Journalism Interrupted: The Nation Fail
(AntiWar.com) -- by Larisa Alexandrovna --
The Nation has been a true and trusted friend of mine for years. I know the editors and many of the writers and have nothing but respect for their work. Most importantly, I have great respect for their consistent adherence to the highest journalistic standards.
Yesterday, however, The Nation ran a piece that is nothing short of character assassination, serving no newsworthy purpose, and rightfully criticized by others as a barely disguised political hit-piece.
The article, entitled "TSAstroturf: The Washington Lobbyists and Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind the TSA Scandal" by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine essentially implies that the entire libertarian movement is nothing more than a front for the billionaire Koch brothers and their corporatist allies – and by extension that libertarian protesters and groping victims are all hired pawns representing these interests. But do Ames and Levine implicate the American Civil Liberties Union in this project as well? After all, the David and Charles Koch each donated $10 million to the ACLU, an organization which is also opposing the TSA’s nude scanners and full body frisks.
This article offers nothing in the way of proof for its allegations, but provides plenty of speculation and bizarre claims of guilt-by-association, beginning with the very first paragraph:
Does anyone else sense something strange is going on with the apparently spontaneous revolt against the TSA? This past week, the media turned an "ordinary guy," 31-year-old Californian John Tyner, who blogs under the pseudonym "Johnny Edge," into a national hero after he posted a cell phone video of himself defending his liberty against the evil government oppressors in charge of airport security.The writers fail to grasp something basic about society it seems. When people are outraged, they tend to be galvanized very quickly. Many people who respects individual rights, regardless of political leanings, oppose the TSA’s new and extremely invasive security policies.
Consider for a moment what the issue is. The government of "we the people" demanded that the "we" that it is supposed to represent give up our rights to our most sacrosanct property – our bodies – in order to have free passage across this supposed free nation.
In essence, my ability to travel in the United States of America is contingent on me allowing a government agent to either see me naked or feel me up. This outrages me. This outrages everyone I know. The level of invasiveness is the galvanizing factor. So no, I don’t find it "strange" that there was a "spontaneous revolt against the TSA." I would find it strange if there was instead the sound of crickets in response to such clear and obscene acts of government overreach.
Ames and Levine are suspicious, but suspicions alone do not make for good journalism. Moreover, unfounded and unsupported suspicions – like those on display in this piece – do not even make for a good op-ed.
While this issue is certainly important – and offensive – to Americans, we are nonetheless skeptical about how and why this story turned into a national movement. In fact, this whole campaign feels a bit like déjà-vu: As the first reporters to expose the Tea Party as an Astroturf PR campaign funded by FreedomWorks and Koch-related front groups back in February, 2009, we see many of the same elements driving the current "rebellion" against the TSA: Koch-related libertarians, Washington lobbyists and PR operatives posing as "ordinary citizens," and suspicious fake-grassroots outrage relentlessly promoted in the same old right-wing echo chamber.Perhaps Ames and Levine took a dinner discussion they were having and simply assumed that it would make for good journalism. Not so. They ask and answer their own question and yet continue to express skepticism. They note that "the [TSA] issue" is "offensive to Americans" and then ask "how and why this story turned into a national movement" all in the same sentence...MORE...LINK
The sick liberal Nation magazine loves statist authoritarians like Joseph Stalin and TSA government thugs and molesters