Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Disgrace that is George Will

This is a story that has infuriated me for decades, so let me vent.

Do you remember Janet Cooke?  Probably not, so let me describe her in the words of Wikipedia:

"Janet Leslie Cooke (born July 23, 1954, in Toledo, Ohio) is a former American journalist. She achieved infamy when it was discovered that she fabricated a Pulitzer Prize-winning story for The Washington Post."

The story, which was published in 1980 about an alleged 12 year old Heroin addict, resulted in Ms. Cooke being fired from the Washington Post and her never being employed again as a journalist.

Maybe appropriate punishment, maybe not.  But then, Janet Cooke was female, and black.

Now for how a white male "reporter" was treated by the press at the same time.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter was running for reelection against Ronald Reagan.  As normally happens when debate time comes around, Jimmy Carter's staff had prepared a "briefing book" detailing his positions on all the issues, and how he would respond to any particular line of questioning, which was used to prepare him for the debates.

Only, that time around, a copy of Jimmy Carter's briefing book was stolen and given to the Reagan camp.  That year, George Will was one of the people chosen to help prepare Reagan for the debate.  Will knew about the stolen briefing book, and used it to help Reagan get ready for the debates.  As a reporter, he never revealed this fact, and in fact never revealed  that he had anything to do with the Reagan campaign; he then went on TV as a commentator about the debates, and told the American people what a great job Reagan had done in the debates.

What Janet Cooke did affected no one and hurt no one.  What George Will did was undermine the sanctity of the American voting process, lie to the American people on a substantive issue, and do his part in placing in the White House the corrupt, venal man who set the country on the road to economic collapse 28 years later.  George Will's penalty?  Nothing.

Will should have been banished from any public role as a journalist for that miserable interference in our national politics, but don't forget- he is white and he is a Conservative, so, in the tradition we are so familiar with, he was permitted to do anything, no matter how despicable, to advance his party's goals.  Janet Cooke?  Too bad, but she was female, and she was black, so I guess she got what was coming to her.


Jerry Critter said...

Unfortunately things have not changed since 1980. Journalists, particularly white and conservative ones, are not held accountable for their lies and omissions. In fact, they are rewarded for them with jobs on FOX.

the yellow fringe said...

G. Will, can you imagine if he had been onto the Watergate story it would have been treated like the CIA/Olie North cocaine smuggling for Contras story, everyone that touched it driven from the industry.

Screech said...

IOKIYAR. Always has been. Vote the assholes out.