It's kind of interesting to hear NPR's take on Scott McClellan's published book about his time as official White House liar. The gist of McClellan's book is that he lied, Cheney lied, Bush lied, and Rove lied - that the Bush Administration was run on propaganda and lies (and that the press went along with it). So how does NPR cover this story?
There were two stories on ATC. The first with Don Gonyea is striking for how it opens with Noah Adams using the current White House frame: "Today the White House called former Press Secretary Scott McClellan 'disgruntled,' and that is because two years after leaving the Bush Administration, McClellan is speaking for himself." I can think of a lot of ways to open the report, and that was definitely not one of them.
Gonyea's report sums up McClellan's book: "says the war was unnecessary and a blunder sold to the country in a way that ruled out any other option....criticizes the press for not being tough enough in the run up to the war. " His report also includes criticism of McClellan from Rove heard on a Fox News clip saying that it 'sounds like a left wing blogger,' and current a statement from White House Press Secretary Perino noting "we are puzzled. It is sad."
Compared to Gonyea's summary, the second report is a real stinker. You might think that the role of a news organization is to find out if the allegations of a disclosure-book are true - do they fit with what can be investigated or is already known? You might expect a report to provide a context, at least noting that the Bush Administration has lied about wiretapping, has lied about its treatment of detainees, etc. Not a chance. Instead NPR turns to a Washington hack reporter, Peter Baker (who spread the Jessica Lynch propaganda, determined that embedding was good for journalism, and felt Bush's private anguish).
In the world of Baker and NPR there is no real truth. There are only individual perceptions. Norris asks Baker "...how does the version of events described by Scott McClellan...square with what you actually heard on the other side of the podium?" With what you heard on the other side of the podium! Not how does it square with what actually happened - only with what he heard in the White House press room. It gets worse. Baker tells us that truth will emerge, not from hard work and investigation (which he opposes anyway), but
"piece by piece. You know everybody tells his or her own truth as he sees it with his or her own self interest obviously involved.....we have Doug Feith's book...pretty soon Don Rumsfeld's...next year probably Karl Rove's book....all these together I think you get a broader truth of what was happening inside the White House."Oh yeah, Feith + Rumsfeld + Rove = TRUTH! How could I have missed that?
Baker sums up this world of shifting reality by noting that "all of us you know, we don't experience life the same way. You and I will remember this interview in somewhat shaded, different ways and that's certainly true of the big decisions that any presidency's involved in."