Confessions of a Condor ...

By Judge Mark J.Plawecki

The remarkable, unfathomable silence of Truman Show media

“America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time.”           
 — Jimmy Carter, July 16, 2013

To opine that U.S. mainstream media (MSM) is poll-obsessed might be considered an understatement.  Polls about virtually everything are taken, then reported; the now round-the-cycle presidential polls concerning Who’s Ahead Three Years Plus for Election 2016 is as annoying (and useless) a time-filler as can be found (CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, and Fox have all reported these in the last two months).

So it was perhaps revelatory to see the Quinnipiac Polling Institute (regularly cited by all of MSM) poll released July 10 regarding leaker of NSA secrets Edward Snowden. 

Despite over a month of barrages from the Obama Administration, leaders of both parties in Congress, and MSM talking heads, Americans by a 55-34% margin thought Snowden more “whistleblower” than “traitor.”  Perhaps the TV execs who, in effect, collude with our government to manufacture nightly news were slightly disturbed.  Why else, while widely disseminated on the internet, did not a single one of the CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, or Fox giants remember to mention this poll?  Were they all simply taking a day away from polling to give their continuously dwindling viewership a break?

David Gregory, host of the most watched Sunday news talk show Meet the Press, had led the brigade.  Interviewing Glenn Greenwald, who had initially reported the story told to him by Snowden, Gregory demanded, “To the extent you aided and abetted Mr. Snowden, why shouldn’t you be charged with a crime?”

To this “To the extent you beat your wife” query Greenwald responded by denying Gregory’s premise-that he had aided or abetted Snowden—and that under it “every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who received classified information, is a criminal.”

Actually, if he had watched the show from its beginning, Greenwald could have asked Sir David the same question.  Gregory had referred to a secret FISA court opinion and “people I have talked to” regarding it.  As Trevor Timm writes, “Does Gregory think he should be charged with a crime for talking to sources asking questions about classified information, then reporting what he learned?”  Except that when Gregory leaks classified information, it is invariably from a government source who wants the information released.

Greenwald has been vilified in Truman Show media, but it has been upset with him for some time.  In 2009, he was named co-winner of the I.F. Stone Award for Independent (i.e., not toadying to the Establishment) Journalism. This is why corporate shills like Gregory can question his “journalistic” credentials.

In October 2012, Greenwald reacted to a post-presidential debate interview a Florida congresswoman gave with arguably the most accurate headline of the entire campaign—“The Remarkable, Unfathomable Ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Shultz.”  In the interview (available on YouTube) Wasserman Shultz was asked if she would be comfortable with Mitt Romney having a “Kill List” similar to the current one President Obama has. She stated she had never heard of such a thing, reported on since 2010 and the centerpiece of a 600-word, front page expose in the New York Times in May 2012.  She said she would answer any “serious” questions the stunned interviewer had, thus clearly giving the impression she was oblivious, as a sitting member of Congress and also Chair of the Democratic National Committee, to one of the biggest stories of this Administration.

CNN, ABC, CBS, and Fox have all interviewed Wasserman Schultz since this gaffe; not one reporter has ever mentioned it.  On May 26, 2013, ABC’s This Week went so far as to have her as part of its “powerhouse roundtable,” as an expert on…our drone policy (Condor is not making this up).

President Carter’s quote at top came during an Atlanta-based interview with German weekly Der Spiegel.  Carter offered support for Snowden’s actions, which was promptly reported in the international media.  But nary a mention from our Truman Show friends.

The common thread of these events is the willingness of U.S. corporate-owned media to keep the citizenry from knowing any story that might shed light on its sycophantic role with those in power.  Ronald Unz of The American Conservative relates (“Our American Pravda,” April 29, 2013) this chilling anecdote regarding the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, reputedly the power behind President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s:

“According to the New York Times, he had planned to transform Russia into a fake two-party state—one social-democratic and one neoconservative—in which heated public battles would be fought on divisive, symbolic issues, while behind the scenes both parties would actually be controlled by the same ruling elites…Given America’s history over the last two decades, perhaps we can guess where Berezovsky got his idea for such a clever political scheme.”

As cable news feeds us nothing less than nauseous amounts of detail concerning the George Zimmerman Trial and its aftermath, a “divisive, symbolic” issue known as race is serving America’s oligarchs quite well indeed.


Judge Mark J. Plawecki serves on the bench of the Wayne County 20th District Court. Confessions of a Condor offers a perspective on today’s right-wing political legal movement.