I have been tuning in to a lot of the Blogger's Roundtables that the Pentagon has been offering up lately. I used a number of them as raw material for my last podcast on the role of al Qaeda in Iraq. Now, I learn that Harper's Magazine thinks there is something wrong with this. Grim at Blackfive has an extended post about the issue. The crime we are accused of committing? Listening and writing.
I'm still going through the transcripts, which identify some but not all of the blogger-Surrogates. They include military writers like Andrew Lubin, from the aptly named blog On Point and Jarred Fishman, The Air Force Pundit. Other participants have included Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard, Jonathan Gurwitz, an editorial writer for the San Antonio Express-News and contributor to the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, Victoria Coates and Streiff from RedState, Mark Finklestein of News Busters and Austin Bay, who blogs and conducts podcasts for Pajamas Media, and writes a national security column for Creators Syndicate.Hey what about me? What is the Wizbang Podcast, chopped liver?
Some of the bloggers are transparent about taking part in conference calls. Goldfarb took part in a June 26 call focusing on Guantanamo Bay with J. Alan Liotta, principle director for the Pentagon's Office of Detainee Affairs; when he wrote about it he noted that Liotta's remarks were made "to a few bloggers on a conference call this morning arranged by the office of the secretary of defense."For shame! Michael has a source and he provides an attribution to him. There's more shocking behavior going on out there:
By the way, just today the Surrogates program held a blogger's roundtable with Brigadier General Robert Holmes and another conference call for civilian defense experts with Brigadier General Edward Cardon. Look for both men to be quoted--very sympathetically--in newspapers and on websites shortly.
Before these bloggers start to complain that they've done nothing wrong, I'd like to ask how they would feel if a group of handpicked, administration-friendly liberal bloggers had done the same thing during the Clinton years. I believe they would have objected vociferously-and I would have agreed with them. No one, on any side, should let themselves be used to spread the administration's gospel. At least not anyone who can pretend to journalistic standards.
That last one is priceless.
Pretend to journalistic standards, eh? Isn't that what happens every day to the
journalistscovering Iraq? (Note the snicker quotes for Mike Drummond.) Don't they just parrot all the Democratic talking points spreading anti-administration gospel? We're just fighting back against their spin.