Rather blasts Bush secrecy

Rather blasts Bush secrecy

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

CBS anchorman Dan Rather appeared recently on the Matt Drudge radio program. Among other things, he expressed outrage and disgust at the Bush administration’s increasing secrecy, especially regarding the looming war with Iraq.

“There has never been an American war small or large,” Rather said, “in which access has been so, limited as this one.

“For God’s sake—and for the sake of the war effort—let’s not turn the war into entertainment! It’s an obscene comparison, but then there was a time in South Africa where people would put flaming tires around people’s necks if they dissented and in some ways, the fear is that you will be necklaced here. You will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. It is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often.”

Rather continued: “What you have is a miniature version of what you have in totalitarian states. If they produce films about how great the great leader is and how he is getting greater in every way, every day.

“The Pentagon’s stated policy is maximum access and maximum information consistent with national security. But what is going on to a very large extent,” he said, “is a belief that the public doesn’t need to know. Limiting access, limiting information to cover the backsides of those in charge of the war, is extremely dangerous and cannot and should not be accepted.”

Rather went on to say that the American public, by and large, has accepted such a practice and that the administration revels in that condition and hides behind it.

“The belief runs so strong in both the political and the military leadership that in the current war effort, those who control the images will control public opinion. They realize what an entertainment-oriented society ours has become.

“I hope this doesn’t go any farther,” Rather said,“it has gone too far already. I am appalled by it. I do think it is an outrage.”

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