Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Our "Balance"-Obssessed GOP/Media Complex
Sara Robinson, over at David Neiwert's Orcinus blog, mentions E.J. Dionne's recent Huffington Post piece on how the US media got hamstrung by the quest for 'balance'. Speaking of the problems with 'balance' journalism, here's a good example thereof: The AP did a story today on Dana Rohrabacher's chiding the FBI for not fully looking into who helped McVeigh blow up the Murrah Building. Several lines of inquiry were given the same weight in the article (including a patently bogus effort to somehow tie in Saddam Hussein through an "Iraqi national") , even though only two of them -- the effort to check out McVeigh's possible ties to the neo-Nazi bank robbers who were running rampant in the 1990s, and McVeigh's contacts with the Oklahoma white supremacists -- actually had any basis in reality:
Rohrabacher's report cites several leads the subcommittee believes weren't fully investigated, including: Information that McVeigh called a German citizen living at a white supremacist compound in Oklahoma two weeks before the bombing and that two witnesses saw the men together before the bombing. Witness accounts that another man was seen with McVeigh around the time of the bombing. The FBI originally looked for another suspect it named John Doe 2, even providing a sketch, but abruptly dropped that line of inquiry. The subcommittee concludes that decision was a mistake. Findings in AP articles in 2003 and 2004 that indicated the FBI had gathered some evidence suggesting a group of neo-Nazi bank robbers may have been tied to McVeigh. The subcommittee interviewed three of those robbers, and all denied a connection. A fourth member of the gang died and a fifth member could not be located by Congress. Phone record and witness testimony that persons associated with Middle Eastern terrorism in the Philippines may have had contact with Nichols, and that Nichols took a book about explosives to the Philippines. The FBI and Filipino police spent months investigating such a connection, but ruled it out. Information from a former TV reporter concerning an Iraqi national who was in Oklahoma around the time of the bombing.David and Sara know all about the far-right-wing's fetish for bank robbery as a fundraising tool, but not many persons outside of the militia-watching movement are as knowledgeable about it. Yet you'd think that a reporter covering the McVeigh probe would know why this would be a much more profitable line of inquiry than, say, any efforts to pin the crime on brown-skinned guys from overseas.
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