This is one of my all-time fave Saint-Saens movements from Carnival of the Animals, and some lovely snaps of underwater life. It has absolutely nothing to do with the post, but I thought you might enjoy it anyway…and your kitties, too.
When the Monica Lewinsky story broke, the Times and the Post — like nearly every other news outlet in the country — dedicated extraordinary resources to covering it. The day after the story broke, the Times and the Post ran a combined total of 19 articles about it, five of them on the front page. Twenty-eight reporters combined to write more than 20,000 words about a “scandal” that boiled down to whether the president told the truth about a consensual relationship that was ruled immaterial to a civil lawsuit that was thrown out of court for being entirely without merit. That’s 28 reporters and 20,000 words — at just two newspapers in just one day.
That relentless wall-to-wall coverage continued unabated for more than a year.
Fast-forward a few years. We have a president who has lied to the country in order to take it to war against a nation that didn’t attack us, created a network of secret prisons, embraced torture, held people without trial or access to lawyers or even being charged with anything, used the government to spy on its own citizens, used “signing statements” to declare that he will not follow the very laws he is signing, and presided over an administration that is routinely described as “lawless” and that generally behaves as though the United States Congress has no more authority than the Ridgemont High School student council. Among other transgressions against the truth, the law, the Constitution, and human dignity.
And, it is important to note, those are not my conclusions. Those are conclusions that have each been reached by countless legal experts, scholars, and editorial boards, based on facts reported by countless journalists and placed in countless news reports by countless editors.
So, given what the occupants of the nation’s most influential newsrooms clearly know — what they have said and written before — shouldn’t the media be devoting greater coverage to the basic matter of whether or not we still live in a nation of laws?
Last night, for example, CBS News devoted 109 words to Mueller’s contradiction of Gonzales’ sworn testimony — and that was the most meaningful coverage the network’s evening news broadcast has ever devoted to Gonzales’ attempt to strong-arm the hospitalized Ashcroft into overruling the acting attorney general’s refusal to certify the administration’s warantless domestic spying operation.
A mere 109 words for dramatic evidence that the attorney general of the United States may have lied to Congress.
You can hardly blame CBS for rushing through the story, though. They had other news to get to, and precious little time. Anchor Katie Couric explained: “Finally tonight, if you’re a cat lover, or even if you’re not, there’s a cat in Rhode Island we felt we just had to tell you about. He has a very special ability to predict the future.”
You see, Oscar the cat knows when people are going to die, and he curls up next to them.
CBS “just had to tell you about” Oscar the cat. Just had to spend 490 words on Oscar the cat.
Yesterday, the director of the FBI gave testimony that suggested that the attorney general may have lied in his own sworn testimony, but last night, CBS News had more important news to report. News about Oscar the cat. (emphasis mine)
Jeebus, coughed up a hairball with that lame ass bit, didn’t they? Our very serious media establishment hard at…well, hard at something, I’m certain, but it sure as hell isn’t serious news coverage with that crap. Bread and circuses…and death kitties. What next?