THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH? Sunday, May 6, 2007
Every Sunday CUIP’s political coordinator Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, May 6, 2007 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show” and "Meet the Press.” Below is an excerpt from Talk Talk. To read it in its entirety, go to:
Salit: George Tenet, former CIA director, was on “Meet the Press.” Tim Russert tried to discover whether Tenet was an honest broker in the run up to the war or an enabler, someone who crossed over into politics, into marketing, into the business of selling the war to the American people, rather than being an objective analyst of the conditions in Iraq and Iraq’s role – if any – in 9/11. Let me begin by asking you whether you accept that framing, that bright line distinction between honest broker and enabler.
Newman: I don’t accept that distinction. Doesn’t he work for him?
Salit: Doesn’t Tenet work for Bush?
Newman: Last I heard that’s how it was. That doesn’t just blur the distinction. It seems to me it destroys the distinction.
Salit: Yes, he works for the president. He’s appointed by the president and he serves at the pleasure of the president. But there’s this idea that he’s supposed to deliver honest, unfiltered information and assessments to the president.
Newman: Well, on the one hand, in my opinion, there is no such thing as “honest, unfiltered information.” That doesn’t exist. All presentations of this kind – giving the “facts of the matter” – are going to be, in some critical ways, subjective. To me, the serious question is: are they going to be subjective in this direction or subjective in that direction? And if you’re giving this to someone you work for, it’s probable that the subjective direction will be consistent with the fact that this is the guy you work for. This notion of a god-like objectivity is, it seems to me, outlandish. You could raise the question of whether there was an excess of collusion between Tenet and Bush, between the CIA and the White House. I don’t know how you could ever prove that.........