Ellsberg: The Washington Media Has Always Groveled

I had the pleasure of chatting with Daniel Ellsberg, who risked his career and freedom by releasing the Pentagon Papers in the early 1970s, over the last few days.  His speech at the Future of Freedom Foundation conference was superb.   Karen Kwiatkowski declared that the last 7 minutes of his speech should be put up on YouTube.com as soon as possible  – since it is so inspiring and timely. I vigorously encouraged Ellsberg and Kwiatkowski to co-author an op-ed calling for whistleblowers to expose far more lies on Iraq and the possible war with Iran.

Ellsberg brings a historical perspective that is almost unique in today’s anti-war movement.   He said that the press rolling over for the government is nothing new – it was true back in the 1970s.

Ellsberg mentioned that he asked a New York Times columnist why the Times was so soft on Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.  The columnist said, “There is nothing that a [New York Times Washington] bureau chief can deliver [to the top editors in New York] that is more important than a lunch with Kissinger.  If he can do that, his job is made – and if he can’t….” 

There are lots of  fascinating folks attending the conference – plenty of good conversation – and lots of laughs in the bar and out in front of the hotel (where the smokers congregate, since the entire hotel is non-smoking).

I’m exiting to hear Ron Paul’s speech now.


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29 Responses to Ellsberg: The Washington Media Has Always Groveled

  1. Orville H. Larson June 4, 2007 at 12:45 am #

    The New York Times has always been obsequious towards those in power. Remember their late columnist James Reston? It was said of Reston that he never met a source he didn’t like, particularly Henry Kissinger. Reston and Kissinger enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, with Reston’s lips firmly glued to Kissinger’s ass.

    Today, you can’t tell the Washington press corps apart from the D. C. establishment. This is especially true of the pompous, pretentious pricks who make up that group known as “pundits.” Whether they’re Zionist everything-for-Israel liars like William Safire, Charles Krauthammer, or Thomas Friedman, or all-purpose founts of wisdom like George F. Will, their first instinct is for currying favor with those in power.

    Karen Kwiatkowski was at the conference. I’ve read about her. From her last active-duty billet at the Pentagon, she was in an ideal position to see the nefarious activities of the neocons.

  2. Original Steve June 4, 2007 at 4:31 am #

    Karen Kwiatkowski—Is she going to run for Vice President or what?

  3. Jim June 4, 2007 at 8:41 am #

    Someone asked Karen if she would consider being Ron Paul’s VP and she said that she would do anything she could to help his candidancy.

    She gave a very effective speech – it really grabbed the audience. A thoughtful lady with fire in her belly for her principles.

  4. Jim June 4, 2007 at 8:42 am #

    Orville – George Will sometimes does excellent columns but more often I shake my head ruefully when I read his articles.

    The DC press corps wants to be part of the Establishment – that is obvious at their fancy dinners. They take their prestige and their opinions and, often, their values, from the people they write about.

  5. Original Steve June 4, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    Ron paul on Daily show tonight fyi

  6. Alpowolf June 4, 2007 at 2:12 pm #

    I guess it’s because I’m just a small town hick, but I don’t understand why the press corps admires the politicians so much.

    My first (only) direct contact with the bigwigs came when I served in the Navy in the late 70s-early 80s. My ship was part of the amphibious group that supported the Marines in Beirut in the summer and (disastrous) fall of 83. A lot of congresscritters, cabinet secretaries, etc came out to visit us so they could pretend to understand what was going on.

    I was still somewhat respectful of authority in those days, so I was struck by how ordinary and mediocre these people were. It was the beginning of my real education. It didn’t take us too long to figure out that something was wrong; enlisted men aren’t privy to the councils of the mighty, but we can smell confusion and indecision in them.

    Everything I’ve learned since then has only confirmed my contempt for our “leaders”. It seems to me that people like journalists and pundits who rub shoulders with these people every day must see what scum they are. I guess that looking “important” is so important to the press corps that they will swallow everything for it.

  7. Dirk W. Sabin June 4, 2007 at 3:35 pm #

    Ahhhh yes, smoky bars as the last redoubt of skeptical and recalcitrant journalists. Too bad internet blogging aint got a central bar for note comparison. All this modern “be nice”, spa-food, metrosexual, palm-piloting tom-foolery has resulted in a standard of journalism tailor-made for a culture suffering Weimar-envy.

    Kwiatowski and Paul would certainly be an interesting pairing but rest assured that the media swells will annoint the biggest possible jerk…or jerkette to preside over the continuing deteriorating orbit around the death star and the public will swallow it all. Leave No Thought Behind.

    All the best, Nostradickus

  8. Jim June 4, 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    Dirk – since we hadn’t heard from you in awhile, I thought you might have become either an idealist or joined the Church of Latter Day…..

    “Spa Food”?

    A dangerous place for a carnivore.

  9. Jim June 4, 2007 at 5:08 pm #

    Alpowolf – thanks for your experience from the 1980s. What a tragic time for the US Marines and others.

    I think many of the journalists are dazzled by the aura and perks of power that govt officials enjoy.

    And few journalists come to Washington because they dislike government.

  10. Dennis June 4, 2007 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m a big fan of your work. I do have a question about Ron Paul’s candidacy though. It seems he has been pretty successful in making his right wing critics look foolish, but I fear a storm coming from the left. Leftish bloggers are raking the muck to make the man look like a bigot based on an unfortunate article written by one of his aides in the early nineties. Seeing as his campaign is a real opportunity to draw people from all over the political spectrum to “the light” I think it’s important that he crush these allegations before they even appear. Is there any talk of this to your knowledge. I doubt he will get the nomination, and I think that we’d be better off without the state, but would hate to see him and his message butchered by left wing smear artists, who can be even more vicious than their right wing counterparts.

  11. Jim June 4, 2007 at 7:53 pm #

    I’ve heard some scuttlebutt on this. Haven’t pursued it.

    I think Ron Paul has said and done enough in public that that should drive the analysis & opposition, wrongheaded though it may be.

  12. Dennis June 4, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  13. Dirk W. Sabin June 5, 2007 at 11:10 am #

    Yea, out of touch for a spell, acting the capitalist as conditions warranted.
    Idealist?…..Nah, I like the country too much to be an idealist, we’re at our best when we’re messiest and not attempting perfectability and the Thousand Points of Blight or Kreatif Distrukshun.

    I’d sooner join a Bolinas commune than the Mormons, those fevered folks drove me out of the Wasatch and Red Rock too long ago to ever forgive them. Utah was a better place when it was just Trappers and assorted Digger Injun…with a few horse theiving Navajo or Shoshone to add interest. The LDS are a strange brew of Capitalistic Communists that put to much faith in what they see in hats. Great in a disaster though, we should turn FEMA over to them.Able sunbeams for the Unitary Executive, Bush stalwarts to the bitter end.

    As to Paul being assailed for his past imperfections by swooning leftists, this is their standard M.O..Infuriated Leftists make Mormons seem lacksadaisical

    Paul just needs to keep being himself, just like he always has. With this bunch of media-slaves and junket-hounds, an economy of words makes them all extremely nervous and then they launch into a kind of stream of consciousness blathering that would be funny if not so fundamentally offensive.

  14. Jean June 5, 2007 at 12:46 pm #

    Jim, I thought the conference was great. Speakers, food, the people, the beer(Sam Adams. Something good out of Boston, other than Romney) and sitting next to Karen helps out. Nice to have met you, and gotta get going on reading the books I bought.

  15. Jim June 5, 2007 at 3:32 pm #

    Jean – I enjoyed meeting you – I didn’t expect an authentic French Canadian (or at least French) influence at the conference, and you redeemed it!

    The Sam Adams Lager draft beer was superb – one of the highlights of US brewing.

  16. Jim June 5, 2007 at 3:35 pm #

    I’ll tell George W. your idea about replacing FEMA with the LDS the next time he and I get together for brew.

    I think Ron Paul will be attacked more vigorously by the non-leftists than by leftists. My sense is that many leftists appreciate his consistency and his foreign policy views — and his courage.

    On the other hand, some conservatives & NeoCons despite Paul for vigorously opposing their god, Leviathan.

  17. Lawhobbit June 5, 2007 at 6:35 pm #

    Doesn’t the Left just worship a different tentacle of the same god? I can’t see them giving him a pass on his “government out of the social sector tendencies,” particularly when they like making war for their own reasons. Or had we gotten out of Kosovo when I wasn’t looking? 😛

  18. Jim June 5, 2007 at 10:38 pm #

    I expect that many on the Left will cheer Paul as long as he drains the momentum of the leading GOP candidates.

    ‘Course, this might not be a good strategy by the Leftists – since the GOP machine seems hellbent on nominating some mini-Mussolini.

  19. Dirk W. Sabin June 6, 2007 at 1:55 pm #

    Rudy’s continuing fevered devotions to “Nation Building” is only slightly more alarming than Tommy Thompson’s suggestion that he would , if President appoint El Screwtator to go on the road to schools in America as the roving ambassador of “hard work, honesty and integrity”. Having this pampered scion of the munitions and petrolium industry lecture on integrity and hard work is like asking Emily Post to cater a kegger at the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada. Is there a possible limit to the GodismyCo-Pilot peter-metering these people insist upon? Just because that favorite dysfunctional juvenile called the mainline media insists on asking stupidly inflammatory questions of all sorts is no reason to oblige them by pandering to a fair-thee-well.

  20. Jim June 6, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    I am relieved to know that your idealistic aspirations for American democracy remain undaunted.

  21. Scott June 6, 2007 at 5:01 pm #


    Did you see the debate last night? I missed it but I have heard that Ron Paul was not asked many questions. So is the theory here to ignore him now since giving him any attention will show how shallow the rest of the candidates are?

  22. Dirk W. Sabin June 7, 2007 at 4:03 pm #

    Not only did they not ask Paul many questions, one of their ijit reporters came on in the after-debate analysis and asserted that the Republican candidates were unanimous in their support of staying in Iraq “until victory”. They are treating Paul like the proverbial “Crazy Uncle” and will continue to do so because they are an ill-trained, pathologically impaired bunch that fills all the various categories of the crypto anti-social, passive aggressive behavior of a dysfunctional teenager who delights in showing up at the dinner table and asking several inflammatory questions just as the first bite is in the mouth….and then, when all hell breaks loose, they look back and say “whadIdo?” like Eddie Haskell, if Eddie Haskells Genetic Father was Hannibal Lectre.

    In fact, their summary dismissal of Paul as vaguely , charmingly nutty and refreshing but a tad “my favorite martianish” is the best reason, among many to support him.

    It remains a difficult question , in a sinking boat with 2 life preservers, who one would toss overboard , the current Gomer Pyle Fascism Govt and their Idiot’s Guide to the Enlightenment or the Media and their Edvard Munch Guide to Newscasting. I’d toss both of em , hell, I’d jump and start swimming as fast as possible just to get away from the stench. But I mean this in only the nicest way.
    Reverently yours,
    Francis Scott Dick

  23. Jim June 7, 2007 at 5:13 pm #

    On the other hand, at least the political system has always preserved our liberty so far.

  24. Scott June 7, 2007 at 5:55 pm #

    I could not have said it any better. Thank God we have the internet to at least try to get this man’s message out there. We are all on the Titanic and the crew can only move around the deck chairs!
    Of course, if anyone in the government had their druthers, they would love to censor the internet. For the children of course.

  25. Jean June 7, 2007 at 6:06 pm #

    Jim, thanks for the comments and in the future, if FFF or any other organization has a conference like this, I will personally bring the Fredric Basitat brigade down there, and kick butt with a great deal of logic and reason
    The Paul campaign is on fire. Just read a news account that in just a little over 2 months, they have raised anywhere from 3 to million dollars. Keep it coming.

  26. Jean June 7, 2007 at 6:07 pm #

    I meant to say 3 to 4 million dollars. Oh boy!!!

  27. Jim June 8, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    The Bastiat brigade sounds invincible – and these causes need all the brigades they can draw.

    Yes, it is encouraging to see the Ron Paul campaign doing so well this early.

  28. wrez June 8, 2007 at 9:44 am #

    I’m a little late with what I have to say, but I just wanted to add my contribution to the discussion.

    I did see “debate”, and indeed Mr. Paul was left conspicuously out of it; asked a mere three or four questions, a paltry amount compared even to the other second-tier candidates like Brownback and Tancredo. He didn’t even get a tongue-lashing from that righteous champion of all that is right, Sean Hannity, in the Fox postgame analysis this time.

    I did see him on the Daily Show, however, and it was a very good interview, though I wish Jon Stewart had given Mr. Paul a double segment like he had with Al Gore and Bubba Clinton. He (Stewart) seemed surprised that there was a man in congress who was as consistent in his views and as focused on actual freedom as Mr. Paul. While Stewart can at times be a bit too left wing for my tastes, I enjoy watching the Daily Show, finding it absolutely hilarious at times.

    The day after the “debate”, Tucker Carlson opened his show with a good five or ten minute one-on-one interview with Mr. Paul in which he came very close to endorsing the Representative. Perhaps there is hope after all.

    I’m a Michiganian, a good ways from his district, but I wish Mr. Paul a long and prosperous life. It’s a terrible shame that he is the sole voice of reason in a Congress with hundreds of empty suits, and when he’s gone, either by the voters or the Hand of God, it will be a very long time before we have another like him.

  29. Dirk W. Sabin June 11, 2007 at 1:29 pm #

    You are right in your rejoinder that the political system we have has preserved our liberty to date….actually it is a testimony to the essential strength of the Republic that it has withstood the politics and manifest popular silliness of the last couple decades and in particular, this administration.

    In fact, ask me a few months ago whether I thought Ron Paul and his ideas would be getting major media notice and I would have laughed out loud.

    Good luck on the paperback release.