24 September 2006

More of This, Please (CS)

The political internet is jumping with the recent smack down former President Bill Clinton laid down on Chris Wallace and FoxNews Sunday. Video here. Transcript here.

For me, Clinton's smart, strong defense addresses two major points to which anyone looking to free this country from all the bullshit must pay mind.

First of these is growing a backbone and speaking truth to power. It's been a common complaint of Democrats in particular that they have not exhibited a backbone in crucial moments where they should have been standing up to statements and accusations made by Republicans and Conservatives. In his interview, Clinton does not bow down to the classic FoxNews walk-over. He is not even caught by surprise by the disengenuous invitation to talk about the Clinton Foundation's philanthropic work which turned into an attack on his counter-terrorism efforts at the end of his Presidential term. He refers to facts. He is wise enough to place things in their proper context. He tells the truth in regards to the series of events as they unfolded, not as many color them from today with tainted partisan views. He is both humble about his efforts and realistic. Most importantly, though, is that at no time does he shy away from the truth or let the truth of what actually happened be silenced.

Perhaps this is a contagious feeling too. Recently, Bill Frist tried to play the blame game in Congress saying that it was the fault of the minority party that that this Congress had been labelled the "do-nothing Congress." Some might say that such an accusation is so idiotic and without foundation that who would need to bother to reply? Well Senators Reid and Durbin seemed to have some fight in them as they partook in a dialogue exposing the events of the Congress and White House as they have unfolded over the past session where Conservatives have made a habit of rewarding incompetence, refusing criticism, and closing ranks much to the detriment of the country. If Clinton's interview spoke to you, I would recommend checking out the words of Senators Reid and Durbin as well.

This sort of action, combined with Clinton's interview, also have the affect of pointing out bullshit partisan journalism (commonly practiced by FoxNews). As Clinton pointed out (and ThinkProgress has researched, if you look at the link above) Chris Wallace and Fox have never bothered to ask a Bush administration official about the USS Cole, the demotion of Richard Clarke, or the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief that said Bin Laden was determined to strike in the U.S. Clinton points out how Fox has consistantly made him and many Democrats the scapegoat for terrorism, while rarely if ever holding the current administration accountable for anything, particularly the persisting problem of terrorism, the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and the lack of focus on Osama Bin Laden. I'm reminded how on the other side of the isle, Conservative pundits attack the allegedly liberal media for complaining about the situation in Iraq getting worse and that Iraq is in turn encouraging terrorism. Such claims are decried as baseless liberal whining and lies. I guess Conservatives don't take the time to realize that the sources for the information that Iraq is deteriorating or encouraging terrorism are the Pentagon and Bush's own spy agencies. In this case, however, we can see a clear cut case of partisan journalism as we see different treatment for different figures depending on their political affiliation. In comparison to the methods of most othe news organizations, I think someone with at least a drop of intelligence in the bucket can realize that Fox's "Fair and balanced" is fairly bullshit.

Maybe this sort of bravado will catch on. It'd be nice if Clinton could just go on a tear against the current administration, but really that's not his job anymore. He's actually got more important work to do (which he would have talked about if Wallace hadn't ambushed him). But here's hoping the rest of the opposition (read: Democrats) catches on.


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