Congressional Contempt

Friday, February 15, 2008


This week House Republicans staged a walk-out to express their outrage at House Democrats for finding the Bush Administration's Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton in contempt of Congress. Bob weighs in as the parties accuse each other of orchestrating media stunts.

Comments [12]

Jack from Chicago

This editorial had all the facts, and much of the innuendo, of a Michael Moore film.

Mar. 04 2008 10:44 AM
Cap City Liberty from Madison, WI

To respond to the comments here (and read on the show that I heard this weekend), this story does have a lot to do with the media. What politicians do to get media attention is just as important as what politicians cover up to avoid media attention.

But it takes just one step back to see why the media is so critical at a time when Constitutional rights are being threatened. The fight to protect free speech is just a couple of amendments away from the fight to have due process, equal protection, the right not to be spied on by the whim of an unchecked government agent.

Maybe I need to go back and watch All The President's Men again, but I thought that the media and the issue of wiretapping are pretty connected...

Thank you NYPR for your continued, compelling programming.

Feb. 25 2008 05:28 PM
mike pesca from nyc

I would just like to say, these are the 9 most intelligent comments ever posted consecutively in blogosphere history. I know I'm messing up the streak by getting all meta at number 10, but so be it. You've got textual analysis, both sides of the ideological spectrum, the yes-but guy, the no two ways about it lady. It's all there. Is there a web site or phone number for me to pledge to in order to support good comments like these.

Feb. 20 2008 01:55 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

First, I thought it was really odd that this was basically an editorial comment rather than a story.

Second, I had no problem with it as a comment on how the manufactured media event was being used to "change the subject" of the day's media coverage. The commentary was definitely on the media.

Still, I think Bob may have missed another more tangible motive for the walk-out.

As I used to tell people about the New Haven Board of Aldermen (sometimes still called Alders, even in the press, after I coined the name to reflect Green Party sentiment against the sexist original), any legislator will sponsor any legislation as long as it is certain that it will not pass. Otherwise, it gets iffy.

Those who walked out will never have to answer for their vote, one way or the other, on the contempt of Congress issue. That, I suspect, was the real reason for the balk.

Feb. 19 2008 01:29 AM
Roberta McNair from Gig Harbor, WA

I can answer Kevin McKague's question from his first comment "What in the heck does any of this have to do with the media?"
How about that most news outlets--including NPR on Weekend Edition Saturday--misrepresented the entire issue? Bob Garfield stated what maybe the others haven't understood: That in letting the PAA (NOT FISA) expire, there is no compromise in the NSA's ability to root out terrorist plots, because FISA, which has been fine for everyone since 1978 until this Administration, is still in place.
I came to the site to write that I think what was missing from Bob's piece was stating directly that the media got it wrong. Since I've been following the story closely, I knew exactly what he meant, but I think he assumed too much knowledge of his listeners and should have given the context of the media's misrepresentation of what was occurring, demonstrated succinctly with Corva Coleman's intro "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expires tonight at midnight." This, to me, is an inexcusable and harmful error in reporting.

Feb. 18 2008 01:30 PM
Kevin McKague from Davison, Michigan

I don't agree with Mr. Hayes here, but as long as OTM is offering editorials that step beyond merely observations about the media, it is going to be harder to argue with wing-nuts that NPR isn't merely a tool of the left (whatever that means..)

Feb. 18 2008 09:26 AM
Dan Hayes from NYC

Stop camouflaging your self-righteous liberal political comments as dealing with the media. This political point of view permeates PBS and especially WNYC and is completely inappropriate for this show and for a national public network. You may be surprised, even shocked, but not eveyone agrees with you. You're media critics ? You should be the subject of a media-critical show.

Feb. 18 2008 08:39 AM
J. Monroy from Menlo Park

Please excuse my lack of proper Latin. As we will come to find in coming months and/or years, what we missed is the Bush quid pro quo. What Bob did not get to, likely no time, or lack of evidence, is that the RBOC were merging when the attack happened. As you might imagine, Dickie says, "give us the fo, and we'll forget this monopo". The end game is, cable will get the newest and best technology, and MaBing will wonder why ISDN is not on the mark-et. (decoding available for the observant)

Feb. 18 2008 03:20 AM
David Ogden from Walnut Creek, California

When I heard Bob's commentary on FISA, I said to myself, again, thank God for Garfield and Gladstone.

They continue to shine the spotlight on critical issues like this--and any issue like this one is media-related. I'm less concerned about their sticking to the themes encompassing the show's title than about how the Bush administration has eviscerated the United States Constitution (and seems determined to do so in its waning lame--very lame--duck months).

We need people to keep the press free and open. There are way too few elected officials who have the courage to speak up about this stuff--Senator Russ Feingold comes to mind as one such person.

Garfield pinpointed and skewered so many of the fearsome things about BushCheney in his short editorial--it was time well spent for me. And it prompted me to, finally, make a contribution to WNYC even though I'm a native Californian and find very annoying the woman with the "A NY ER" California license plate who lives in my neighborhood.

Feb. 17 2008 04:02 PM
Jack from Chicago

I think Bob's editorial should have been introduced as such. Then I would forgive his one-sidedness and poor presentation of historical context, both of which devalued this piece. Political grandstanding through walkouts and news conferences from Congress' steps are hardly new or the territory of one party, though it was easy to tell which Bob believes are genuine.

Some OTM pieces are more enlightening than others, this one was "interesting" conjecture but light on facts.

Feb. 17 2008 11:54 AM

Bob, it's time you get over those hangups & let us know what you *really* think!

Re: Mr. McKague's comment above -- after its 1000th excellence award OTM might be more aptly named the Brooke & Bob show and I still never miss it -- but they are obviously following their interests wherever they may lead (and btwn the 08 elections, Bush Admin lame duck covert actions and Bob's book I think we can guess on future themes...).

Do I miss Brill's Content? Yes but I had a talk w myself and no longer wish that OTM would replace it.

Feb. 17 2008 10:23 AM
Kevin McKague from Davison, Michigan

I think that Bob Garfield's comments on the Republican's walk-out are dead-on, and I agree with almost everything he has to say on the President's fear campaign being used to scare us into giving away more civil liberties protections.

Having said that however, I must ask; What in the heck does any of this have to do with the media? "On the Media" is one of my favorite shows on NPR, but I cringe when I hear pieces that don't fall withing the stated purview of the show, and feel the piece would have been better suited as a guest commentary on "All Things Considered" or "Morning Edition".

Feb. 17 2008 08:38 AM

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