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2006 -- Bush's Accountability Year

By Robert Parry
November 21, 2005

Finally, the prospects are brightening that George W. Bush and his neoconservative allies might face some accountability for their endless deceptions, their high-handed governance of the United States and their repeated trampling of international law.

As unlikely as it might have seemed just a few months ago, the mid-term congressional elections in 2006 are shaping up as not only a pivotal political moment but a referendum on what Bush has done over the previous five years.

It’s a chance for Americans to say No to “preemptive wars” fought for trumped-up reasons; No to torture and other violations of civilized behavior; No to record federal budget deficits; No to rampant cronyism that has become business as usual – from Halliburton’s contracts in Iraq, to Jack Abramoff’s lobbying of Congress, to the mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina and other federal emergencies.

Poll after poll reveals a political awakening across the United States, a shaking off of the drug-like sleep of propaganda. Belatedly, large numbers of Americans are demanding the truth. They want to know how their great country was led so far off course.

Misguided Media

In our view, a big part of that answer lies with what happened inside the major U.S. news media, which today can be viewed as split between a powerful conservative message machine and an intimidated mainstream media that fears angering Bush, a mix of bullies and the bullied.

Indeed, at key moments, such as the run-up to war in Iraq, it was hard to distinguish between the pro-Bush propaganda in the right-wing media and the credulous acquiescence to Bush’s distortions in the mainstream media. [See Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

That is why – having spent most of my journalistic career in the mainstream media – I have long thought that the only answer to America’s media problem is to build honest and independent media, both strong journalistic content and the outlets to get that information to the American people.

It was with that intent that I founded Consortiumnews.com a decade ago as the Internet’s first investigative magazine. We had important news stories to write and we were looking for new ways to distribute the information.

Over those 10 years, Consortiumnews.com has compiled a remarkable record of what we sometimes call “lost history,” the reality that exists outside the camera frame of the conservative/mainstream media outlets.

It was the skepticism that came from knowing this reality that informed our critical reporting about much of what has happened during George W. Bush’s administration.

We understood the neoconservative strategy of “perception management” – a technique of using exaggeration to control how Americans perceive international events – because we had reported on its origins in the 1980s. [For details, see Parry’s Lost History.]

Shortfalls

But our key problem at Consortiumnews.com has been money. When we ran short of cash in early 2000, we were forced to put the Web site on a part-time basis and therefore didn’t have as much impact as we might have had on Election 2000.

We were still operating part-time as Bush and his neocon administration marched the nation off to war in Iraq in 2003. Though we covered the war issues as closely as we could, we were limited by a lack of time and resources.

It was not until well into Campaign 2004 that we tried to rebuild the Web site on more of a full-time basis. In the months since, we have stepped up the number of stories and the scope of our coverage. According to our Web counter, our readership also has soared.

Increasingly, Consortiumnews.com is turned to by readers all over the world – as well as in key news bureaus of Washington – as a source for information and analysis. For instance, I was told that our recent article on Bob Woodward’s conflicts of interest circulated inside the Washington Post.

But finances again could be our undoing. We must raise at least $20,000 by the end of the year to keep our operation going at the current pace. We would need even more to achieve the expansion that would make us a bigger force in 2006.

If 2006 does become the Accountability Year, I believe Consortiumnews.com could be a vital contributor to the process. So, please contribute what you can. Your donations are tax-deductible. [Donations can be made by credit card at the Web site or by sending a check to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Suite 102-231, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22201]

Thank you.


Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

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