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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What did he know and when did he know it.

Was listening to a podcast of Meet The Press from Sunday with Scott McClellan, former White House press secretary, and wasn’t expecting much. For the few still living in the cave with Osama, he basically ratted out everyone he worked with in his new tell-all book What Happened. (Full video interview here.) Before you say it’s advertising we should be talking about and not politics, this cuts across too many lines to ignore.

And if you remember the Watergate scandal like I did when I was younger, it’s important to remember how much we learned after everything broke in the media because of the reporting of Woodward and Bernstein. Fast forward some 30+ years and we have another possible scandal involving lies with much higher stakes.

Yet this time it’s not reporters doing the heavy lifting, it’s an insider. Just as then, this is obviously one of the most important issues facing the next generation who are seeing this unfold in this media dominated world. (There was no CNN breaking stories 24/7 or Drudge—there was only the cover of Time and Newsweek at the grocery store.

Quite a difference too for our generation who basically watched this guy sell a war to the public like a used car that was in an accident but never tells you about it—now less than four years later he does a 180.

And while it’s not Hannity & Co. doing the grilling, not even Faux News could argue with the choice of
Tim Russert to ask the questions. He seems to me to be about as objective an interviewer as you’ll likely find these days; he’s able to call out both sides of an issue without it degenerating into a shouting match. What came to mind while listening to McClellan was the ongoing situation with Dentsu, which is something anyone in this business long enough will likely face:

What do you do when you discover your boss lied or engaged in unacceptable behavior? Do you stay and cash the check and hope for the best? Do you toe the line and do what’s expected? Do you quit on principle when you really need the gig? (I’ve done all three and there’s no easy answer because it’s rarely a black and white issue.) And, just because you decide to say what went on, is that more important than loyalty?

Sure seems like Scott has done everything but shouted out the “Bush Lied” rallying cry. After listening to it and then reading the predictable objections by the White House, (and unless you’re a complete shill for the GOP), you have to agree with Russert on one key question though:

Someone is lying here—who is it?

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Anonymous said...

That he decides to speak the truth to sell a book speaks volumes. Sure, he may be revealing what's really been going on and it's about time someone spoke up about Bush's true motives.

But he's only doing it to benefit himself--which makes him as egocentric and wrong as Bush. If people are not willing to put themselves out for the truth--or, worse, if people will only reveal the truth if there's something in it for them--then the world (or the US) is in a sad, sad state indeed.

Anonymous said...

I am going to have to buy the book, I guess.
I don't see what the original lie was that Scott exposed.
In Watergate, the latest contention--one that surfaced in the early 90s--was that Dean wanted to Dem's office's wired so he could find if they had any dirt on his girlfriend who was an alleged call girl for an alleged madam who lived and worked allegedly from an apartment across from the Watergate.

Anonymous said...

I just finished the book.
He revealed that Richard Armitage was the Deep Throat who revealed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative to Robert Novak.
Oddly nobody has done anything about this guy Armitage.

Anonymous said...

HH - Seems SM admitted pretty clearly in the clip that he lied when he was briefing the White House press corps regarding intelligence he subsequently knew to be less than accurate, not to mention Rove’s involvement in general.

As for Watergate, I had hear that as well, still, Nixon claiming he didn’t know initially, well, oops: His bad. I will say this though, most of his people were pretty loyal after the fact. So, yay Liddy!

Anonymous said...

Liddy was the only morally upright person in the whole watergate thing.
Sicilian roots, I'd guess.

Anonymous said...

tm-I’ll leave moral up to others, but he was loyal enough to go to prison.