Friday, December 02, 2005

Paying for a Free Press

When I learned that the US had been paying Iraqi journalists to write and publish favorable articles in Iraqi newspapers, I was so angry that I called Karl Rove immediately.  

KR:  Nanu Nanu

CL:  Karl, is that you?

KR:  Depends on who’s calling.  Is that you Orson?

CL:  All White House phones have caller ID? You know they log the calls there, even the ones made to reporters.

KR:  Why do they call it a log when it’s not made from wood?  Unless it’s wood word’s log?  Or is it Woodward’s word about when he was told about that fair game lady?

CL:  Karl, why are you giving Iraqis real money when I only get paid in White House bucks? Come to think of it, you gave Armstrong Williams real money too and he didn’t even write his articles?  And can you cut the Mork from Ork thing?

KR:  Well, everyone loves Robin Williams.  And Ork is the only place where the president has an 80% approval rating still. There and among voters in persistently vegetative states

CL:  On Ork everyone seemed to be doing coke all the time.  Besides, ever since he did Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams just plays creepy people now.  

KR:  So I wasn’t the only one who noticed that he was starting to look like Dick Cheney?

CL:  About these planted articles in Iraq?  You complain that US media only prints the bad news about Iraq.  If there’s so much good news over there, why are you having to pay Iraqis to find it and print it?

KR:  Well a free press isn’t free.  Stories about nice GI’s just don’t sell.

CL:  Like Saving Private Ryan?

KR:  You know that Iraqi forces recently led an assault somewhere or other?

CL:  You heard that it turned out that the green berets directed that assault.

KR:  Oil production is up in Iraq.

CL:  Compared to the months right after the invasion when there was no production.

KR:  Joe Lieberman says they have more cell phones there now.

CL:  There are more cell phones on the Southside of Chicago too.  It doesn’t mean I want to live there any more than I did eight years ago.  

KR:  We’ve built a lot of schools there too and got a constitution ratified.

CL:  Two thirds of the people had to vote against it to keep it from being ratified in any province.

KR:  And you’re asking me why we only pay you in White House Bucks?

CL:  It’s just that I can only buy so many copies of the whole backlist at Regnery Publishing and mp3’s of John Ashcroft songs.  

KR:  You can get a gift certificate for Michael Browne’s Disaster Management Consulting service.  You know he does a heckuva job.

CL:  Karl, I need to get paid in real money.  You don’t know how hard it is to make you seem funny and harmless on my blog.  

KR:  We don’t have any real money any more, it all belongs to China.

CL:  Then how are you paying these journalists in Iraq?

KR:  The Lincoln Group pays them.

CL:  The people who sold El Salvador?  

KR:  You remember what the vice-president said about how democracy succeeded there and how we were bringing the same thing to Iraq.  

CL:  He also didn’t mention the death squads.  If you guys cared about “fair and balanced” so much, wouldn’t you do something about the budget?

KR:  Look, how about this?  We let you use your White House bucks for prescription drugs or even therapy.  I know how much you liberals like therapy.

CL:  So, there are no logs at the White House just log rolling?  How far would Jack Abramoff have gotten if he only could pay people in White House Bucks?

KR:  You know it used to be worse.  When Clinton was in office, Richard Mellon Scaife was paying everyone in Starr Bucks.  You have no idea how much we had to pay to settle that suit.

CL:  Do you remember Blue Chip stamps?  These White House Bucks are just like that and the only redemption centers were in Ohio.  You know, there is such a thing as a prevailing wage.  And by the way, how in the world are US forces only going to chase terrorists in Iraq while the Iraqis fight insurgents?  No one ever seems to know which are which before anything happens.

KR:  You sure about that prevailing wage thing?   What’s it matter who can tell the difference when we’re the only ones reporting the results?  A real free press is just part of the cost of freedom, just like real justice, real accounting, and real elections.

CL:  Next time I have you doing a sitcom character, you’re going to be working for your real boss, Thurston Howell.

KR: Well Lovey, the professor is building our missile defense system out of coconuts. He has a contract through Halliburton.

CL: Okay, did whoever wrote the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq get paid in money instead of White House bucks?

KR:  No, the President wrote that one himself. He always gets paid in deferred options.  

You’ll be glad to know that I’m no longer getting paid in White House Bucks.  All I have to do is not tell anyone that the President’s original draft started with “Light at the End of the Tunnel”.  I am learning as many have in DC that being patriotic doesn’t have to mean being poor as long as I stick with Karl’s definition of patriotism.  I figure it worked for at least six yet to be named members of Congress.  In the meantime, ten more soldiers were killed by an IED today and I don’t think even the Lincoln Group knows how to write that one favorably.  


At 12/02/2005 09:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KCR is lucky to have you as a stenographer, CL. That Judy Miller was getting stale. That little NYT scam had about played out.

The key to AllPolitics (this is the Niccolo Machiavelli Standard, NMS, the political gold standard) is the fortune cookie and the acronym. Put it in a fortune cookie if you must be so prolix. "No new taxes" is a classic. Stupidissimo to the max, but velcroaic.

Better tho is an acronym: WMD. Without WMD, we would never have gone to that quagsand war. Even a phrase or a word would have saved us all this chaos and blood. An acronym makes even stupid people feel in the know. Once you're an insider slingin' "WMD this, WMD that" around the water cooler, you will countenance awful things -- think fraternity initiations on steroids.

KR: "You know that Iraqi forces recently led an assault somewhere or other?" (Emphasis mine.) Fab.

At 12/03/2005 12:14:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Mr. Pogblog great points about the fortune cookies and the acronyms.

If you have any use for White House Bucks, please let me know. In addition to Regnery books and Michael Browne's disaster consulting services, they can buy lots of differnt things except credibility.

to be clear, Judith Miller didn't work directly for Karl Rove, she worked for Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. I did one project for Dick Cheney, a 200 word combination Bible/Constitution, but we got into an argument about whether that was one book or two. I started writing for Karl after that which I think was a lucky break for me.
He even gets me extra work sometimes like when I did those horse-milking jokes for Laura Bush.
He can be very funny sometimes and isn't what most people think. Did you know he watches the 6 STar Wars movies over and over in the White House screening room? He loves pretendig that he's a Sith, but I'll have to save that for another installment.

At 12/05/2005 02:16:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Morning Star,
welcome to the site. The ultimate form of flattery is to see comments that make it clear that the reader has read and thought about whatever post he or she is responding to. So, Thankyou. I've added your Monring Star site to my list of referrals on the right side of my blog btw.

One of the reasons, I've taken to approaching distressing political subject matter with humor is that I've thought a lot about what others call the "echo chamber" quality of the blogrealm. In other words, it's mostly people writing, looking, and responding to people who agree with them. Most people, however, will read something they don't agree with if they happen to find it funny. That's even happened once for me.
In any case, I figured there would be about 700 blogs saying what a horrible thing the Lincoln Group does when it subverts the essence of a free press in the name of Democracy. I estimated that 699 of them would likely appeal only to folks who already agreed with that.

Of course, Benny06 seems to think that I need to work on the "funny". :}

At 12/07/2005 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Morning Star,
many thanks for your kind comments.
Propaganda and news are different things. I do think that government agencies do have a legitimate interest in pursuing "public relations"/propaganda at times. During the Civil Rights movement, some of that happened in ways that we approve. Also there have been times when promotion of the rights of workers to a fair wage, reasonable hours, safe working conditions have been the object of government public relations.

It is,however, a wholly different matter when the government purposely confuses propaganda/public relations with objective news reporting. The standard for advertizing and news is very different.
one of the defenses I saw was a claim that the stories they were disseminating were based in fact. Advertizing is also expected to meet that standard. One fact that always needs to be made clear is that the story itself was paid for by a side that has a clear interest in the matter.


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