Saturday, June 16, 2007

Best Kept Secrets in Washington

Mary Mapes is posting now over at Huffington Post or at least she had two posts recently. Whether she will be a regular or was just an infrequent contributor remains to be seen. One of her post dealt with Dan Rather and some recent remarks he made, and she used the occurrence to comment on what goes on behind the scene at CBS news. I believe Dan has got a book coming out and he knows how to play the book release game.

Here's her post.

I wrote up my comment to her post, but since I ran across her post several days after it was posted, the comment section had been closed out, so I'm going to post it here in my own blog because I have some important points to post.

First, Ms. Mapes, who supplied you with those memos, real, fake, factual, or otherwise? That's the 500 lb gorilla of a newsbyte missing from your post. That's the major news left unreported in this story, because of course, no one leaks on leakers. Leakers to news types like you are the best kept secrets in DC.

If you watch current events or even study history, it would seem nothing can be kept secret in Washington for very long. Everything in the government is subject to leaking. However, whoever leaks these secrets is never known. Never – except when they admit it themselves, like Deepthroat. Or the importance of their leak such as the "Pentagon Papers" – the history of how the U.S. got so involved in Vietnam – required the leaker to be identified. It was Daniel Ellsberg. But mostly leakers names never go reported. Never.

News types don't leak on other news type's snitches. Here we have an organization, a calling, a profession that is all about reporting the news, and yet, there is no safer secret in Washington than who is leaking what to whom. It's the best kept secrets in Washington.

The name of the person who leaks news worthy information is new worthy itself since most leaks are probably "spin". I don't know this to be a fact since, because as I said, we don't know who's doing all the leaking. We got a glimpse into the world of news makers and news reporters during the Libby trial – a story about a leak. Information came out that Cheney used the Sunday morning news talk shows as an opportunity to spin the news. "If it's Sunday morning, it must be Spin the Press." Even Ms Huffington blogged about what we today call professional journalism as one big clubhouse.

And so, Ms Mapes goes on and on about how the questionable memos and her and Dan's story was trashed by the blogs – conservative blogs, that is – and how what they reported was true and the facts in the memos were true. But! Not one word about where she got the memos. Even though she trashed her colleagues at CBS News, even though she lamented being turned on by her fellow journalist, even though life is not fair, she maintain the journalistic code. She didn't say who supplied her the memos. The taint on journalism is maintained.

Second, home cooking in the Guard is as old as the Guard itself. Preferential treatment in the Guard is as American as apple pie, mom, etc. And that is especially true for sons of major politician, and it's not just the Guard. You can bet whatever you got paid that everyone from the Commandant of the Marine Corp down to the platoon sergeant knows who is over Sen. Jim Webb's son. And he will no longer be treated as just another grunt. Bush's preferential treatment in the Guard was never news to anyone familiar with how the military works.

So, as it turns out, the only really newsworthy aspect to the whole preferential treatment/fake memo story is who supplied those memo, and of course, that stills goes on unreported.

So it goes.
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