Just a Little Media Analysis on FISA

By February 20, 2008General

From Bob Garfield, a review of the House Republicans and last week’s walkout protesting the House’s failure to extend the authority for intercepting foreign communications.

America at risk – well, that’s for sure, not only from bearded Islamists cowering in caves but also by white men in red neckties who, in the name of national security, for six and a half years, have eroded the civil liberties at the heart of our Constitution. In that way, Thursday’s walkout was a paradox within a photo-op within a civics lesson.

Well, that’s typical enough, a common trope of moral equivalency (with a hint of racism) from the demagogic left: White men in red neckties are the equivalent of al-Qaeda.

There’s more along these lines, allusions to the American dictatorship:

[The] President never mentions the freedoms already stolen, like the freedom not to be spied on and the Constitutional freedom to hold the government accountable for its conduct.

And who is Bob Garfield? He’s the co-host of “On the Media,” a weekly, hourlong show of media analysis and criticism from NPR, that’s National Public Radio, produced by WNYC in New York.

Garfield’s commentary, “Congressional Contempt,” led last week’s program. It represented a one-sided, rhetorical assault on, among others, those who believe effective surveillance of foreign terrorists requires retroactive legal immunity for telecommunications companies.

The conclusion:

Could it be that the GOP walkout had nothing to do with spying authority at all? Maybe it was, in media parlance, just a bit of counter-programming – or, in other words, changing the subject.

And that’s the only reference to the media in Garfield’s supposed media analysis. Suppose he’s just trying for his Murrow-versus-McCarthy moment, but it is offensive, dangerous and vapid to dismiss the threat of terrorism as a partisan political feint.

We note, in closing, that Garfield enjoys a great national platform for his invective, a great taxpayer-supported platform. According to its IRS Form 990, WNYC received nearly $2.4 million in government grants and support in the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Carter says:

    Read the blog. I’ve written extensively on the topics: Telecom immunity, the excesses of the plaintiff’s bar, the belief that companies have obligations as good corporate citizens, plus my personal desire not to be murdered by terrorists.

  • Bob Garfield says:

    Just curious, Carter. What portion of my commentary on the made-for-media spectacle in the House and the assault on civil liberties (also in OTM’s portfolio) concerns the tax-exempt NAM blog ostensibly devoted to anti-business rhetoric?

    As for “Suppose he’s just trying for his Murrow-versus-McCarthy moment,” you suppose wrong. OTM has been dealing with these issues in reportage and commentary for the past seven years.

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