Anthrax on Planet La-La

I posted the other day about Steve Inskeep’s baffling expression of surprise when an NPR interviewee presented evidence that the Bush Cheney administration lied to the public in the months preceding the invasion of Iraq. No, this isn’t an old post – it’s late summer of 2008, and NPR still behaves as if Bush and Cheney were honorable men for whom accusations of wrongdoing come as a shock.

American journalists live on a different planet than other humans. Media Bloodhound calls it “an Orwellian bubble world where our brazenly criminal administration still earns the benefit of the doubt”. I call the place Planet La-La. On Planet La-La, no matter how many times the press is duped and lied to, they continue to accept and repeat claims made by sources in government, often anonymous ones, without attempting to find out if they’re true or not.

Look, for instance, at recent claims by the FBI that they have found the (one and only) culprit in the 2001 anthrax attacks, a claim presented in a press conference by an FBI spokesman (and run under the headline “Closing the Anthrax Case” by ABC News online, following a commercial for Kraft salad dressing).

No, this isn’t the guy that the FBI accused of the anthrax attacks before – this is a different guy. They accused that other guy of murder and terrorism publicly for several years, but it turns out that guy was innocent, so they had to settle with him for damages to his career and reputation.

But that was then. Now they’re sure they have the right guy. They don’t have any direct evidence that he did it, but he seems like the kind of guy who would murder people through the mail, don’t you think? He was one of the people in the world who had the opportunity to commit the crime. He probably knew how to commit the crime (although we’re not absolutely sure about that). Besides, he was a weird, quiet sort of fellow. And anyway, he’s dead now, so we can’t ask him about it. But now that he’s dead, the FBI feels it safe to tell you that he is the murderer.

You may remember that right after the anthrax mailings, most people thought we were being attacked by foreign terrorists. That’s because the press reported at the time that the attacks probably originated in Iraq, based on information provided by those reliable old friends – anonymous government sources. But that’s an unrelated matter. Those anonymous sources must have just made an honest mistake about where the anthrax came from.

Does any of this raise questions in your mind? Do you think to yourself, well, all these claims could be true, but I’m going to need more information to make up my mind about it? Not so on Planet La-La. The crack investigative teams in the press were satisfied to trust the experts on this one, until some people started asking the obvious questions. Now it seems that this spirit of curiosity is even penetrating the dense atmosphere of credulity among journalists. Will the vast majority of the American public who rely on these people for their information be treated to the rare spectacle of actual investigative reporting? Stay tuned to find out, after this message from our sponsors.

~ by lolarusa on August 12, 2008.

3 Responses to “Anthrax on Planet La-La”

  1. Watch the movie Arlington Road. All the way through to the bitter end.

  2. Hi Morna,

    I shall look for it.

  3. Instead of being a step in front of us, they are always a step behind. Americans remained unconvinced and the press follows. It’s a nice service they provide, no?

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