One President's Secrets—And The Media That Keeps Them

Reading Time: 5 minutes There’s still a striking double standard between the way the big American media treat American officials and foreigners. Let’s compare Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former President George H.W. Bush. Have a look at a recent New York Times article about Putin’s response to leaked diplomatic cables that cast him in a negative light. Read More

Barack Obama, Stanley McChrystal

Woodward Update: The Post And The Generals

Reading Time: 4 minutes Bob Woodward’s affect is that of a human tape recorder. He claims that he is no more than a passive chronicler of events.  Yet he has played a significant role in the unfolding history he reports, from Watergate on down to the leak of General McChrystal’s memo pushing for increased troop strength in Afghanistan.  (See Read More

Bob Woodward, Obama's Wars

“Obama’s Wars”: The Real Story Bob Woodward Won’t Tell

Reading Time: 5 minutes Just one year before the publication of “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward became a player in his own book-in-progress. He morphed into his true identity: Warrior Bob. Actually, there’s an even deeper persona, Agent Woodward—but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In June of 2009, Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, President Obama’s National Security Read More

Voters: The Horror Movie

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s like some kind of horror movie in which people are behaving verrrry strangely. First, though, we don’t see anything odd at all. For example, The Associated Press reports in a new poll that More than half the country backs raising taxes on the richest Americans But then there’s the vague notion of something slightly Read More

Russ Baker in Los Angeles

Reading Time: 1 minute Date: Saturday, Sept. 25 Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm Location: Private home City/Town: Topanga Canyon, CA JOIN RUSS BAKER IN LA Please join award-winning investigative journalist and author Russ Baker for a talk, reading and signing of his book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Past Fifty Read More

Bones to Pick With Obama

Reading Time: 2 minutes Barack Obama is on the road these days, taking off after the special interests and elites, and defending the middle class. He is talking about equity and openness. He wants to end tax cuts for the wealthiest. Given Obama’s rhetoric, one might think that in his appointment recently of a new chairman of the White Read More

Peculiar Posner

Reading Time: 3 minutes At first glance, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Here’s a complaint letter to the editor published in The New York Times, from a man representing the highly controversial brother of Afghanistan’s president Karzai—and the letter-writer’s name is Gerald Posner. Gerald Posner? Isn’t that the same name as the investigative journalist who resigned from Read More

General McChrystal’s New Job: Dig a Bit, Please

Reading Time: 4 minutes Did you happen to see how fast General Stanley McChrystal landed on his feet after President Obama fired him for insubordination? In a now-famous Rolling Stone article, the then-commander of US troops in Afghanistan expressed contempt for Obama and Vice President Biden, and a generally profane manner regarding just about everyone. But practically no time Read More

The Old Media, Wikileaks, or a Third Way?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Almost two weeks have passed since WikiLeaks’ cyber-dump of nearly 80,000 classified military documents on the Afghan war, making this a good time to step back and examine the phenomenon. Whatever one makes of the controversy, it is a striking fact that, notwithstanding their cautionary notes, the mainstream media tacitly endorsed the release by providing Read More

Senators’ Confidential Worries About Democracy Itself

Reading Time: 3 minutes Amid the constant fracas of daily political life, it is often hard to see the big picture of power in America (and, for that matter, the world.) In researching my book, Family of Secrets, I came to a fresh appreciation of this big picture, assembling a vast amount of new evidence of the extent to Read More

Keeping The War Far From Home

Reading Time: 2 minutes The other day, I received a press release about an upcoming event. The release had been forwarded to me after the event, and, since I found it compelling,  I wondered how much media attention it got. The answer in a minute…. But first, the release: DETROIT — On  June 26, at 2pm, a group of Read More

Oil Execs On Safety: “I Am the Walrus..”

Reading Time: 2 minutes In a remarkable display of finger-pointing, oil company executives went after BP today, claiming that if they had been running the Deepwater Horizon rig, no accident would have been possible. But as several congressmen pointed out, all the companies’ safety procedures are absurdly inadequate. Which raises the question: how well do we, as a society, Read More

Examining Split Hairs In a Disaster

Reading Time: 2 minutes There’s some fancy footwork going on, but the New York Times doesn’t seem willing to deal with it head on. Let’s consider a short section of an article on the New York Times’ website, headlined U.S. Plans ‘for Worst’ in Gulf, Seeing Risk in Leak Strategy. The section deals with BP’s culpability: Mr. Dudley denied Read More

Bush's New Bankruptcy

Reading Time: 2 minutes Just read breaking news that the Texas Rangers baseball team—the entity that put George W. Bush on the path to the presidency–has filed for bankruptcy. According to Bloomberg News: The Texas Rangers, the Major League Baseball team controlled by billionaire Thomas Hicks, filed for bankruptcy after the planned sale of the team fell through. The Arlington, Texas-based Read More

No Sunshine On Sunstein's Dark Spots

Reading Time: 3 minutes Recently a New York Times Magazine article profiled Cass Sunstein, the most powerful man in government you never heard of. And it absolutely buried the lead—the main reason to take an interest in this fellow. Under the decidedly benign headline “Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us,” we learn that Sunstein, a close friend of President Read More

Taxidermy, or the Big Game of Freebies

Reading Time: 2 minutes I’m constantly struck by ways in which the privileged and the powerful manage to define the terms of discussion. Things like “welfare reform” and “compassionate conservatism.” Hard to be against those things, unless one knows something about what the nasty business they really involve. Thus, I was intrigued by a recent essay from Martin Lobel, Read More

Cancer Warning Ring Any Bells?

Reading Time: 2 minutes A recent column from Nicholas Kristof illustrates, almost inadvertently, why the rise of new, less cautious media organizations (like-well, whowhatwhy.org) is so crucial. Headlined “New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer,” the essay describes a new report on cancer from a presidential board …warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for Read More

Finance Bill Bad—Oops, Too Late

Reading Time: 2 minutes An article about financial reform legislation seems too little, too late—and points out the need for better journalism in this area. Headlined “Senate Financial Bill Misguided, Some Academics Say,” this New York Times article of May 3 was buried on Page A16 of the paper edition, and easily missable on the website. Note the warning Read More