On “Countdown” last night, Keith Olbermann and Markos Moulistsas rightly savaged the National Geographic Channel for producing a Fox News style interview with George Bush on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Olbermann noted that while Bush refers to 9/11 as a “monumental” and “significant” event but he never uses word like “tragic” or “sad.” Moulitsas suggested that the reason Bush did not describe the attacks as “tragic” is because he and his party did not view the attack as a tragedy but rather as an opportunity to install a more authoritarian regime inside the government.
The Bush interview and the release of Dick Cheney’s memoir were strategically timed to come out around the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks next month.
Like Cheney’s book, in which he defiantly refuses to accept any blame or responsibility for his disastrous co-presidency with Bush, while vigorously defending the alleged war crimes he and Bush committed when they instructed the CIA to torture terror suspects, the Bush interview on the NatGeo Channel is the latest iteration of an ongoing campaign to whitewash the history of the Bush presidency.
The sad part, as Olbermann and Moulitsas pointed out, is that National Geographic willingly tarnished its own brand with this interview by allowing Bush to paper over his serial failures of leadership on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the aftermath of the attacks.
NatGeo’s complicity in Bush’s historical revisionism is reminiscent of the New Yorker Magazine’s shocking publication of a puff piece on House Speaker John Boehner in January. The piece, written by right-wing propagandist Peter Boyer, ignored multiple allegations that Boehner has had extramarital affairs, a journalistic sin that Boyer compounded by deceptively omitting the fact that former Speaker Newt Gingrich was forced out of office by members of his own caucus because he was having an affair with a staffer, his current wife, Calista Bisek, while he was leading the impeachment of Pres. Bill Clinton over his denial in a civil deposition that he was having an affair with a staff member.
It’s one thing for these once-respected journalistic institutions to produce stories that are intended to be fair presentations of the views and policies of the American right, but it is another matter when they allow themselves to be vehicles for Fox News-style, Republican propaganda.