Washington Post's Disturbing Defense of Criminal Elites

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Ben Cohen
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Glenn Greenwald runs through a high profile list of politicians of both parties guilty of breaking the law and their almost rote defense in the pages of the Washington Post. A couple of examples:

ThePost Editors, July 3, 2007:

IN COMMUTING I. Lewis Libby's prison sentence yesterday, President Bush took the advice of, among others, William Otis, a former federal prosecutor who wrote on the opposite page last month that Mr. Libby should neither be pardoned nor sent to prison. We agree that a pardon would have been inappropriate and that the prison sentence of 30 months was excessive. . . . Add to that Mr. Libby's long and distinguished record of public service, and we sympathize with Mr. Bush's conclusion "that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.".....

ThePost Editors, November 28, 2010:

THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) schemed to get around a Texas law prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns . . . .Mr. DeLay's conduct was wrong. It was typical of his no-holds-barred approach to political combat. But when Mr. DeLay, following the conviction, assailed "the criminalization of politics," he had a fair point.

Greenwald's piece highlights the cozy relationship the US media has with the political establishment, providing yet more reason to look elsewhere for substantive news. Greenwald writes:

The political satirist Finley Peter Dunne famously said that the most valuable role of journalism is that it "comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable." ThePost -- speaking on behalf of the establishment political culture it represents -- has perfected the art of doing exactly the opposite.

The Washington Post's record of never speaking truth to power was most evident during the build up to the Iraq war, when it failed consistently to report on the anti war movement and never really promoted pieces that seriously challenged the White House's position. We shouldn't expect anything different, but it would be nice to see at least a superficial effort at confronting power. These days, it seems even that is too much to ask.