Monday, May 08, 2006

Media un-blitz of Hookergate and the CIA

On Friday, when CNN was hyping the news of Porter Goss' resignation and Patrick Kennedy's skirmish with the Capitol Police and plans to enter rehab, Bob Barr, former congressman from Georgia, was the first to articulate a CIA association to Hookergate on CNN. During his Friday broadcast, Lou Dobbs/CNN finally made the connection that "the CIA may be linked to the bribery scandal involving former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham." But the cable news giant hasn't aired much on the most extensive federal corruption scandal in a century.

You would think a D.C. sex scandal would get media attention 24/7 especially with the sudden exit of Porter Goss and today's announcement that Gen. Michael Hayden, the Air Force General who orchestrated Bush's NSA warrantless wiretapping program, would replace Goss. Media explanations for Goss leaving the CIA have reported that turf battles with Negroponte, director of National Intelligence, led to Porter's demise. Sounds like a nice cover story to put a lid on the Hookergate scandal. Can't have too much scrutiny of GOP dirty laundry during an election year. Jamison Foser explained:

As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, if there's one kind of story Fox News likes nearly as much as partisan smears of progressives, it's a story about the sex trade. From the arrest of a man who left his son in his unlocked vehicle while he went to a strip club to a porn star at a fundraiser to Playboy's newest Playmate of the Year to interviews with Victoria's Secret models to a segment advising women to show "less skin" at the workplace (a segment that, naturally, required Fox to air images of women showing a great deal of skin) to a piece about a pole-dancing Pamela Anderson, Fox takes every available opportunity to broadcast photos and video of scantily clad women.
So when you have a story that involves A) prostitutes and B) corrupt politicians, you would think Fox News would be all over it, taking advantage of the ratings gold that had fallen into its lap.
Ah, but the corrupt politicians allegedly involved are Republicans. That changes everything, doesn't it? And not just for Fox News -- as blogger Joshua Micah Marshall has noted, major media outlets have all but ignored a story about "members of Congress getting sauced up at rollicking parties and set up with hookers by crooked defense contractors in exchange for help bagging pricey defense contracts." Marshall and his colleagues at (along with Harper's Magazine's Ken Silverstein and The Wall Street Journal's Scot J. Paltrow) have taken the lead in covering the federal investigation into whether contractors implicated in the bribery case of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (currently serving a jail term for his misdeeds) provided Cunningham and other members of Congress with prostitutes and free limousines and hotel suites. As part of the probe, Silverstein wrote, the FBI is reportedly investigating current and former lawmakers on congressional defense and intelligence committees, "including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post" -- a description that fits CIA director Porter Goss to a "T."
Read on...
Christy at FDL posted an update on Gen. Hayden with a tie between the general and MZM, a business owned and operated by Mitchell Wade, the defense contractor who confessed to bribing convicted congressman Cunningham.

Perhaps the media needs a reminder of their complicity in the march to go to war in Iraq. Or maybe reporters are scared that Gen. Hayden and the NSA are listening to their conversations.

Will the media come around or bury this GOP sex scandal as they did on Craig Spence? Not without a lot of pushing and shoving. And that's what the Blogosphere has been effective at doing although no one can ignore a story like big-swinging media dicks can.