I don't know where Bob Schieffer's been these last seven years, but he thinks that the White House might have an credibility problem:
I saw a story in the Washington Post the other day, where a reporter granted a government official anonymity in order as the newspaper put it, 'for the government official to speak more candidly.' Well, that made me wonder. Do we no longer expect government officials to tell the whole story if they must take responsibility for what they say? Even worse, do we believe that is acceptable?
For sure, the White House won no prize for candor last week; it gave the outgoing head of the General Services Administration, Lurita Doan, a big send off by thanking her for making government buildings more energy-efficient or some such, when in truth, she was forced out. She was the object of multiple investigations, suspicious dealings on government contracts, and asking government employees what they could do to help political candidates, which is, of course, against the law. Even the government’s watchdog agency recommended she be disciplined to the fullest extent. Yet the White House spokesman declined to say if her resignation had anything to do with any of that. From the White House came only thanks and confirmation she was gone. The government saw no obligation to say why, which leads me to this: have decades of secrecy, spin and stonewalling conditioned us to accept less than the whole story from the government? Is telling the whole truth no longer a given? Frankly, I’m not sure. What I do know is more and more people seem skeptical everything the government says and does. What we saw last week may be one reason why.
Oh Jiminy Christmas. The Lurita Doan scandal is such a minor one relative to all the other lies, spin, incompetence and outright negligence of the Bush administration that it's tragically laughable that this is the one that Schieffer thinks exemplifies why the American people are skeptical to what comes out of the White House.
But the $64,000 question that Schieffer refuses to address is how much responsibility should the establishment media take upon itself for unconditionally and unquestioningly putting out White House talking points with no context or independent fact finding. Where is the onus on the Fourth Estate?
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