Friday, October 14, 2005

Bush has lost Lou Dobbs

Once the transcript is up, I'll post it, but I'll tell you, if Bush has lost a reliable conservative mouthpiece like Lou Dobbs, he's done.

Dobbs came out and accused the government of altering a report on the outsourcing of American jobs and then lying about it. He also talked about a topic close to my heart, the use of military public affairs assets and personnel for political propaganda.

It's friggin' on, people.

If you missed the show, you'll have to read the whole transcript. He hammered the administration for an hour straight.

UPDATE: Here's the transcript. Tell me this doesn't sound familiar.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some senior military officials bristled when they saw the tape of Allison Barber, a Pentagon political appointee, appear to coach soldiers in Iraq on how to interact with President Bush during a teleconference.

ALLISON BARBER, PENTAGON EMPLOYEE: But if he gives us a question that's not something that we've scripted, Captain Kennedy, you're going to have that mic and that's your chance to impress us all.

MCINTYRE: The apparent scripting was not only clumsy, say some in the military, but unnecessary. Commanders in Iraq insist their troops are overwhelmingly upbeat.

MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH, MULTINATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: Every visitor that comes over and talks to our soldiers leaves with a positive assessment. And those soldiers just were giving their opinion.

MCINTYRE: A Pentagon statement said, "We certainly regret any perception that they were told what to say. It is not the case."

But the incident is raising questions about whether the administration is using the military to advance its agenda, not just in White House events but in other subtle ways.

Take for instance the Pentagon Channel, also under control of Allison Barber's Office of Internal Communications and Public Liaison. The cable channel is ostensibly to provide information to military and civilian employees of the Defense Department, but it's also available in 12 million homes on commercial cable systems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Operation Iron Fist...

MCINTYRE: And it features newscasts by military journalists in uniform.

(on camera) Are you under any pressure to do the news in one way or another?

CPL. BRIAN BUCKWALTER, U.S. MARINES: Absolutely not. I'm out there to cover and record a story as it happens.

MCINTYRE: Don't look for any coverage of the controversy surrounding the president's orchestrated talk with the troops on the Pentagon Channel or, for that matter, criticism of the war in Iraq. You won't find it.

RALPH BEGLEITER, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE: It is a government exclusive point of view. And it simply tells the people who watch it what one agency of the U.S. government wants them to believe about a particular topic.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon Channel was recently rejected for accreditation by the Radio/TV Correspondents Association, because there was no editorial separation between the journalists and their politically appointed bosses.


MCINTYRE: Now, Lou, we asked the military journalists at the Pentagon Channel. They all said that they produce, they believe, fair and accurate reports. But some current and former staffers say that if they could say what they really think, their answer might be different.

And the question on these two events is the same. Are military personnel who have to follow orders being used to advance the administration's version of reality -- Lou.

DOBBS: Fair and balanced is always a matter of some perspective and always subjective. The fact that the Pentagon is producing news coverage is clear cut. I mean, that -- how does that differentiate it from psych ops that they would be conducting anywhere?

MCINTYRE: Well, they make a number of points. They say that the Pentagon Channel is aimed, first of all, at their own audience, the military, the Pentagon...

DOBBS: I'm not sure that's reassuring.

MCINTYRE: It's supposed to be like corporate communication.

And the other part is that they believe people know when they watch the Pentagon Channel that it is from the government, that they're not mistaking it for CNN or some other news service. And they can take it for what it is. And they argued it's not that much different from what they put on a web site or official press releases that they put out.

DOBBS: Jamie McIntyre, thank you very much, from the Pentagon.
Other must-see parts of this are Republican strategist Ed Rollins saying, "There is no political capital at this point in time. This is a president who just got re-elected in a very smart election, 11 months ago and already people are trying to label him a lame duck" and Lou Dobbs saying there was no question that the administration changing a jobs report "before last year's presidential election."
DOBBS: Well, I think we ought to -- as we have said -- straight out, the government has in point of fact lied to us and we would like to have anyone from the Commerce Department, the United States government come here and set us straight on that because I'm tired of hearing people say it appears it was changed, it was this. It was changed. It was doctored straightforwardly.

TUCKER: You talk to the people who saw the original presentation and the one that was presented to Congress -- it was changed.

DOBBS: And as I remind everybody on this broadcast, our staff, our producers, and what we try to bring to you at home every night is a nonpartisan reality. That's our responsibility.

It's also the responsibility of our government, and a responsibility that they fail altogether to fulfill in this case.


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