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Against the Grain: Performance Review

By Jim Wittebols

Buffalo, NY – Recently, the press corps has taken on the role of performance reviewers instead of reporting on the truth of a speakers claim, we get an assessment of whether they were believable. This has been developing for some time but really became obvious when the press went ga-ga over Colin Powell's presentation at the UN before the war last year. Of course, the same press took a long time before they reached the conclusion that it was all drivel. This month's segment from Peter Hart of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting tells of a similar tale about Condoleezza Rice's appearance before the 9/11 commission.

You'll need to click the "listen" icon above to hear the FAIR segment.

The soft treatment of Rice can be contrasted with criticism of 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick by right wing media and politicians for her role in authoring Justice Department ground rules for separating intelligence gathering from criminal investigations. The one sided version of this story overlooks the fact that her accuser John Ashcroft had himself reviewed these policies without changing them.

The mainstream media however have done little with a similar conflict of interest involving the prim and proper Rice. The executive director of the commission-the guy who hires the staff and oversees the production of reports is Phillip Zelikow, a Republican long involved in national security affairs. Zelikow worked on the national security agency for the first Bush Administration, served as a member of the current president's transition team and was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in October 2001. He is also a prot g of Rice and has written two books with her. While this has gotten some attention in places like the Washington Post and New York Times, it has not gotten the wide exposure the Gorelick story has gotten.

This once again illustrates the mainstream media are far too beholden to the right wing media and their political enablers to present any similar criticism from the left. While some interesting things have emerged during these hearings, it is far more likely that this investigation will end up being part of the cover up just like the Iran Contra and other investigations by Washington insiders. Absent a genuine investigation by the press, we will never get the full truth behind the so-called war on terror.

Against the grain, I'm Jim Wittebols.