When the Media Becomes the News.
Since Scooter Libby revealed that Bush told him to leak information from the National Intelligence Estimate, a debate has been slowly boiling about the nature of the free media in a time of terror. Okay, it's a fake argument: only Bush apologists think that the media should be muzzled, and their argument is made all the more ironic by the fact that the White House, one of the most secretive and dishonest, has been successful at subverting the democratic process only because the media has been weak.
Still, a couple other stories makes it a good time to look at the media more closely. On the news shows yesterday, the righties were howling about the CIA analyst who leaked the information about "dark sites" to the WaPo's Dana Priest (for which she was last week awarded a Pulitzer). They think this kind of leak--again, an act by a patriot who (accurately) felt that the administration was subverting democracy--was "over the line."
In a second case, the FBI is trying to get access to the files of Jack Anderson, a reporter who broke a number of stories like Priest's in his long career (he died in December), and who they say has national security secrets.
These form a good platform, and so this week I will use them to dive into the deep waters of the role, function, and rights of the media (including blogs!) in George Bush's America.