Two weeks ago in these pages,
I wrote a column entitled "W's Oil Warriors."
I pointed to the intimate connection among George W. Bush's
advisers, the oil industry and the push to build an oil
pipeline from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. Taki, who
has made no secret of his wish to see George W. elected
in November, was not pleased. He told me he did not want
to spend money helping to secure a Gore victory. I pointed
out that journalistic credibility demands one should attack
without fear or favor. It is no good criticizing the Clintons
if one then keeps silent when the Republicans behave badly.
This is what distinguishes a journalist from a hack: an
Alex Cockburn from a David Corn; a Mickey Kaus from a Joe
a matter of fact, there are very few genuine journalists
around. We are overwhelmed by hacks all agendas and
double standards. Amid the flurry of stories a few weeks
ago about George W. and the death penalty, how many bothered
to point out that the Clintons and Gore all support capital
punishment? The nation's prison population stands at
two million. Yet if you just went by the papers, you would
assume they were all housed in Texas.
inequality has been growing at a steady clip during the
Clinton years. Yet reporters choose to write only about
the meaningless GDP growth rate. There are a record number
of people without health insurance today. Yet this issue,
which seemed so urgent in the latter years of George H.W.
Bush's administration, is now of only minor concern.
At the recent Camp David summit, the United States pretty
much adopted Israel's policy as its own. Yet the media
parrots the line that it was the Palestinians who had been
have benefited so handsomely from such double standards
as Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Last week we heard ad nauseam
about his moral uprightness, his devoutness, his bipartisanship,
his moderation and his thoughtfulness. Yet a Republican
with his sorry record on civil liberties would have been
roasted alive. Lieberman is supposedly much exercised over
the terrible temptations afflicting America's youth.
However, this did not stop him from sponsoring legislation
last year to fund and arm the Kosovo Liberation Army an
"army" in name only, and more concerned with drug
trafficking and racketeering than "liberation."
Protecting children from drugs all of a sudden lost its
urgency. At the height of the U.S. onslaught on Yugoslavia
Lieberman popped up on NBC's Meet the Press
to declare: "I hope the air campaign, even if it does
not convince Milosevic to order his troops out of Kosovo,
will so devastate his economy, which it's doing now,
so ruin the lives of his people, that they will rise up
and throw him out." So here was this model of rectitude,
this living reproach to all partisanship, demanding that
the United States commit a war crime.
specialty is censorship, longing for which is deemed reprehensible
when it is Republican, but evidence of seriousness and high
moral purpose when Democratic. For years, Lieberman has
waged war on the entertainment industry. He championed the
V-chip. He wants to slap a label on anything he finds offensive.
He is cosponsor of the Media Violence Labeling Act of 2000,
which would impose a single national rating system on videogames
he has not been above shamelessly exploiting tragedy for
his own ends. Following the Columbine school shooting last
year and without any evidence he blamed what happened
on Hollywood. "None of us wants to resort to regulation,"
he declared. This is standard throat-clearing. It invariably
precedes the announcement of regulations. "But if the
entertainment industry...continues to market death and degradation
to our children, and continues to pay no heed to the real
bloodshed staining our communities, then the government
is a great one for "acting." A couple of months
ago, he served notice that his next target was the Internet.
He told the Children's Online Protection Act Commission
that the U.S. government should consider creating a new
top-level domain such as ".sex" or ".xxx."
"This idea," he explained, would "establish
a virtual red-light district" to which just about anything
he finds distasteful would be shunted off. Like all censors,
his professed desire is to "shield children from pornography...
[W]e cannot afford to do nothing," he wailed in his
usual stentorian voice, "to continue tolerating the
intolerable, to continue dumping the burden solely on parents
and abdicating any larger societal role in protecting our
children." Lieberman concluded with the menacing suggestion
that unless the Internet industries started to censor themselves,
Congress would have to step in and get the job done. Piously,
and insincerely, he denies any intent to "criminalize
November Lieberman and Tennessee Republican Fred Thompson
introduced the Government Information Security Act, a bill
supposedly meant to protect federal government information
systems from the latest scare cyberattack. "The
government's computer-reliant infrastructure," he explained,
"is frighteningly vulnerable to exploitation not only
by troublemakers and professional hackers but by organized
crime and international terrorists." Yet the only cyberattack
so far has come from the government, when the office of
the drug czar took to tracking visitors to its website.