October 05, 2007

How News Breaks

Chris Matthews speaking at a bash celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Hardball, declared he wanted to make some news with his remarks, and went on to chide the Bush Administration for trying to influence the editorial content of his show, something that had never happened under Clinton.

"They've finally been caught in their criminality," Matthews said, although what exactly led to this conclusive apprehension on the part of Matthews he left unstated, allowing the listener to assume any one of the most recent examples of the Administration's depredations for whatever Matthews meant by that. And in fact, this is a nefarious crew, the Bush Administration, with a laundry list of possible referents.

He was speaking before a crowd of people including Alan Greenspan, Ted Kennedy, his pundit colleagues Andrea Mitchell and Tim Russert and a bunch of MNBC/MSNBC brass, according to examiner.com.

I think a lot of people caught on about this Administration's criminality from the very first, making Matthews's use of the word "finally" seem past due from him, coming from someone who's expected to be up on news from Washington and all.

Everyone already knows about the assaults on Social Security and on science and about Katrina and torture and the spying in on everyone everywhere in defense against fearful terror.

Somehow Matthews didn't catch that part until now, or saw no reason to share his insight long after instances of malign behavior in all these various venues had permanently convinced a vast majority of Americans that the President was a wrongheaded dolt whose polices must no longer be entertained. In public polls, Bush's raw approval rating has remained in the low thirties for more than a year now for all the reasons people have for disapproving of the bad job he's doing so willfully. Matthews, inchoate before his pundit peers, finally comes around.

Today President Bush said once again, "…we don't torture."

This is political speech, and protected under the First Amendment. He's the President, and he can say anything he wants and there's really nothing to do for it. It's in the Constitution.

He can say over and over again for all the reasons it would be politic to do so, including self-incrimination, that the United States doesn't engage in torture, and of course that's allowed. It is not by any measure true, howevermuch the definition of torture is worked over in the back rooms of the Justice Department and the White House to suit Bush's usage.

Chris Matthews may or may not report that the President gave a strong defense of the Administration's detention policies today; somebody will, if only on Fox News.

"We stick to U.S. law and international obligations," the President said, selecting his words.

There is an ocean of news of criminal torture breaking against the rock-ribbed shore of political speech pronounced by Bush today. But then again, maybe Chris Matthews was talking about something else.

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