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Ignore Your Constitutional Rights, Blame the Media!

Reported by Janie - December 21, 2005

Yesterday (12/20) on Dayside, Juliet Huddy and guest-host Steve Doocy were looking for a way to ignore the real controversy behind Bush's secret spying campaign, and decided to deflect the scandal by finding a new target: the media. The hosts invited Peter Brookes, from the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, onto the show to confirm their latest distraction.

JH: "Are leaks to the media undermining the war on terror? Are they endangering Americans? How often are they happening?… How often does this happen?"

PB: "Unfortunately, it's way too often. The leaks can really undermine our National Security, we've seen this many times. The President just pointed out one very important specific example. I think he was referring to a satellite phone that Osama Bin Laden was talking on, that was reported in the press. That can really hurt us."

JH: "Yeah, I think it was the Washington Times back in 1998."

PB: "That's right. It could really hurt us, because what happens is this is about intelligence sources and methods. This is how we pick other people's pockets from an intelligence perspective, and we don't want them to know exactly how we do it, because when they find out how we do it, they stop using that means of communicating."

Audience Member 1: " Well, I think it's equal to treason. We're trying to use everything we can to catch the terrorists, because they're using every means they can to kill us."

Comment: Definition of treason: "a crime that undermines the offender's government". Example: Kind of like undermining the Constitution of the United States by issuing wiretaps without the guaranteed right of a warrant.

SD: "But you know, the reporter's instinct is if it's a big story I want to tell it."

PB: "Absolutely, and that can be problematic. They should go to the originating agency. This time they did go to the White House. They held it for a year, but then regardless of the White Houses' advice and counsel and judgment about not letting this go, they decided to go ahead and publish it, so it's unfortunate."

Comment: "It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion." - Joseph Goebbels on the place of the media.

JH: "Are there particular outlets and avenues and agencies that are more offensive than the others when it comes to leaking? The print more than television? That kind of thing?"

PB: "Well, you know today with the internet, things are, there's nothing that is exclusively print or radio or TV anymore. You have TV on the internet, you have print on the internet. It gets around the world very quickly, and I'm sure it has. You know, some of the smart terrorists, they know we're watching them very closely, but for the others, those that are still very, very dangerous, like the stupid criminals, they may be tipped off to what we're doing."

Audience Member 2: "I think the people should only be concerned about this if they have something to hide."

Comment: Interesting theory. Could this explain why Bush refused to get a warrant within 72 hours AFTER the emergency wiretaps were initiated?

SD: "I heard somebody, I think it was Alberto Gonzalez yesterday, say regarding the NY Times story a couple of days ago, that this is perhaps the biggest secret in the federal government. Now that the whole world knows about it, how much damage is done?"

Comment: THIS is the biggest secret in the federal government? Gee, I thought the biggest secret might be the access codes for our nuclear weapons, but hey, if Doocy says so! Well, maybe it was the biggest secret in the federal government... because it was illegal!

PB: "Well, they've probably done a lot of damage. Now people will be very careful about their communications, I mean terrorists. That's the people we're looking at, we're not looking at regular folks. The idea here is to look at foreign intelligence sources, people that are communicating perhaps with people in the United States. And our biggest nightmare Steve, as you know, is a terrorist in the United States. Where somebody from overseas is planning an operation and they are communicating with a terrorist in the United States that's going to take actions against many, many innocent Americans. So this is going to undermine us in the war on terror, no doubt about it."

Comment: This is the most ridiculous and frightening argument I have ever heard. Any human being with half a brain would automatically assume that the United States is listening in on terrorist's conversations, including the terrorists themselves. If our government and Fox have to deflect the real controversy here, Bush spying on American citizens, by saying that the "revelation" that we're listening to foreign terrorists will come as a shock to the terrorists, then there is a level of ineptitude in our government that is beyond the pale. If our government is assuming that the terrorists are this stupid, and continues to underestimate them in such a manner, how exactly do we plan to win this War on Terror?

The viewers of Dayside were once again left confused and disoriented, not knowing where the real problems in our Democracy lie.

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