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Abuse Week – Behind Bush’s latest assault on the press. By Jacob Weisberg

Abuse Week – Behind Bush’s latest assault on the press. By Jacob Weisberg

Newsweek hardly bears sole responsibility for rioting deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which were fomented by anti-American agitators and reflect both a pathological religious fanaticism and anger over many other issues. What’s more, Bush’s flacks are in no position to prosecute this case. When it comes to torturing inmates to death, sexually humiliating prisoners, and otherwise doing our best to outrage the religious sensitivities of devout Muslims, Scott McClellan has nothing to say. But faced with an erroneous charge that an American guard might have insulted a copy of the Quran, he turns livid and demands satisfaction. There’s something of a pot-and-kettle problem here.

But the problem with the Bush administration excoriating Newsweek’s insensitivity to Islam isn’t just hypocrisy. There’s a larger issue of bad faith and an underlying lack of appreciation for the necessary role of a free and independent press. With increasing forcefulness, Bush has tried to undermine the legitimacy of the media, or at least that subculture within it that shows any tendency to challenge him. When the Bushies say there ought to be more of a check on the Fourth Estate, they aren’t really asking for more care and accuracy on the part of journalists. They’re expressing frustration that they still have to put up with criticism at all.

Reminds me of a certain Wilco song…

It’s become so obvious
You are so oblivious to yourself

You’re tied in a knot
But I’m not gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black
Every song’s a comeback
Every moment’s a little bit later

I guess Bush hopes we’ve forgotten about everything else they’ve done.

Categories: Politics.