Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pots and Kettles

The problem with the freedom of the press is of course, that anyone can say almost anything and so a country addicted to reading only that which affirms their paranoia, hate, bigotry and stupidity will always have plenty to read.

We have been whipped into a near frenzy in recent years with lurid stories and slippery statistics about child abuse and child molesters. We’ve branded 4 year olds as sex offenders and we’ve forced many real sex offenders so far from society that they must live homeless in the woods. So when Mark Foley, the Republican Congressman from Florida’s 16th district was exposed as someone who was interested in teenagers one could have expected that his career would collapse, but as I say, we have a free press and a free press owned by special interests, some of whom are not interested in having the blame shared by those who looked the other way at Foley’s little affairs or simply managed to forget that they knew.

Judicial Watch, for instance; the folks who crucified Bill Clinton for an act between consenting adults, is still trying to shift the blame to the Democrats. They knew about Foley the would-be pederast, you see, so don’t think too hard about whether Hastert was told by several people, knew and did nothing. Think instead about those who had the least ability to do anything about it. The ethical thing, according to their logic, for the Democrats to do would have been to let Foley be re-elected and then tell Hastert again so he could do nothing again.

Of course they don’t display their situational ethics quite so plainly, but their argument deconstructs that way. It’s the timing, you see. The timing makes the guilty innocent and the timing shouts down the whistle blower. The timing makes it wrong to tell the truth and ethical to ignore it.

Never mind whether Hastert plainly knew.

“Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had prior knowledge of Foley’s unethical and horrendous behavior yet denied knowing anything”
says Judicial Watch as though the sins of the guilty could be washed away by the blood of Emanuel. No Republican is guilty because one Democrat also knew – and then again, there’s the timing. Republicans
“took no action out of fear that it would create a scandal for the party.”
That excuses them and that makes the Democrats guilty.

One wonders why they make the effort to present such a specious argument. Wouldn’t it be simpler and more honest for this mouthpiece of the malignant Right to admit that it’s not about right and wrong, but about what side you’re on?

Of course the House Ethics Committee whitewash uses much the same argument, as Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post points out today. Of course it was timed to be finished before the new congress convenes, wasn’t it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That annoying "timing" question again...
I read a while back, on Armchair Generalist I think (I searched but cannot find the citation), where a reporter was having a testy exchange with Tony Snow over the recent use of the term "civil war" to describe the situation in Iraq. Snow purportely implied that the use of the term now was just politics, asking something to the effect of, "why use that term now, I mean, what's different now from just a few months ago when no one was using that terminology?" The reporter replied, "well, the level of violence I suppose..." Doh!