Thursday, May 31, 2007

CBS Silences General Dissent

You're probably tired of hearing me say that I no longer watch television news. Here's one more reason. Check out the article by Amy Goodman entitled "CBS Silences General Dissent". Here's part of what it says:

Listening to retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, you sense his intense loyalty to the military. He commanded the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, capping a 31-year Army career. So why did CBS News fire him as a paid news consultant? A straight answer from CBS seems as elusive as those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The short answer: Batiste appeared in a television advertisement sponsored by, a nonpartisan group that advocates for veterans. In the 30-second spot, he said, in part: “Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril.”

Batiste is one of the six retired generals who called for the resignation of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the spring of 2006. Of those generals, he alone both served at a high level in the Pentagon and commanded 22,000 troops in Iraq. Despite a promised promotion to three-star general, which would have made him the second-highest-ranking officer in Iraq, Batiste made the difficult decision to retire and speak out.
CBS News has reached a new low when it censors even a pro-war Republican retired general merely for criticizing the president. The power that the broadcasters have amassed, their craven servility to the Bush administration and its failed wars, and their refusal to offer airtime to dissenters all amount to a direct threat to our democracy, a far greater threat than Saddam’s imagined WMDs.

To say that the president has placed our nation in peril is very strong. It's also true. Shame on CBS for punishing General Batiste for saying so.

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