June 27, 2009

White House Watched

The journey Froomkin describes here really ties in closely with mine...

White House Watch - White House Watched
Today's column is my last for The Washington Post. And the first thing I want to say is thank you. Thank you to all you readers, e-mailers, commenters, questioners, Facebook friends and Twitterers for spending your time with me and engaging with me over the years. And thank you for the recent outpouring of support. It was extraordinarily uplifting, and I'm deeply grateful. If I ever had any doubt, your words have further inspired me to continue doing accountability journalism. My plan is to take a few weeks off before embarking upon my next endeavor -- but when I do, I hope you'll join me.

It's hard to summarize the past five and a half years. But I'll try.

I started my column in January 2004, and one dominant theme quickly emerged: That George W. Bush was truly the proverbial emperor with no clothes. In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve. As it happens, it was on the day of my very first column that we also got the first insider look at the Bush White House, via Ron Suskind's book, The Price of Loyalty. In it, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill described a disengaged president "like a blind man in a room full of deaf people", encircled by "a Praetorian guard,” intently looking for a way to overthrow Saddam Hussein long before 9/11. The ensuing five years and 1,088 columns really just fleshed out that portrait, describing a president who was oblivious, embubbled and untrustworthy.

When I look back on the Bush years, I think of the lies. There were so many. Lies about the war and lies to cover up the lies about the war. Lies about torture and surveillance. Lies about Valerie Plame. Vice President Dick Cheney's lies, criminally prosecutable but for his chief of staff Scooter Libby's lies. I also think about the extraordinary and fundamentally cancerous expansion of executive power that led to violations of our laws and our principles.

And while this wasn't as readily apparent until President Obama took office, it's now very clear that the Bush years were all about kicking the can down the road – either ignoring problems or, even worse, creating them and not solving them. This was true of a huge range of issues including the economy, energy, health care, global warming – and of course Iraq and Afghanistan.

How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily basis, as I did, one could certainly see the major themes emerging. But by and large, mainstream-media journalism missed the real Bush story for way too long.


1 comment:

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Fark, Gandhi, I check in from San Francisco to see if you're still blogging and find out from you that Froomkin is NOT. He was the only thing worth reading in the WaPoo. He told the truth and exposed the lies. So of course they sacked him.

I was in Maryland for the better part of a week, helping clean out my increasingly bitter and mentally feeble mother's house. (An old woman living alone in a huige house with THREE refrigerators running, and she doesn't even cook any more... I'll rant about that when I get back in two weeks, when I'm rostered to work six midnight shifts in a row.) But there was not an inkling of any change in the print version of the Post. It's a fading paper, mate, without even a separate business section; the physical size of the paper shrunken to about 2/3 the width of those horse-blanket sheets The Age and Teh Oz use, with most pages practically devoid of ads. They've shot themselves in both feet, and now they're working up to shooting themselves in the gut. F@ck 'em -- they deserve to die.

So does all of America. People here are SO stupid -- even the college educated ones. Their country is crumbling; the truth is out there about what's going wrong, but people refuse to see. People who don't know the facts argue with me, me who's done the research, when I present an alternative view. People that stupid deserve the death that's coming to them.

Even my mom, who's letting things go to hell because she no longer cares about her own life. She's spiteful enough that she would let her home and money collapse into ruin just so she could prove how she's contravening the sensible advice from me and my sister. We're left-wingers, after all, so anything we say must be wrong because of that.

This whole country can go to hell. People this ignorant don't deserve to live; and I reckon about 100 million of them won't. I'm getting hard in the heart as I grow older, G. It's not a recipe for good karma. It just makes me so angry that people have their heads up their arses and fight to prevent anyone from pulling them out.

Anyway, keep up the good blogging! Meanwhile, I'm going out to bury some gold in a secret hiding place. Am I crazy? I hope so, but I fear I'm merely prescient.

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