NOV 16 - 30, 2003





Rules Order, "Write Positive Stories," and No Interviews Of Soldiers, Reports Jim Spencer of The Denver Post

by Betsy R. Vasquez

November 26, 2003 – As we reported recently (see story here ,) President Bush wants the press to be Pravda, the old Soviet Union news source that was not actually a news source at all but just one-party-supporting propaganda - in that case, the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R.

President Bush does not like - or allow for - the American press to operate freely.  He, in fact, demands that they only cover what he wants them to from the angle that benefits his re-election prospects.

Well, he is getting so bold in his hubris that he is now issuing edicts - in writing - commanding that the press only, "Write positive stories," covering his visit yesterday to Ft. Carson in Colorado.  In fact, he handed out a 10 commandments to all members of the press, which he labeled "10 ground rules" for covering his visit to the base, as reported by Jim Spencer of the Denver Post (see column here.)

In the first place, the President and his people swear they do not politicize the war and attack the Democrats for doing so.  This memo shows that to be an obvious lie, as the President is not concerned about talking to the soldiers or the families of those who lost people in Iraq, but only in the ensuring the proper press image - timed, not-coincidentally, to exactly coincide with the Democratic Debate in Iowa.  Yes, like during the 2002 election, the President used the war to try and drown out the Democrats, back then by demanding the war resolution on Iraq be passed by Congress and voted on by the UN just in the weeks leading up to the election, this time by demanding a slew of "positive" coverage of a visit to an army base.

All of that is disgusting and anyone one with an IQ over 6 who pays attention to things knows this already.

But yesterday, the President began taking it to the next level - to the level a Soviet Premiere, third world dictator, or nut job power freak like Napoleon would when he is about to turn a Democracy into an undemocratic empire.

Among the "10 ground rules" handed out to all members of the press, according to Spencer, were:

Rule 9:  "Write positive stories about Ft. Carson and the U.S. Army."

Rule 3:  No talking to soldiers or their families before, during, or after the event.

Talk about un-American - the soldiers must serve their commander but not even their families can be talked to to get their opinions about how the war is going so people can do what people do in democracies, namely decide if they want to keep their leader or not.

Rule 6:  "No roaming."

In other words, we want to be able to keep an eye on all of you - we are watching you - and so will not allow the free reporters of the free press in free America to so much as move out of our sight.  Wow.

Rule 2:  "Remain in press riser at all times; you will be escorted to the bathroom."

They wouldn't even let them go on their own to the bathroom, because they didn't want to lose sight - or control - of them for a single second.

Rule 1:  "No video at Butts (the base) until the President arrives."

Again, only cover what we say to cover when we say to cover it - which is the President and his pre-written speech.  Not only do they demand complete control of the text, banning interviews and demanding 'positive' coverage, but they want complete control of the images, prohibiting recording images that are not exactly what they want the people to see (God forbid a parent who lost a son in the war might be seen crying or being consoled for a second.)

And then, in true dictator style, they add a sarcastic rule number 10:

Rule 10:  "Have fun."

That is the second part of the abuser's game:  do something horrible, but then tell the person it is not horrible what is happening and they should just be happy and act as if nothing horrible just happened.  That, my friends, is propaganda 101, abuser/addict behavior 101, and, as we see, President Bush 101.

As Spencer reports, this memo is an escalation by President Bush.  Neither President Clinton nor President Bush had previously used such horrible, "heavy-handed smack(s) at the First Amendment."

Spencer says, "When then-President Clinton honored the crew of the USS Cole after it was targeted by a terrorist bombing in Yemen, reporters roamed the crowd getting quotes. When Bush spoke to sailors at the Norfolk Naval Base earlier in his administration, reporters were equally free to seek the thoughts of those who heard him."

But Bush's arrogance and sense of absolute power is growing beyond control.  His tolerance and allowance of the freedoms inherent - indeed, central - to America are vanishing at alarming speed.

There is only one step to go beyond where the President has arrived at at this point.  Already, he has shown he will destroy anyone who dares give him bad press, like he did by outing Ambassador Joseph Wilson's CIA wife.

He then went and made clear to the press that they should cover him in a positive light or they will not get to cover him at all, as we reported here.

Now, he is putting his unspoken code in writing, having no qualms about distributing on paper his anti-freedom, dictator-like edicts.  The only step left to make his complete conversion to dictator is to issue directly a list of consequences should the rules not be followed.

You see, the press should have raised a huge storm over his edicts yesterday.  It should be front page everywhere, but like the frog dropped into cold water that Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins spoke of, the President has little by little turned up the heat, and just turned it up a little more.  The press didn't jump out of the water and tell the other frogs what is happening.  They just noticed it was a little warmer but didn't think action was really necessary, don't believe it will really ever get dangerously hot.

Even Mr. Spencer's excellent and bold column is not nearly as enraged or alarming in tone as it could be, albeit he does a great job getting the point out and probably going as far as he is allowed within the constraints working as a member of the corporate press - which doesn't allow truth to be spoken as strongly as we do here at The Moderate Independent.

But the real question is, why is he the only press member bold enough to even point this assault on freedom out?

So, now the President has made clear, he has no problem ordering the press to report as he wants it to, and to take away even their freedom of movement - "no roaming" - and to take away the freedom of speech of those who stood beside him having lost a loved one in Iraq.

The Bush/Limbaughians get outraged when people assert they are in some way similar to the way the Nazi's were in the 1930's.  How dare someone make that assertion, they scream.

We agree.  How dare someone suggest the Bushies are in some way similar to the early Nazi's.  The question isn't is there some way in which this Bush-brand of Republican is similar to the early Nazi's, the question is is there anyway they aren't?  There are far more similarities than differences, and this fact is absolutely unquestionable - the belligerence with which they react to comparisons keeps people from asserting this obvious reality, but it is the truth.

And it has nothing to do with Iraq, nothing to do with taxes, it is their philosophy and hostile, Nazi-like manner of action.  Don't take our word for it, look for yourself.  It is not that people have always thrown around accusations of "Nazi-like", not against either party.  When did , in recent history, the accusations begin that the Republicans were acting "like Nazis"?

As we said, don't our word for it, do a Lexis search.  Search for Republicans and Nazis.  The answer is, it began exactly when the first of this new breed of Republican took power, the Limbaugh-led Republican revolution that led Gingrich to power.

This new breed of Limbaugh/Gingrich/Bush Republican acts like Nazis, and long before the conquest of Iraq, long before the anti-American Patriot Act, long before anyone outside Texas had heard of George W. Bush, this new breed of Republican was being assailed as "Nazis" by the Democrats in congress who were be assailed with their unfair, hostile, belligerent tactics.  One Senator said back then it was as if they were exactly following Hitler's old motto, "Tell a lie, tell it big, tell it often."

So everyone stop trying to figure if the Bush Republicans somehow, in some way, are like the Nazis were back in the 1930's.  Acknowledge that in many, if not most, ways they are, and determine to draw a line not letting it get any further and rolling back how far it has gone.  In other words, members of the press, the next time you are handed "10 ground rules" by the President - or anyone - crumble it up, throw it back in their face, and inform them that this is America and you will not be given any "ground rules" or intimidating edicts to act by.




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