Sunday, February 06, 2005


Or I could have entitled this entry, "One More Reason Why I Don't Trust the Mainstream Press".

Do you remember that rectangular bulge under the president's clothes during the debates - you know, the one right between his shoulderblade? You don't? Well that's because the New York Times and the Washington Post decided not to report on the story.

Well, this morning that issue has been taken up in an article by Dave Lindorff in an article that appears on Smirking Chimp, Common Dreams, CounterPunch and probably countless other blogs as well. [Update: So far (2:00 p.m.), I have also found the article on Rising Hegemon and Digby.] The Common Dreams headline puts it this way: "The Emperor's New Hump: The New York Times killed a story that could have changed the election—because it could have changed the election".

Lindorff writes:

[The New York Times]... was set to run...[an] explosive piece, exposing how George W. Bush had worn an electronic cueing device in his ear and probably cheated during the presidential debates.

It's clear even from unenhanced photos that George W. Bush has been wearing some kind of object under his clothing, both during the debates and at other public appearances. The enhancements done by NASA scientist Robert Nelson show a rectangular object with a long "tail"; in some shots a wire leading over Bush's shoulder is visible. This configuration closely resembles a PTT (Push To Talk) receiver with an induction earpiece, a device used by some actors, newscasters and politicians to allow for inaudible voice communication in a public setting.
That the story hadn't gotten more serious treatment in the mainstream press was largely thanks to a well-organized media effort by the Bush White House and the Bush/Cheney campaign to label those who attempted to investigate the bulge as "conspiracy buffs" (Washington Post, 10/9/04). In an era of pinched budgets and an equally pinched notion of the role of the Fourth Estate, the fact that the Kerry camp was offering no comment on the matter—perhaps for fear of earning a "conspiracy buff" label for the candidate himself—may also have made reporters skittish. Jeffrey Klein, a founding editor of Mother Jones magazine, told Mother Jones (online edition, 10/30/04) he had called a number of contacts at leading news organizations across the country, and was told that unless the Kerry campaign raised the issue, they couldn't pursue it.

According to the article the New York Times had in fact pursued the matter and mounted an investigation. The story never ran, however, having been killed on October 27.

A Times journalist, who said that Times staffers were "pretty upset" about the killing of the story, claims the senior editors felt Thursday was "too close" to the election to run such a piece.

The article concludes with this observation:

Could the last-minute decision by the New York Times not to run the Nelson photos story, or the decision by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times not even to pursue it, have affected the outcome of the recent presidential race? There is no question that if such a story had run in any one of those major venues, instead of just in two online publications, Bulgegate would have been a major issue in the waning days of the campaign.

Given that exit polls show many who voted for Bush around the country listed "moral values" as a big factor in their decision, it seems reasonable to assume that at least some would have changed their minds had evidence been presented in the nation's biggest and most influential newspapers that Bush had been dishonest.

I really, really recommend that you read the whole article. It's an eye-openner. And, quite frankly, sickening.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:40 PM

    You are right; this is sickening. It also dovetails well with the subsequent story about the rise of feudalism in America. The large networks are all owned by larger corporations. The largest newspapers are subject to the same pressures. When Bob Woodward was repoting on Watergate, he was supported by the senior editors of the paper. Is this why his inability to run the story seems like more of a betrayal than the lack of courage at the New York Times? Marilyn


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