Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bob Schieffer - Part-Time Journalist or Full-Time Courtier?

Magic Lantern Slide of Dog Jumping Through a Hoop
 (National Media Museum 1830)

Well it looks like Bob Schieffer of CBS is at it again. Back in 2010 I posted a piece about him where he went after the Salahi's for crashing a White House party. He didn't want to investigate the Bush administration torture program but he got all indignant about the Salahi's crashing a White House party. He wanted no accountability for war criminals but he wanted to throw the book at the Party crashers for their hideous crime.

Now he has focused his wrath on yet another enemy of the state by going after Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who has exposed government wrongdoing in the illegal NSA spying scandal.


Our "serious" journalist, Bob Schieffer tells his viewers:

"I like people who are willing to stand up to the government. As a reporter, it's my job to do that from time to time."

From time to time, Bob? Wow, you're just a part-timer? Shouldn't that be your job all of the time? Bob then goes on to say:

Some of the people I admire most are in the government

What? Where did that come from? That's oddly out of place in the discussion, isn't it? Well then again, maybe it's not. I submit that this oddly placed statement actually let's us know the truth about Bob's kind of journalism. His admiration for the people in government that he's so anxious to get on the record may help explain why he only stands up to government from time to time. You see in Bob's world, what David Sirota calls "Permanent Washington," you defend others who are also a part of permanent Washington. A long time ago this would have been called circling the wagons.  When anyone dares to challenge the narrative created and nurtured by permanent Washington insiders they all circle the wagons to protect each other by attacking the person or persons who have the audacity to challenge their rule. It's how they turn an almost certain defeat on the merits into a victory through propaganda. They are especially incensed when the challenger is someone they consider beneath them. You know, someone who didn't go to the right schools and get the right piece of paper, etc. 

Bob then goes on to wax poetic about giants in the Civil rights movement to try to use their stature to raise his own.

"Men and women who led the civil rights movement - Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. - they are true heroes".

Now who could argue with that? But what Bob fails to remember or has conveniently forgotten is that Martin Luther King, Jr. was himself spied upon by the FBI. I hardly think Martin Luther King, Jr., were he alive today, would be on Bob's side for obvious reasons.

Bob also tries to pretend that he's really not defending what the government has done:

Schieffer noted that his criticism of Snowden did not mean that he approved of the programs that he helped reveal to the public, saying "I don’t know yet if the government has over-reached since 9/11 to reinforce our defenses, and we need to find out.

Bob says we need to find out if the government has over-reached. Ok Bob, put your part-time journalist hat on and start pressuring some of those people in government who you admire so much and find out what in the world they are doing. After all isn't that what journalists are supposed to do? Maybe if you and others like you were actually doing your  job by speaking truth to power, maybe people like Mr. Snowden wouldn't have to risk their lives to become whistle-blowers. 

But Bob isn't really interested in investigating this story.  That self-serving comment he made is just for show. We know this because Bob also said this in his commentary:

"I think what we have in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us. I don’t know what he is beyond that, but he is no hero. If he has a valid point—and I’m not even sure he does—he would greatly help his cause by voluntarily coming home to face the consequences."

So after Bob tells us how we need to find out if the government over-reached he then tells us he isn't even sure Mr. Snowden has a valid point by showing all Americans what their government is doing. What? For crying out loud Bob if you feel like this I'm not very confident that you really are interested in getting to the bottom of this NSA spying program any more than you were interested in getting to the bottom of the Bush era torture program. 

Face it Bob, you aren't even a part-time journalist, are you? You are just another Washington courtier who sucks up to power by doing it's dirty work. Admit it, the whole purpose of your commentary was to attack the whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, who is doing the job you should be doing by holding the friends you admire so much accountable for their bad deeds. The rest of your commentary, that is wrapped around this attack of Mr. Snowden, is mere  camouflage to fool the uninformed.