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David Sirota Headshot

Presidential Crimes as "He Said, She Said" Infotainment

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So let's see - what happens when a President gets caught breaking the law, then publicly says he's going to continue breaking the law, all while barely even trying to pretend he didn't break the law? Well, in ages past where serious journalism ruled the day, it meant serious media scrutiny (think Watergate) and investigation. Hell, even when a president didn't violate the constitution simply lied about his personal sex life, it meant a media-driven impeachment. Today, though, it means just another lazy, dishonest he-said/she-said story, as if reporters don't even think it matters at all.

Here's the interchange between NBC's Katie Couric and Tim Russert from this morning (hat tip to Left in the West):

COURIC: Is this going to be a case of a debate by legal analysts and constitutional scholars versus Americans, who say civil liberties are important, but we don't want another September 11?

RUSSERT: Exactly right.

This is it, baby - the ultimate example of American journalism as state-run propaganda machine. In one fell swoop, one of the largest media organizations in the world used one of its most watched television shows to boil down an extraordinary case of illegal presidential abuse of power into just another petty partisan squabble. And in the process, that media organization claimed without one shred of evidence that the only people who care that the president illegally trampled the constitution are "analysts and scholars," not the American people who "don't want another September 11" - an assertion that also dishonestly portrays respect for the law as standing in direct opposition to national security.

I mean, let's just ask ourselves - if this is a "he said, she said" story, what isn't? What, according to the media, can't a president do? What if, say, the President robbed a 7-11 at gunpoint? Would it be a "he said, she said" between a White House spin doctor, and the convenience clerk who got shot? Would it be just "criminologists and judicial experts" who cared, and not the American people because they "don't want another 9/11?"

I used to think we had hit a low in terms of the media's irresponsible behavior. Now I realize I was wrong. Leave it to today's journalists to redefine everything that is sacred, even the term "rock bottom."