Saturday, June 30, 2007

American Media Keeps Bush Shadow Government Hushed Up

The New York Times and Bush’s "shadow government"

How the media covers up the threat to democratic rights

By Patrick Martin
8 March 2002

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By any standard, the front-page report in the Washington Post March 1 was a political bombshell. The leading newspaper in the US capital reported that the Bush administration had activated plans for a “shadow government,” drawn up under the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, to prepare for a possible nuclear terrorist attack on Washington DC.

Hundreds of US officials were spending time in fortified bunkers in mountainous areas of the East Coast, serving 90-day rotations while they held themselves ready to assume the full powers of the government in the event that Washington was destroyed.

The most significant aspect of this plan was that the secret government-in-waiting consisted entirely of executive branch officials. No officials of the legislative or judicial branches were included, and neither the elected party leaders in Congress nor those in the constitutional line of succession to the presidency were even aware of the program’s existence. Leading congressional Democrats complained of being kept in the dark, and the issue was raised prominently in the weekend television interview programs.


But one notable quarter in the media displayed little interest in the issue. The New York Times, the most influential daily newspaper in America, for decades the principal press representative of liberal public opinion, gave only the most perfunctory attention to the shadow government. Its first news article merely echoed the Post’s account. A small follow-up article dismissed the administration’s action as the activation of a longstanding Cold War contingency plan that had no particular significance.

Those were the sole articles written by the Times reporting staff about an issue that held center stage in Washington for nearly a week. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle addressed the subject on several Sunday interview programs, pointing to the extraordinary fact that, for the Bush administration, “continuity of government” did not include the legislature or judiciary. The Times buried his comments in an article devoted to the Democrats’ mild criticism of Bush’s conduct of the global “war on terrorism.”
On Monday, the conflict over government secrecy and the Bush administration’s refusal to subordinate the executive branch to normal constitutional constraints was intensified when Tom Ridge, Bush’s director of homeland security, announced he would refuse to testify before a Senate committee holding hearings on the White House request for $38 billion to fund domestic security programs.
...This is not to say there has been no press concern about the mounting threat to democratic rights, but such concern has been limited to isolated columns in smaller regional newspapers.

The Times-Union of Albany, New York, editorialized March 5 that under Bush’s plan “the US government would be handed over to some 100 unelected civilians in the event of a catastrophe.” It called this “an unsettling prospect.”

The News-Journal of Daytona Beach, Florida, took a sharper line, headlining its March 4 editorial, “White House junta is undermining democracy.”
“The danger right now is not terrorism,” the newspaper declared. “The danger is here at home, where zealotry is substituting for policy-making, where the flag is turning into the administration’s fig leaf, and where slander is any opposition’s reward. Without robust dissent democracy might as well pack up and head for the hills. So far, Daschle’s grumbles included, dissent has been non-existent. This is not unity. It’s not patriotism. It’s stupor.”
Such comments in the American media have been few and far between. The prostration of the New York Times is the rule, not the exception. This demonstrates an important political truth: the initiative for a struggle against the Bush administration’s policy of war-without-end abroad and the dismantling of democratic rights at home will come, not from ex-liberal sections of the ruling class, but from an independent political movement of the working people.

See Also:

The shadow of dictatorship: Bush established secret government after September 11[4 March 2002]

Further delay in US congressional investigation into September 11 attacks[6 March 2002]

Once again on the New York Times and Bush’s police-state measures[10 December 2001]

The 2000 election and Bush's attack on democratic rights[14 November 2001]

Bush’s war at home: a creeping coup d’état[7 November 2001]

Reagan was the "Teflon president", given a free pass on everything from Iran Contra to 50,000 people who died of AIDS in AMERICA ...

Today we have the most criminal presidency in the history of the USA and a press core so obviously one sided that the people no longer depend on them for their news and instead watch the satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, or South Park.

Let see the calls to the switchboards in congress brought down the highly contentious immigration bill, about a few calls to media executives?


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