UPDATE: I wrote this intro for the FireDogLake Book Salon today at 2:00 PST, but because of the ongoing DDoS attack at FDL it needs to be rescheduled.
Richard A. Clarke’s Sting of the Drone gives us the opportunity to talk about both ethical and political decisions we need to examine in the face of new technology. The set up:
In Washington, the Kill Committee gathers in the White House’s Situation Room to pick the next targets for the United States drone program. At an airbase just outside Las Vegas, a team of pilots, military personnel and intelligence officers follow through on the committee’s orders, finding the men who have been deemed a threat to national security and sentenced to death.
On the other side of the world, in the mountains where the drones hunt their prey, someone has decided to fight back. And not just against the unmanned planes that circle their skies, but against the Americans at home who control them.
I’ll talk about the book in a minute, but as I write this FDL is under computer attack from unknown groups for unknown reasons. Maybe it’s FDL’s support for whistleblowers or a personal grudge, but it got . . . → Read More: The Sting of the Drone for FDL’s Book Salon Postponed
When I’m sick and tired of certain media conventions, I write a post about it. If you are like my friend Jimmy Dore you write a funny comedy bit about it. Stewart, Colbert and Oliver all mock the media, but is it making the media change? Is there something we can do besides point and laugh?
Today’s sick and tired media phrase is “Both sides do it.” This phrase is designed as a preemptive answer to the right wing’s screaming about a story and to help show that “the liberal media doesn’t have a liberal bias.” The idea has become internalized by the MSM. My friend Eric Boehlert at Media Matters has written about this sliver in the heart of the MSM for years. Atrios makes a pithy comment about it every few months.
Why “Both Sides Do It” Short Circuits Brains
The magic phrase is destructive because it breaks down math and evidence in the heads of journalists. It converts a complex equation into 50-50! For example, this magic phrase can take a $5 BILLION dollar multi-decade program and make it equal to a $5 Million five year program with the simple incantation, “Both sides do it.” Shazam! The readers can now indulge in a “pox on both their . . . → Read More: What To Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story