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    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor

    Friday, January 14, 2005

    Missing: perception of truth 

    The Web is abuzz with discussions of President Bush's politics, policies and decisions these days. Some of the strongest criticisms ever of this administration have been showing up in blogs, columns, and forums in the last few days. The topics: Iraq and WMDs, and Social Security. Many commentators are linking the two:
    Social Security:
    This is the topic that seems to be raising the most passion in blogs and other conversations online. There is lots of worry and anger out there, and I'm not seeing much defense of the president's proposals anywhere.
    Among the strongest protests, The Daily Howler looks at Bush's latest statements on Social Security and flatly accuses him of lying.
    Kevin Drum of Political Animal has been commenting regularly about the Social Security proposals, and pulls much of his thoughts together in this post, with links to official reports on the state of the system.
    Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo also has lots and lots of quotes and links on this topic.
    The Dead Parrot Society, a group blog, has also been filled with postings on Social Security. One interesting recent post is on the failure of Britain's privatization system, here quoting an article in The American Prospect:
      "Just as the United States prepares to funnel untold billions to its private sector for the management of private accounts, back in 2002, many U.K. insurance companies, mindful of tough new rules against giving bad advice, began to write to their customers urging them to consider abandoning their private savings and returning to the state pension system -- something hundreds of thousands of Britons have done already."

    Another latest post discusses the errors in Bush's latest speech on Social Security.

    Iraq's WMDs:
    The CIA's Iraq Survey Group has given up on the search for weapons of mass distruction. Their final report, issued in September, is available online at
    The Washington Post (registration may be required) has a chart comparing the group's report to previous administration statements.
    South Knox Bubba has also pulled together all the adminstration's past statements on WMDs (now proven wrong).
    The AP compares administration statements from before the war, and after, when they had to find other justification for the invasion.
    Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell has a column comparing the WMD question to the CBS report on Bush's military service. He criticises the media for giving more coverage to the latter than the former.
    Also on this topic, The High Price of Official Lies in the New American.

    In an opinion column in the Washington Post (registration may be required), Harold Meyerson calls Bush "President of Fabricated Crises" and says,
      "... when historians look back at the Bush presidency, they're more likely to note that what sets Bush apart is not the crises he managed but the crises he fabricated. The fabricated crisis is the hallmark of the Bush presidency. To attain goals that he had set for himself before he took office -- the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the privatization of Social Security -- he concocted crises where there were none.
      ...We've had plenty of presidents, Richard Nixon most notoriously, who divided the media into friendly and enemy camps. I can't think of one, however, so fundamentally invested in the spread of disinformation -- and so fundamentally indifferent to the corrosive effect of propaganda on democracy -- as Bush. That, too, should earn him a page in the history books."

    David Corn of The Nation also writes on this, saying:
      "No WMDs. No Social Security crisis. Reality does not reign in Bush's world. It's wrong that conservative columnist Armstrong Williams was paid by the administration to push pro-Bush propaganda. But what's far worse--and more dangerous--is that (White House spokesman Scott) McClellan receives taxpayer dollars to promote and defend Bush's facts-free fantasies."

    posted by liz at 9:47 AM
    Comments: Post a Comment

    Elisabeth Donovan

    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.

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