Nuke the Messenger

I’ve long believed (in any administration), that when you start blaming the media, it’s a clear sign that your problems are your own, and the media is just a convenient way to distract attention from yourself. Bush and the Republicans have taken that to the extreme this week by claiming that the New York Time’s articles about the government’s secret bank account monitoring are directly aiding terrorists, with some pundits suggesting that the reporters involved should be tried for treason.

Read Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post (link via Atrios), who asks, “But not once has the White House definitively answered this question: How are any of these disclosures actually impairing the pursuit of terrorists?”

How does it possibly matter to a terrorist whether the government got a court order or not? Or whether Congress was able to exercise any oversight? The White House won’t say. In fact, it can’t say.

By contrast, it does matter to us.

This column has documented, again and again , that when faced with a potentially damaging political problem, White House strategist Karl Rove’s response is not to defend, but to attack.

The potentially damaging political problem here is that the evidence continues to grow that the Bush White House’s exercise of unchecked authority in the war on terror poses a serious threat to American civil liberties and privacy rights. It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that an American president used the mechanisms of national security to spy on his political enemies.

So, as usual, Bush can’t make a case for actually thwarting terrorists or protect the United States, but instead trots out fear to mask his administration’s blatant, dangerous, and ongoing power grab.

Sigh. Two and a half more fucking years.

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