What if George W. Bush had done that?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on March 14, 2012

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-Read the excerpt below from Josh Gerstein's article posted at Politico.com on March 13.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

Adapted from an article by Josh Gerstein posted at politico.com on March 13:

Here’s a look at [three] areas in which critics on the left and right say President Obama’s gotten a relatively easy ride [from the media]:

A GREEN LIGHT TO KILL U.S. CITIZENS ABROAD:

Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder visited Chicago to lay out his rationale that the U.S. government has the legal right to kill U.S.-citizen terror suspects overseas — and that there’s no role for the courts in reviewing such use of lethal force.

The speech at Northwestern University Law School drew a smattering of news accounts and a handful of reporters, but few protesters, no candlelight vigil and no audience members clad in orange jumpsuits and chains. Some liberal groups issued press releases taking issue with Holder’s analysis, but the reaction to what could be termed warrantless killing was a far cry from the sky-is-falling, apocalyptic rhetoric unleashed at Bush and his appointees a few years back over efforts merely to listen in on the communications of suspected terrorists through the warrantless wiretapping program.

After President Obama submitted to a rare news conference the next day, “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart noted that not a single question was asked about the provocative Holder speech. “How come no one at the press conference brought that up? Didn’t even say a…word about it?” Stewart asked on his program Wednesday. “You didn’t say anything about a historically massive, executive branch power grab.”

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, an icon of what the Obama White House famously dubbed “the professional left,” also sees a strange lack of interest toward some of Obama’s policies. Among them: the Obama administration’s claim that the Constitution allows executive use of armed drones to kill U.S. citizens abroad deemed to be terrorist operatives.

“Virtually all the Democrats who were apoplectic about Bush and were constantly complaining about him ‘trampling on our values’ over eavesdropping and detention have been silent about assassination, even though it’s so much more severe,” Greenwald said. “It isn’t that Obama is necessarily any worse on civil liberties than Bush. The point is he’s able to get away with so much more.”

Greenwald [said] “Here you have Obama asserting the power not to detain Americans or eavesdrop on them, but to target them for execution by the CIA without a shred or whit of due process,” he said. “I would think that most people would prefer to be eavesdropped upon, or detained, than killed with a drone.”

He argues that muted criticism of Obama on the war on terror actually makes his policies more extreme.

“There were Americans in Al Qaeda throughout the Bush administration, but it never asserted the power to target them for death. It was just a bridge too far for them,” Greenwald said. “Those Democrats who claimed to find these issues so important and are now being opportunistic and politically cynical are not just neglecting these abuses, they’re actually enabling them.”  …..

Mark Corallo, director of public affairs at the Justice Department from 2002-05 [under President Bush]. “I don’t see anybody standing up. … Where is the outrage?”Corallo noted that the Bush administration’s detention of Al Qaeda suspect and American citizen Jose Padilla without charge in a Navy brig in South Carolina became a cause célèbre for many on the left, while reaction to the drone strike that killed New Mexico-born Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen last year has been relatively muted.

“We got pilloried [over Padilla], and they’re dropping missiles on some guy’s eyeball from 30,000 feet and it’s just business as usual,” said Corallo. “In fact, they’re actually crowing about it.” …..

CLOSED-DOOR  CEO COURTING:

When Vice President Dick Cheney met privately with oil company executives to talk about energy policy, he was [harshly criticized] for being an industry stooge and wound up on the receiving end of lawsuits that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Yet, Obama has repeatedly met with CEOs behind closed doors with little outcry about whether he’s in the tank for business interests.

Last February, he had a sit-down in Silicon Valley with the CEOs of Twitter, NetFlix, Apple, Facebook and Google. In August, the heads of American Express, Xerox, Wells Fargo and Johnson & Johnson were among those who won a cozy Roosevelt Room meeting with Obama. And in 2010, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon had a one-on-one with Obama in the Oval Office. All had the chance to plead their case, and their companies’ case, privately with the president.

Obama’s CEO-laden Jobs Council does meet publicly with him from time to time, but the panel’s work is done largely behind closed doors, in conference calls, emails and subcommittee meetings that are closed to the public.

A LEAK CRACKDOWN THAT COULD SEND REPORTERS TO JAIL:

The Obama administration has launched an unprecedented drive to put alleged leakers of government secrets behind bars – a campaign that could end up putting reporters in the same place.

Since Obama took office, prosecutors have filed six criminal, Espionage Act cases over leaks – more prosecutions than under all prior presidents combined. In one, the Justice Department is trying to force New York Times reporter James Risen to identify his confidential sources and has argued to a federal appeals court that journalists enjoy no privilege against being called as witnesses in a criminal case. If the government prevails, Risen is likely to end up in jail for contempt.

The anti-leak drive and the potential for journalists to be caught in the crossfire is an occasional subject of news stories and editorials, but Bush officials are convinced they could never have gotten away with what has happened under Obama.

“If we were doing what this administration has been doing to reporters, we would be characterized as Nixonian, flat-out. People would say, ‘They have an enemies list in the media and are taking it out on them. …’ We would have gotten crushed. It would have been editorial after editorial and 24/7 on cable news,” Corallo said.

“This is a huge chilling effect on national-security reporting,” Greenwald said. If it had occurred under Bush, “this would be a major, major scandal.”

(Read the entire article at: politico.com/news/stories/0312/73909.html)

Questions

Double standard is defined as a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another. (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, m-w.com)

1.  Do you think the media displays a double-standard in their reporting between the similar actions taken by Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican President George W. Bush?  Explain your answer.

2.  Re-read comments made by liberal Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald and liberal tv host Jon Stewart.  What do you think of their observations on the media double-standard?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

Opinion question. Answers vary.