Revelations during recent days of dramatic political intrigue and harsh police tactics serve as reminders that the New Year must bring renewed vigilance by the public to preserve hard-won freedoms.
Scant media follow up occurred following the revelation this month that Fox News attempted in 2011 to recruit Gen. David Petraeus, left, the nation's war commander in Afghanistan, to fight President Obama for the 2012 presidency as the GOP's candidate. Even though Petraeus declined the invitation, the long, friendly discussion constitutes an astounding breach of law requiring loyalty by uniformed officers to the commander-in-chief and also the supposed independence of the media from picking sides in political contests.
Also receiving slender news coverage were reports of police state tactics in Texas and Arkansas, and planning for a private system of drone surveillance across the United States.
Most in the public are understandably preoccupied with holiday planning, the horror of the Newtown shootings, and the kabuki theater of “fiscal cliff” maneuvers on budget cuts and taxes increases.
These news reports and commentaries, however, are worth noting — not just today, but again in the New Year.
To recap: Roger Ailes, right, founder and chairman of Fox News, tried to recruit Petraeus to become the GOP's 2012 nominee in a race against President Obama, as Washington Post editor Bob Woodward reported early this month. Woodward's story was based on a tape recording of a 90-minute discussion between Petraeus and Fox emissary Kathleen McFarland, a Fox analyst and former high-ranking GOP national security aide. The transcript is here.
Carl Bernstein, Woodward's former colleague at the Post in the Watergate investigation, published a column last week, Why the US media ignored Murdoch's brazen bid to hijack the presidency.
Jonathan Cook followed up with an even more provocative column, OpEd News, Why the Washington Post killed the story of Murdoch's bid to buy the US presidency. Cook, based in Israel, wrote,”Murdoch's goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.” Cook argued that the effort represented not only a danger to democracy, but that the scant coverage illustrated media complicity by organizations in addition to Fox News.