can't vote.
HT: Okay, goodbye.
HH: I lost her. Oh, well. Ed Henry and Helen Thomas. We'll return
The third victim was pollster James Zogby, who was trying to perpetrate
a methodologically and ideologically skewed poll result regarding U.S.
troops in Iraq. After they both cleared their guns, there was some
preliminary ducking and dodging about all the poll particulars Zogby
refused to discuss, and then Zogby thought he could stop the whole
JZ: You know what, Hugh? Where are you going with this?
HH: I'm trying to figure out whether it should be trusted, John.
JZ: I am a very patriotic American, and did a poll objectively...
HH: Of course you are. John...
JZ: I said that there are security reasons that we're not going to get
HH: John, why would a...
JZ: Talk to the Vice President of the United States if you want to.
HH: Why would the identity of the military man who asked you to talk
about this be a security issue?
JZ: Because I don't like your attitude, Hugh. Do you want to talk about
HH: No, I want to get...
JZ: Is there something with the poll that troubles you?
HH: Yes, there's a lot. Why were no demographics released?
JZ: All the demographics were indeed released, Hugh.
JZ: All of the demographics were released.
HH: How many of these...
JZ: You see, you've got to harden your facts before you harden your
HH: Where is the racial and ethnic...
JZ: We released all of the demographics, all of them.
HH: Where are the racial and ethic groups statistics put forward?
JZ: All the racial characteristics, the branches...you know what, Hugh?
HH: Are those on your website?
JZ: I'm going to make an agreement with you right now. You get yourself
better informed on this poll, and I'll come back on your show.
HH: John, I've got your entire thing here. You have not released the
JZ: You are clearly uninformed.
HH: You have not released the demographics.
HH: You have not...he hung up. He hung up. That's John Zogby, not a
Many thanks to the Radioblogger
website for posting the complete transcripts. We'll be back at you with
more air-to-air combat as it happens.
Helen Thomas has struck again, this time at thw President
and she went down in flames just like she did with Hugh. For those who
are marvelling at the moonbattery surrounding the third anniversary of
the War in Iraq, you won't want to miss this completely different
on "unacceptable" U.S. casualties.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A Helping Hand
former CNN anchor updating his resume
THE AWFUL TRUTH
can't help feeling bad for Aaron Brown, the brilliant former anchor of
CNN's News Night with Aaron Brown. He was perfect for the job, which
really couldn't have been adequately hosted by any small sharp-faced
mammal whose name wasn't
Aaron Brown. He did what was expected of him and yet he still got
fired. No wonder he's still agonizing about what went wrong and why he
lost his place in the sun. The good
is, he's figured out who's to blame: Fox News, Natalee
Holloway, and all of us:
Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown has
suggested that television viewers are responsible for the deterioration
of broadcast news as much as the TV networks themselves. "In the
perfect democracy that I believe TV news is, it's not enough to say you
want serious news, you have to watch it," he told an audience in
Medford, OR this week. As reported by the Medford Mail Tribune, Brown,
speaking to a First Amendment forum, noted that while CNN was spending
a fortune covering the 2004 tsunami, Fox News was channeling its
resources into the missing teenager Natalee Holloway. The contest, he
noted, was won hands down by Fox. The result, he suggested, was not
lost on his former employer, CNN. "The news in this country is a
business," he said. "You might not like to think of it that way, but it
is." He suggested that television, instead of being diverted by scores
of late-breaking trivial stories, ought to focus on the 6-10 "really
important stories" that occur each day.
It was because CNN spent so much money covering the tsunami that they
could no longer afford to pay the greatest newsman in the country his
salary, which would have been a lot higher in the first place in the
ideal world in which news is not a business, but a kind of priesthood
led by a handful of geniuses who have the brains to tell the rest
of us what we should think about everything.
When he lays it on the line like that, it makes us feel guilty. We know
we should have been soaking up Aaron Brown's wisdom instead of watching
slogging through the landfills of the Caribbean looking for headlines
and missing blondes. But we were bad. We ignored Aaron, sometimes for
years at a time. We'd like to make it up to him. Here's our best shot.
Somebody as drily acerbic and intellectual as Aaron Brown probably
doesn't know how to blow his own horn enough. We suspect his resume
needs a touch-up, a kind of "greatest hits" roundup of his deftest
observations about the news. So we did some googling and came up with
an array of material he might like to incorporate into his
curriculum vitae. First up is this brief summary from Wikipedia
Aaron Brown (born November 10, 1948 in
Hopkins, Minnesota to Jewish immigrants from Russia) is the former host
of NewsNight with Aaron Brown on the television network CNN.
Aaron Brown is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota. He dropped
out after his freshman year to work at a local radio station and never
Brown has over twenty-six years of experience in journalism and was
CNN's lead anchor during breaking news. He also hosted "CNN Presents,"
a documentary series, and was co-anchor during election coverage.
Prior to working at CNN Brown was the anchor for ABC's ABC World News
Now, and also did anchoring duties at both KIRO-TV (CBS) and KING-TV
(NBC) in Seattle.
That's all you really need in the way of hard facts. The rest of the
content should be devoted to illuminating the incredible insight,
integrity, and objectivity of his reporting. That's why we (and he) are
so lucky that the Media
has been collecting direct quotes by the great man
for several years now -- available via their search function. Here are
our nominations for topics and punchlines Aaron should set before
potential employers in his job search.
the victims of Hurricane Katrina
“I don’t know if it’s race or class, to
be honest....You do get the
feeling that poor people in the country get shafted.... Do you think
black America’s sitting there thinking, ‘If these were middle class
white people, there’d be cruise ships in New Orleans?’...Do you think
the reason that they’re not there or the food is not there or the
cruise ships aren’t there or all this stuff that you believe should be
there, [and] isn’t there, is a matter of race and/or class?”
— Aaron Brown to Democratic
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones on CNN’s NewsNight, September 2,
Yes, of course. Politicians in this country can't wait to not do
anything for poor black people. It gets them such great press when
Jesse shows up on the doorstep screaming "Racism!" Aaron's Murrow-like
sagacity about such low political motives is probably one of the
strongest levees we have against a terrible flood of right-wing racism.
criticizes Democrats, Durbin compares U.S. troops to Stalin & Pol
“The Washington Times: ‘Rove’s
mockery of 9/11 liberals riles
Democrats.’ Karl Rove making, I thought, some silly comments in a week
of silly comments, with the dumb Dick Durbin comments for which he
apologized. Mr. Rove will not apologize, I guarantee you.”
— CNN’s Aaron Brown going through the next day’s newspaper headlines on
NewsNight, June 23. 2005
This one shows that Aaron has mastered journalistic math
which features equations
like (2,000 casualties = 60,000 casualties) and (100 million murdered =
535 criticized). Also (100 million < 535) if the Democrat
on the lefthand side
of the equation mumbles a half-assed apology
while the righthand side stands mute.
“Long ago, the principal argument for the war, weapons of mass
destruction, proved wrong — they didn’t exist. Everyone knows that now,
even if we aren’t exactly sure how the intelligence service and the
administration got it so wrong. One answer comes in the so-called
‘Downing Street memo’ written by a British intelligence official who
says the WMD threat was deliberately exaggerated to sell the war.
Neither the President nor the British Prime Minister would acknowledge
that — how could they? — but the memo is out there, along with the two
allies today, side by side by side.”
— Aaron Brown on CNN’s NewsNight, June 7, 2005
Here, Aaron produces a pretty little cornucopia of journalistic
talents: convenient misremembering of the recent past, restatement of
an oft-repeated but debatable supposition as a proven fact, and the
presentation of a partisan charge as if there were no reason of any
kind to dispute it. All wrapped in the most perfectly superior tone.
God, what a talent.
Mark Felt identifying himself as Deep Throat
“I want to spin that in an absolutely heroic way, that what actually he
saw happening was the political side of Washington trying to take
control of an institution with enormous power that needs to operate
outside of whoever is in government at any given time....I don’t know,
‘hero,’ that’s not a word I throw around. But it just looking at the
landscape at the time, what Washington was like, it does make a kind of
moral sense to me.”
— Aaron Brown discussing Felt’s role as a Washington Post informant on
CNN’s NewsNight, May 31.2005
It's always cool when journalists presume to possess moral sense. It's
kind of like snipers and hitmen waxing eloquent about the surpassing
virtue of good marksmanship. You're so impressed at the misdirection
that you almost forget the underlying question. What would constitute a
to a Washington journalist? Go, Aaron!
the Plight of Poor, Poor John Kerry
“Okay, time to do morning papers....Stars and Stripes starts it off:
‘U.S. Troops Control Most of Fallujah,’ the headline. ‘U.S. Officials
Believe Most Insurgents Have Fled the City.’ Look at this picture here,
if you can. ‘Troops’ Bravery Honored in Iraq.’ These are all Purple
Heart winners. Someday, one of them will run for President and someone
will say they didn’t earn the Purple Heart. Welcome to America.”
— CNN’s Aaron Brown on the November 10 2004 NewsNight displaying a
front-page photo of a line of U.S. troops in Iraq receiving their
Maureen Dowd is the queen of shoehorning large-scale (and frequently
tragic) stories into cocktail party metaphors for the purpose of
scoring catty points against her political foes. No one can hope to
best her at this signature
, but every mainstream journalist has to demonstrate
basic competence in this skill. Aaron has.
vs. Bush military records
“One guy went to Vietnam and the other guy didn’t. The guy who went
most likely could have avoided going, but didn’t. The guy who didn’t go
made it clear he had no interest in fighting a war he says he
supported. To the extent that any of this matters all these years later
— and I’m not sure any of it does — that’s really it.”
— Aaron Brown on CNN’s NewsNight, September 8. 2004
The artful summation is what broadcast journalists really get paid for.
You've got to know what to include (one side), what to leave out (the other
), and how to take credit for the elegant simplicity of your
misrepresentations. Nobody can say Aaron doesn't excel at artful
the Kerry fundraiser at which Whoopi Goldberg compared GWB to her
“I don’t know about this as a front page story, we could argue about
whether it’s news or not: ‘Republicans question Kerry’s “heart and
soul;” Cite vulgar remarks at concert attended by him.’ There was an
event in New York yesterday. Got a little crazy. Anyway, I’m not sure
it’s front page. But it’s their paper and they get to do what they
– CNN anchor Aaron Brown previewing the next day’s Washington Times on
the July 9 2004 NewsNight, which did not otherwise mention the
The news is what mainstream journalists say it is. Many simply ignore
events they don't wish to anoint as news. A brilliant few actually go
out of their way to ridicule events that look like news to their less
talented competitors. Aaron is one of those brilliant few. All together
the charge of right-wing bias in journalism
“Is it, do you think, I mean this is a criticism that we get a lot,
particularly from the Left, that we in the media generally have not
been aggressive enough in reporting on bad news and that we have been
too willing to accept the administration’s message on good news?”
— CNN anchor Aaron Brown to former CBS and NBC correspondent Marvin
Kalb, now a senior fellow with Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the
Press, Politics, and Public Policy, on the May 11 2004 NewsNight.
Playing it straight down the middle is the Holy Grail of journalism.
Wait. That's not right. Convincing your audience that you're playing it
straight down the middle is the Holy Grail of journalism. Any way you
can. In this quest, Aaron Brown is Sir Galahad.
Bush campaign strategy
“The best defense is a good offense, they say, and the Bush campaign
seems to be buying. On a week when the President and Vice President
will go before the 9/11 commission, on a week when the Supreme Court
will hear a case to open the records of the Vice President’s energy
task force and, on a week that will end on May 1, the anniversary of
the President’s speech declaring major combat over in Iraq, the Vice
President took to the stump today to say John Kerry’s judgment on
national security is questionable....It is a somewhat strange set of
circumstances that 33-year-old questions are being asked of a candidate
who volunteered to go to Vietnam and served with distinction, however
– Aaron Brown on CNN’s NewsNight, April 26. 2004
The broadcast journalist lives in the arena of the spoken word, which
opens up opportunities not quite as available to print journalists and
pundits. One of these is the smooth non-sequitur, that combination of
statements in a sequence that seems to make sense but does nothing of
the kind. In the example above, Aaron pulls off the astounding feat of
using the exact same illogic for his own purposes that he is falsely
accusing the President of using for campaign purposes. Don't see it
yet? Read it all the way through again. When Aaron declares it
"strange" that "33-year-old questions are being asked," he is implying
that Bush's stated doubts about Kerry's national
are based on Kerry's Vietnam War record rather
than his presidential campaign rhetoric and his votes in the Senate.
The Bush campaign never said any such thing. So what is it that's
really "strange" here? That it's Aaron who is defending Kerry's
national security credentials, not with reference to his contemporary
political record, but with an historical artifact he himself has just deemed an irrelevancy
that the senator "volunteered to go to Vietnam and served with
distinction." It's beautifully done and proof positive that Aaron
belongs in the front rank of broadcast journalists.
“The Dallas Morning News leads politics. ‘A New Dean or the Old One?
Candidate’s Ultra-Liberal Label May Peel Back to Reveal Moderate Bent.’
In fact, I think Dr. Dean is more moderate than ultra-liberal, and so
do a lot of other people. But I’ll probably get in trouble from
conservatives for saying that.”
– CNN’s Aaron Brown previewing selected articles from the next day’s
newspapers, January 22, 2004 NewsNight.
We've shown you that Aaron is schooled in numerous sophisticated
journalistic techniques. But technique must go hand-in-hand with good
old-fashioned political acumen. How might our recent history have
turned out differently if Aaron hadn't been so perceptive about the
of Howard Dean? It sends a chill down your spine, doesn't it?
“Once upon a time, a scientist named Galileo said the Earth was round,
and the political leaders of the time said, ‘No, no, Galileo it’s
flat,’ and Galileo got life under house arrest for his little theory.
Today, the vast majority of scientists will tell you the Earth is
getting warmer and most would agree that industry is at least in part
to blame. So far nobody’s gone to jail for saying that, which doesn’t
mean the idea isn’t squarely at the center of a political dust up – and
not an insignificant one at that because, if the charges leveled
against the White House are true, an important environmental question
is being twisted or ignored for the sake of politics.”
– CNN’s Aaron Brown on NewsNight, June 19.2003 Galileo was actually
punished by the Catholic Church for saying the Earth revolves around
The casual observer might not think so, but journalists have to know a
lot of stuff, even about science and things like that. It's where they
get all those brilliant comparisons they make to explain the truth to
dummies like you and me. Yeah, Aaron's not going to get an A+ for the
Galileo part of his comparison, which didn't come out completely 100
percent right, but he has to know more about Global Warming than he
does about Galileo, doesn't he? It's been on TV
and in all the papers, and you know he reads the papers. Or the
Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction
“Rush Limbaugh has been more than a bit unkind to me more than once.
He’s also been unkind to Al Franken, who in turn has been unkind to
him. He’s taken shots at Michael Wolff, New York magazine’s media
critic and Michael is hardly the retiring sort. So, here we all are,
Al, Michael, and me, and the subject is Rush – made worse, no doubt, by
the permanent smirk that seems to be attached to my face.”
– CNN’s Aaron Brown on the October 10 2003 NewsNight after Limbaugh
announced he was seeking treatment for an addiction to prescription
Goodness and fairness are important too. It wasn't nice for Rush
Limbaugh to do things like repeat some of the quotes we've been
reviewing here, which means -- if you poseess the exquisite moral sense
of an Aaron Brown -- that it's perfectly right and proper to smirk at
the very public personal troubles of Rush Limbaugh. In fact, if your'e
good enough and fair enough, it's practically mandatory to smirk
and make cruel jokes, and express every kind of delight in your
erstwhile adversary's misfortune. After all, everyone's only human.
, of course.
Schwarzenegger's repeal of the California automobile tax
“With a stroke of the pen he cost the state tens and tens of millions
of dollars in that car tax money.”
– CNN’s Aaron Brown on the November 17 2003 NewsNight.
There are certain inviolable commandments
about life. Even for journalists. One of these is that all the money
generated by a capitalist system really belongs to the government,
which means that personal income is the amount of money the government
generously allows you to keep, and any cut in taxes is to be counted an
intolerable cost to the government. What can we say? Aaron Brown is a devout
the Ten Commandments controversy in Alabama
“A number of things have been said...one is that this is, in some
respects, a replay of what we saw in Alabama a generation and a half
ago, when the Governor defied a federal court order on segregation,
which he said was unlawful. Can you tell me why you view this as
different, if in fact you view it as different, from what Governor
– CNN’s Aaron Brown to to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who would
not remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the state’s Supreme
Court building, on NewsNight, Aug. 20.
We said certain
These are not to be confused with the Ten Commandments, which are the
last refuge of evil segregationists, as everyone knows. Well,
journalists know it anyway. At least, Aaron Brown does. Thank God.
the heinous murder of Uday and Qusay
“Why not wait ‘em out, starve ‘em out? Try and take ‘em alive as
opposed to engaging in this gun battle? Once they had ‘em surrounded
and cornered, they weren’t going anywhere.”
– CNN’s Aaron Brown to retired General David Grange on NewsNight, July
Well, one of the Ten Commandments is probably okay. The one about not
killing, especially if the ones we're talking about killing are sworn
enemies of the United States of America who have raped and tortured and
murdered thousands of people under cover of our network's deal to give
them favorable press as long as we get to hang out at the palace with
them. What ordinary American idiots don't know, of course, is that Uday
and Qusay weren't such bad
when you got to know them, and much more entertaining to dine
with than that cowboy criminal in the White House. Uh, where were we?
Right. Killing. It's very very bad. And probably just another political
the African uranium deal
Aaron Brown: “There is, as you know, a story that’s been circulating on
the Web today that there was at some point a conversation between the
President and a CIA consultant where the consultant directly told the
President that this African uranium deal was bogus. Do you have any
reporting that supports the idea that the President was directly told
it was fake before he included it in the State of the Union speech?”
David Ensor: “I have no way to confirm that story, and it is somewhat
suspect I would say, but we’ll have to check it.”
– Exchange on CNN’s NewsNight on July 9. The Internet news site which
originated the story had acknowledged it was a hoax and published a
complete retraction four hours before Brown repeated the charge on his
Speaking of cover-ups, a journalist always has to be on the alert (a la
) for the story that is being suppressed just because it's
false when everybody who is anybody knows it's really true, or sort of
true, or should be true, because it would make such a damn
. And that's journalism in a nutshell, which is where you
can always find the mind of an Aaron Brown.
the Wellstone Funeral
“I find myself at exactly the right place for a reporter tonight. I’m
annoyed at both political parties, and you can’t be more fair and
balanced than that. Last night’s event in Minneapolis – calling it a
memorial insults the dead – was totally tasteless....Equally shameless
has been the reaction received here. There may in fact be non-partisans
upset with the event, they may in fact exist. They did not make
themselves known in our in-box today. Instead, what we received was a
series of identical letters....I don’t mean thematically identical; I
mean literally identical. Word for word....So here is what last night
proved: One side can be tasteless and the other side has the computer
skills to cut and paste under the guise of genuine outrage. Which is
worse? To me it’s a tie.”
– Anchor Aaron Brown’s “Page Two” commentary at the start of CNN’s
NewsNight, October 30.2002
Yes, we remember the Wellstone funeral too. No matter how long we live,
we will NEVER get over the ugliness of the fact that Republicans
objected to it and had the unmitigated gall to communicate their
objections to the mass media via boilerplate language. It was
unspeakable then, it's unspeakable now, and it represents a permanent
dishonoring of the memory of Paul Wellstone. And the Democrats
shouldn't have done what they did either, like Aaron pointed out.
(Saint) Jimmy Carter
“There is hardly a troubled place in the world he hasn’t visited,
worked in, in a quest to bring peace and spread democratic
values....Jimmy Carter told Larry King today he is slowing down some,
cutting back. Age makes globe-trotting especially hard. But in many
places, dusty and difficult places, James Earl Carter has brought hope
and dispelled, as well as anyone alive these days, the vision of the
– Aaron Brown on CNN’s NewsNight, October 11.2002
Great men. It takes one to know one
And Aaron Brown is one for the ages.
This brings us full circle. We began by imagining journalism as a sort
of priesthood instead of a grubby business under the thumb of the
entertainment industry, and we've arived at the kind of
larger-than-life role model that a man like Aaron Brown has always done
his best to live up to. In the process, we've learned much. As the
materials we've assembled demonstrate, Aaron Brown is simply too good
for the news business as it is practiced by for-profit corporations.
That's why we think he should mail his updated resume to the NPR/PBS
combine, where they must be seeking a replacement for spiritual leaders
like Bill Moyers (retired, awaiting canonization) and Daniel Schorr
(awaiting retirement but possibly immortal). He'd be a good fit there.
In our opinion. But what do we know? We're only human.