L'affaire du collier

"Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]"

Some Time journalists have expressed concern that the company's decision could have a chilling effect on their relations with sources and could hinder their newsgathering efforts.

"We're very much worried about what kind of signal this sends," Ms. Tumulty said. In Washington, she added, "confidentiality is the lubricant of journalism."

In re the summer’s mini-Rove scandal: LI has been searching for historical parallels to write about Matt Cooper’s revealing email, as published by Newsweek. It throws a nice light on the mores of the press corps. This is how the sausage is packaged (incidentally, last night we saw Alain Tanner’s excellent film, La Salamandre (1971). So we have seen how sausage is really packaged). We all knew that most stories in the media peddle a pro-government, pro-corporationist agenda; but the question is, what do the puppets, ie the journalists, think they are doing? How does a corps that exudes such arriviste arrogance negotiate its own perpetual surrender? It takes a major event – for instance, being led into a war desired by a lobby in D.C. – to show us that the techniques that sell tickets to and toy spinoffs of The War of the Worlds are now routinely used to sell every war and policy lurch. It is a world of press releases, with the voice of the third person narrator in your average news story turning out to belong to somebody from the dread State or the dread Corporation or other of the infinite band of dimwits working the American hypno-zone. They have simple desires. They want to steal your money, kill your brothers and sisters, and erect a large tombstone over your every opportunity for joy. The journalist has the complicated but rewarding task to make this seem inevitable – as inevitable as seeing the latest movie or watching the latest tv show. Press criticism has become a lazy blogger past-time. The point of it, though, is to pluck out those moments of ersatz necessity and lay them bare in all their essential ridiculousness. Though it is true that murder and the destinies of nations are at stake, it is also true that fate, here, is operating in the comic mode.

Incidentally, a story about Rove in the NYT this morning ends in this appropriately lubricated manner: “A former official who has worked for Mr. Bush said: "This president is Mr. Alamo. He sees the hordes coming over the hill and he heads for the barricades. And not to raise a white flag."

Wow. Former official risks all to deliver world class flattery to former boss. Punishment: a three hundred per job on K Street. No wonder the NYT scribe guaranteed him anonymity. Just think – if there were more Cooper like surrenders of anonymous sources, we wouldn’t have such choice bits to thicken the stew of sycophancy and propaganda. Our very freedoms would be threatened.

PS -- Press auto-fellation watch:

This, from David Carr's review of In Cold Blood in today's NYT:

"Fame and all of its discontents were persistent obsessions for Capote, which might explain why he seemed willing to do almost anything to obtain them. While reporting "In Cold Blood," the masterwork that serves as the frame for both films, Capote told some lies to tell a truth. As such, he became an object lesson in how journalistic truth is told and obtained. It is easy to forget in the current context of journalists willing to go to jail to protect sources that much of the profession involves less noble imperatives."

PPS -- LI sometimes worries that our p.o.v. is so from Mars that we are separated, forever, from our fellow mooing herds of Americans. We too, wait in the slaughterhouse stockyard. But somehow, we don't have our little bovine head on straight. In any case, the views given above are reflected in this article in the NYObs by Christopher Lehman.


Brian Miller said…
I'm so sick of hearing about W's Texas manliness. He's no more Texan than I am Scottish.

I really see the Imperial rot in full force. of course, I'm not fond of the empires waiting in the wings, either (China), so I can't say this is a "good" situation.
roger said…
Brian, I agree that it is rather sickening, but it is not just about Bush. This merely transposes journalist slather that used to be all about CEOs in the 80s and 90s. Whenever something criminal is about to be hatched in the governing classes, we can expect advance warning in terms of outrageous praise for a cardboard set of qualities attributed to the chief actors. Hence, the idea that testosterone is required to, say, fire 14,000 people without cause from a major company -- always a boner inflator in the biz press. Interesting how the attributes are borrowed from the working class, otherwise forgotten: muscularity turned into a cartoon.