22 March 2006

Dammit Janet!

Okay, I hope none of you out there is named Janet ... this isn't aimed at you. Some of you might remember that line from SNL of the early 80's (and thus I'm dating myself).

But, look at this article. It's from my hometown newspaper. The head of Vermont's AP bureau was fired (or did he "resign"?) over a column he ran last week. What was so controversial about this column you might ask? Well, it was a column written by our Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) criticizing the administration's secretive policies vis a vis the press. A column written by a Senator for heaven's sake ... now Senators are being censored.

Update: Check out this article for more details

Update 2: Just thought I'd mention that we (my parents and I) originally learned about this in an article in the print version of yesterday's NYTimes. But I can't access that because I don't subscribe to it. But if you want to you can browse it and find the article yourself.


Now first of all the column got pulled before it hit the national wire.

Then, Chris Graff got fired ... or maybe he resigned. In any case, he's gone from 25+ years as AP bureau chief. He's the only bureau chief I can remember.

That all spells censorship to me ...

So ... what exactly is left of our democracy that we're trying so hard to "spread like a flower" throughout the Middle East?

**We don't have a verifiable voting system.

**We don't have a free press.

**We do have rampant jerrymandering.

**The system of checks and balances among the three branches of the federal government is in tatters.

We'd better hope for some good strong candidates in 2008 or our ship is well and truly sunk.

10 Comments:

Blogger Liz said...

Why was it pulled and who actully pulled it? There are too many facts missing to draw any conclusions here.

3/22/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

About your title, I'm not sure, but I think the SNL name is Jane, not Janet. Dammit, Janet is from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

3/23/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger kate said...

who(m) would you suggest as a strong, viable candidate? (if there's any trace of sarcasm there -- well, there isn't. I am truly and sincerely fascinated to see the choices of both parties, and who decides to jump in the fray independently, perhaps.)

3/23/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Croghan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/23/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Croghan said...

Janet?

Yes Brad?

I've got something to say.

Uh-huh?

I really love the...skillful way...you BEAT the other girls...to the bride's bouquet!

(John B. - and maybe Maggie - at least will get this.)

The river was deep but I swam it...Janet!

The road was long but I ran it...Janet!

There's one fool for you and I am it...Janet!

I've one thing to say and that's dammit, Janet, I love you!

;-)

3/23/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Oh it's nicer than Betty Munroe had, oh Brad
Now we're engaged and I'm so glad, oh Brad
That you've met Mum and you know Dad, oh Brad
I've one thing to say and that's

Brad I'm mad for you too...

3/23/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Okay ... now that everyone's had their fun quoting Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I am the last person in the world who hasn't seen it).

The real problem here still exists. The press is being censored if anything criticizing the administration is published. Meanwhile people like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and the like are allowed to ramble and rumble untethered spewing their lies, trash, vomit and innuendo about anyone they choose. Remember the Swift Boat debacle with John Kerry? That's the result of a censored press ... we no longer live in a free democracy and if you think that's funny and worth making jokes about. More power to you. But it makes me damn angry. This administration has stolen more of our rights under the disguise of protecting us than any other in history and we've let them. Sometime it's got to stop. Or it really will be 1984 ... just with a different date.

3/23/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Damnit Jane, you ignorant slut! Isn't that the line?

3/23/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Schuyler said...

Hmm, interesting points, Ms Solas, but do you really believe them? I hardly believe that one cannot be critical of the Administration. There is not a day, it seems, upon which at least two very critical editorials are NOT printed in the WAPost or NYT. I hope and believe that things are not quite as bad as you fear. We will see.

3/23/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

OK, given your updates, I did a little research on my own and things still don't seem to add up for me. There really does appear to be more to the story than is being printed in the media.

I did a little search and found that some folks beleive Graff was fired because of the new President and CEO of the AP Tom Curley. So, I searched on Curley and he seems to be on the same page... here is a little blurb, "Bill Moyers talks to President and CEO of the Associated Press Tom Curley about a new press effort, led by him and others in the media business, to push for less secrecy in government. In a May 7th speech, Curley unveiled a plan for a 'media advocacy center" to lobby for open government in Washington. 'The government is pushing hard for secrecy,' Curley said. 'We must push back equally hard for openness.'"

You can find that here: http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/curley.html

So Curley is in favor of open government and Graff published a piece by Leahy in support of open government, so why the upset?

It's interesting to note that the NYT article mentions (in passing) that this occured at the very same time the news agency is consolidating some of its bureaus. Maybe this has nothing to do with the article. But since neither the AP nor Graff will talk, we really won't know the whole truth. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/22/business/media/22vermonts.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin)

I really think there is a lot of jumping to conclusions here. I'm not saying it's impossible for the paper to fire someone because they don't agree with their politics. I just think in this day and age (the age of lots of employment law suits and everyone sueing for every little percieved prejudice) I really don't think the AP could fire someone for posting an article to the wire.

One more thing... as someone who has had to fire people, it's really not that easy to fire someone unless you convince them to resign first and if he was really fighting over his political beliefs as you imply he was... I don't think he would just walk away from the fight. They must have had a pretty thick file on the guy to feel they could fire him without reprocussions.

Of course, if we see Graff sueing the the AP for unlawful dismissal -- then we might find out that you're right. I just haven't seen any compelling evidence one way or the other.

3/23/2006 05:21:00 PM  

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