FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Domestic Lying

by NORMAN SOLOMON

With great fanfare the other day, Oprah Winfrey asked James Frey a question that mainstream journalists refuse to ask George W. Bush: “Why would you lie?”

Many pundits and news outlets have chortled at the televised unmasking of Frey as a liar. The reverberations have spanned from schlock media to highbrow outlets. On Friday, the PBS “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” devoted an entire segment to what happened. The New York Times supplemented its page-one coverage with an editorial that concluded “Ms. Winfrey gave the audience, including us, what it was hoping for: a demand to hear the truth.”

A key reality of the National Security Agency spying story is: President Bush lied. But routinely missing from media coverage is a demand to hear the truth.

More than two years after he started the NSA’s domestic spying without warrants, Bush was unequivocal. During a speech in Buffalo on April 20, 2004, he said: “Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”

Frey lied about his personal life in a book, and that infuriated Oprah Winfrey. “It is difficult for me to talk to you, because I really feel duped,” she said, confronting him in the midst of the Jan. 26 telecast. “I feel duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

Yet the journalists who interview Bush aren’t willing to question him in similar terms.

The president didn’t merely betray millions of readers. He betrayed hundreds of millions of citizens.

Bush lied about basic civil liberties in the United States. Instead of relying on euphemisms, the news media should directly confront him with the question: “Why would you lie?”

During the “Oprah” show, while lecturing a powerful book-publishing executive who had served as an enabler for the author’s mendacity, Winfrey declared: “That needs to change.” But what about the powerful news-media executives who keep enabling the president’s mendacity?

When Frey tried to weasel out of responsibility for concocting a phony story about a root canal without anesthetic, the host interrupted after the words “I’ve struggled with the idea of it –”

“No, the lie of it,” Winfrey said. “That’s a lie. It’s not an idea, James, that’s a lie.”

But high-profile journalists are unwilling to confront President Bush on national television with such clarity: “That’s a lie. It’s not an idea, George, that’s a lie.”

NORMAN SOLOMON is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

 

More articles by:

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
The Fordist Academic
Frank Scott
Weapons of Mass Distraction Get More Destructive
Missy Comley Beattie
Big Dick Diplomacy
Michael Doliner
Democracy, Real Life Acting and the Movies
Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown tells indigenous protesters in Bonn, ‘Let’s put you in the ground’
Winslow Myers
The Madness of Deterrence
Cesar Chelala
A Kiss is Not a Kiss: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Jimmy Centeno
Garcia Meets Guayasamin: A De-Colonial Experience
Stephen Martin
When Boot Becomes Bot: Surplus Population and The Human Face.
Martin Billheimer
Homer’s Iliad, la primera nota roja
Louis Proyect
Once There Were Strong Men
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones
David Yearsley
Academics Take Flight
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail