Tuesday, October 19, 2004

scare quote

Thoughtful people find this quote from a piece entitled "Without a Doubt" by Ron Suskind worriesome:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
The most remarkable thing is not that the White House would contain someone articulate enough to say this, but that Mr. Suskind could blithely quote what amounts to an apologia for unfettered imperial power in action without attributing it.

In real journalism, one attributes. When one happens upon an expression of a new doctrine of cynical power, an expression shorn of any pretense of awareness of democratic otherness, of responsibility, of simple human ethics -- an expression that "gets to the very heart" of the heart that has been running us amok for the last four years -- and this expression comes from someone employed by the administration in power, and it comes in the midst of an electoral battle, and one does not give the speaker's identity, one is acting either with total journalistic irresponsibility or one has had the feces skeered out of him. History's actors indeed. How frightened did Suskind (or his editors at the Times) have to be before withholding attribution?


Blogger Brian said...

Thoughtful people?

Even an idiot like myself would find that sort if stilted melodramatic syntax a tod weird. I was halfway through the quote, not knowing where you were headed with it, and said to myself - 'Hey, self, this is bs.'

Is this a line from Team America? Am I missing an insdie joke and making myself look like a complete idiot?


Note to self: you are boring me with your stupidity.

10/19/2004 9:57 PM  

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