May 18, 2015

A caller on this Monday's Thom Hartmann radio show expressed some of the same frustration I've had with our corporate media and their refusal to mention the fact that Jeb Bush was one of the founding members of PNAC, the neoconservative think tank known as the Project for the New American Century, while discussing his ever evolving positions on whether or not it was right for America to invade Iraq.

Hartmann wasn't sure if Bush had signed the 1998 letter to Bill Clinton, and it appears he's correct and that Bush didn't sign it from the archives available, but as I already discussed here, his name was on some of their other documents, like this one from 1997.

Here's how Hartmann responded to the caller's question.

HARTMANN: Why is it that no reporter has asked him about this? It's because our reporters are no longer reporters. They are agents of infotainment. Their job is to get ratings for their network. If a reporter a really painful or embarrassing question of a presidential candidate, or any politician frankly, that politician will blackball that reporter, and may blackball the entire network.

And if they do that, there are career consequences. There are financial consequences. There is business consequences and that's why, you know, for example, two weeks ago when Chuck Todd had John Boehner on, and John Boehner issued a series of lies about Obamacare, Chuck Todd's response was, “Oh, so you don't like Obamacare? You don't think it's good for the country?”

I mean, rather than sir, you just lied three times in a row. Everything you said is wrong...

CALLER: If that's what happens, why don't they report that? We had so-and-so on, we asked him hard questions. He refused to answer those hard questions. Now he will not come back on our network again.

HARTMANN: I believe the answer is very simple. The talent on these networks would like to preserve two things, two things that are very important to them. One is insider status in Washington DC, getting invited to the right parties, knowing the right people.

And two is a paycheck that runs anywhere from 2 or 3 million dollars a year up to 10 or 15 million dollars a year, and they're very well paid, and they don't want to blow that. And if they take on somebody like John Boehner they will blow that. That will be the end of their career.

We call them the Villagers here and if you are unfamiliar with the term, please read this post from Digby explaining where it came from and what it means.

Regular readers here at C&L will not be surprised one iota with Hartmann's follow up on Chuck Todd and his admission that he can't ask his guests tough questions. We've all known that Todd is no journalist for some time now.

So far I've seen exactly one person bring up the fact that Jeb was a member of PNAC, and that's Salon's Joan Walsh on Hardball last week, and Chris Matthews pretended he to be clueless about it. So either he is completely clueless and useless when it comes to doing what's supposed to be his job, or he's a liar and the network has told all of them not to bring it up. I've learned not to expect too much from Matthews or his buddy Chuck Todd for some time now. They're both the exact types Hartmann was describing above, more worried about making the DC cocktail circuit and access than doing anything remotely resembling journalism.

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