Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Freedom Over Fact

If you have been, like me, apalled by the weak roll of the Main Stream press these days you may want to check the article : PressThink: Rollback:
By the end it quotes a parable that highlights the problem at the bottom of all this.

The Parable:

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Today the prosecutor is studying what they do, and there’s no way to roll that back. In a Salon interview after the Times article came out, Suskind (whose sources were mostly Republicans) was asked whether the Bush forces were indeed trying to "eliminate a national point of reference on facts."

Absolutely! That’s the whole idea, to somehow sweep away the community of honest brokers in America — both Republicans and Democrats and members of the mainstream press — sweep them away so we’ll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.

No more honest brokers; and claims take the place of facts. Disguised by the culture war’s ranting about media bias, that very thing is happening all around us today. Limits on what liberties could be taken with the factual record without triggering a political penalty are being overcome. Joseph Wilson interfered with this, forcing the White House to pay a penalty: the so-called sixteen words in the State of the Union speech that had to be withdrawn after his op-ed. So he had to pay. And that’s how roll back, freedom over fact, culture war, and the naming of Valerie Plame connect to one another.

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