Sep 23, 2006

Clinton Smashes Faux News & the "Truthiness" it Promotes

Not Everyone Can Handle the Truth. Indeed, Reality has a Liberal Bias!

Do you think it’s important to understand? Can you handle the truth even if you don’t like what it reveals? Do you have the courage to amend your ideas, perceptions? If so, that’s good, and this country needs more people like you! Impressions do matter, we all form them often on skimpy evidence, but a reasonable [emphasis on reason] person has the ability of revision. Yet, much of our politics are based on false impressions, on images that have little or no relation to reality, on rumors & innuendos, and on ..truthiness! [Stephen Colbert coined this word which means something that feels right is the truth. For example, “I'm no fan of reality, and I'm no fan of encyclopedias. I've said it before: Who is Encyclopedia Britannica to tell me George Washington had slaves? If I want to say George Washington didn't have slaves, that's my right. And now, thanks to Wikipedia, it's also a fact."]

Much of our collective “memory” rests on fictional Hollywood characters and distorted historical facts. Besides, we are a nation that doesn’t know its own history. We’re not readers, we are consumers of convenience. We like it easy (filtered, sweet & mushy), and big & loud. And, we don’t care to know what the rest of the world says. After all, "We’re number one!" In this light, it’s no wonder why so many Americans believe all sorts of conspiracy theories, UFOs, and Bill O’Reilly. These are the same people who make the vile & ignorant Ann Coulter a multi-millionaire.

If it feels right, it’s true. Ask Homer Simpson, he’d tell you that if it’s on TV it’s a fact! A few days ago, ABC showed “The Path to 9-11”—a fictional (and libelous) account of a period in our recent history. It “confirmed” what many people already “knew” that is, the Clinton administration was to blame for not destroying Osama and his Al-Qaeda “because Clinton was too distracted with Monica and didn’t go after Bin Laden when he had the opportunity to capture or kill him.” The same people also blame president Clinton for the terrorist attacks on 9-11-2001.

Faux News has been promoting all this nonsense and more. It’s OK to have an ideological & political bend, but this network is nothing more than a brain-washing machine. Well, it doesn’t have to try too hard anyway, because it’s job is not to clean the misconceptions but to enhance and perpetuate them. Dumbing down your audience never requires seeking the truth by examining the facts. Truthiness will suffice!

As I’m writing this, Fox News is planning to air an interview with Bill Clinton on Sunday, 9/24. If you can’t watch it, you can read the full transcript here. Clinton was masterful in destroying the myths the conservatives have been creating regarding 9-11. Chris Wallace asked Clinton questions that were based on the falsehoods shown in the Path to 9-11. Here are some excerpts:

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I got to say I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President? There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.
WALLACE: …may I just finish the question sir. And after the attack, the book says, Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20/20.
CLINTON: No let’s talk about…
WALLACE: …but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?
CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits but I want to talk about the context of which this arises. I’m being asked this on the FOX network…ABC just had a right wing conservative on the Path to 9/11 falsely claim that it was based on the 9/11 Commission report with three things asserted against me that are directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much. Same people.

And, here Clinton takes aim at the Conservatives:

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough sir?
CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn’t…I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke… So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..
WALLACE: Now wait a minute sir…
WALLACE: I asked a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked: Why didn’t you do
anything about the Cole? I want to know how many you asked: Why did you fire Dick Clarke? I want to know…

The former president made a comparison between his priorities regarding terrorism and Bush’s demonstrated incompetence:

CLINTON: What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive theme when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…
WALLACE: [Laughs]
CLINTON: I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get Bin Laden. I regret it but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending special forces into Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise…We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that’s strange.

Of course, I have no illusions that anything like this can penetrate a very narrow frame of mind. What facts fall outside this small frame are discarded. In that universe not only everybody is entitled to his opinion, but to his own facts too!

Editor's note: Fixed the link ["here" above] to the transcript of the Clinton interview. Also, this is how Faux News is promoting the interview: