Self-editing is overrated. Or is it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Evidence is in the eye of the beholder.

As you may remember, our old pal Jack Abramoff had been indicted for violating various laws concerning illegal lobbying and corruption, and everybody in Washington DC was trying to explain why they had never heard of him before, even though they had clearly accepted money from him.

President Bush was no exception, but, of course, as they always do, they had a story ready to go.

Press secretary Scott McClellan said the now disgraced lobbyist had attended two huge holiday receptions and a few "staff-level meetings" that were not worth describing further. "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him," McClellan said.

Wow, what are the odds, huh? The most powerful Republican lobbyist in Washington, and the president has no idea who he is. It must be because he's such an independent thinker, right?

Au contraire, mon frere, says Time Magazine. In an article published in this week's issue, Time editors claim that they have seen 5 different photos of Jack Abramoff together with George Bush in social functions. And this is not like at a PTA meeting, these photos were taken at high-profile events where only the high-rollingest of the Republican high rollers (and you know that's saying something) were invited.

Well! There's nothing like catching somebody in a lie! (And we all know we've had a lot of oportunities for that lately.) SO!.....uh.......hey, where are these photos?

Oh, we can't publish them, says Time Magazine. The owner of the photos (who we can't identify) won't allow us to publish them. But they exist! We swear! We saw them!

Uh....yeah, thanks a lot, Time Magazine. We're kind of in a day and age now where actual proof is pretty important. Instead, we're sorta left to figure it out for ourselves. Great, we're back to where we started. Sigh.

All right, let's think this through, just you and me. Now who exactly would stand to gain by the mention that photos exist of Abramoff and the president together, yet not actually allow them to be shown to the public? Hmmmmmm. Well, the Democrats need the proof, so it's not them. The Republicans have been trying to deny that any proof exists, so it's not them either. The White House says it has the photos, but you can go to hell if you think that they're letting you see them.

So who exactly does that leave?

Ooooh! I got it!

Jack Abramoff!

As reported by Raw Story, Michael Isikoff, senior reporter for Newsweek Magazine blows the whistle and confirms that Jack Abramoff, in fact, has been recently shopping photos that sound EXACTLY like the ones that Time is reporting that they've seen.

Appearing on MSNBC (watch it here), Isikoff breaks it down for us: "As a general rule, if you’re the president … you don’t like pictures out there of you with convicted felons. It sounds like … there’s at least one picture of him with at least one convicted felon and another indicted, so it’s probably not a picture the White House is eager to have out there. "

"The other interesting aspect of this is," he continued, "while the White House hasn’t put these out, Jack Abramoff has clearly shown them to people. I don’t know anything about Time sources, but I do know that he showed them to Washingtonian magazine, which suggests he may be playing a little bit of a game here. He has, of course, pled guilty already to the Justice Department. But it does raise a question in my mind at least as to whether Abramoff is maybe sort of sending some sort of signal out here: 'Hey, I’ve got this stuff.' Maybe he wants something from somebody at the White House, or he wants someone at the White House not to do something, and just sort of subtly playing with people here. "

Wow, you mean that the press has been made an unwilling pawn in a story about political power? Why does that sound so familiar to me?

Maybe we should sit down and figure that one out together too.

In other news.....

Memo to Vanilla Ice,

Come home, all is forgiven.


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