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Issue #67

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Features:

Devil in an Ice-Bllue Dress: Nation Delights in Worship of Unattainable Affluence- Matt Taibbi

Inaugural Balls: Increased Freedom Exports Lead to Domestic Shortage - Allan Uthman

Dr. Strangefeld - Alexander Zaitchik

Ripped from the Headlines: WMD Not Found, Media Coverage Likewise - Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Inaugural Numbers

Scores Injured as Landon Clone Ramages - N. Sorrenti

Beast Reader Opinion: This Tiger is Still on the Prowl

Are You Dyslexic?

BEAST Art Director Accidentally Drinks Own Urine

Corrections



Departments:

Cross Examination: Bible Study with Itza Crock

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Sports:

Wide Right: Wanna Bet? Pats are Sure Thing - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley

Perry Bible Fellowship - N!cholas Gurewitch



Issue #66

Download Entire issue (Right-click and "Save as")

 

Features:

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2004

DLC Mooseshit: A Letter to Marshall Wittman - Matt Taibbi

2004: The Year in Regret Timeline

Time Lies: "Person of the Year" Issue Shits in Your Mouth & Calls it a Chocolate Sundae- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Tsunami Offers Heartfelt Apology

Life Value Calculator

Giambra's Pets raise Questions, Concerns



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs: Looking Back

BEAST-O-Scopes

I HATE YOU: Channel 2 News "On Your Side"

Local Book Reviews

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills, Bledsoe Just not Good Enough - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley

Perry Bible Fellowship - N!cholas Gurewitch



Issue #65

Download Entire issue (23mb PDF)

 

Features:

Christmas in Hell: No, Virginia, There is no Santa Claus- Matt Taibbi

Disinformation Age: America Loves a Good Liar- Allan Uthman

Power 1, Truth 0: RIP Gary Webb, Journalism - Michael Manville

Insane in the Ukraine - Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Ridiculous Gift Guide

Tips on Buying Thoughtless Gifts

Giambra Admits Drinking Live Sea Monkeys

Area Child Expects Lame Christmas Gifts

Paris Hilton's What Hot & What's Not in 2005

Advice From John Ritter's Ghost



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

I HATE YOU: The Senate, Slaves to the South

DJ's Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley




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© 2004 The Beast

Ripped From the Headlines

WMD Not Found, Media Coverage Likewise

by Matt Taibbi

The world little noted, but at some point late last year the American search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ended. We will, however, long remember the doomsday warnings from the Bush administration about mushroom clouds and sinister aluminum tubes; the breathless reports from TV correspondents when the invasion began, speculating on when the 'smoking gun' would be unearthed; our own failures to deconstruct all the spin and faulty intelligence.

New York Times editorial, Jan. 13

The timorous admission made by the White House last week that it had given up pretending to search for WMDs in Iraq was an occasion for much smugness and finger-pointing in most of the major dailies.

Among the rest of the population, this laughably tiny news item—I'm writing this column on Jan. 13, but by the time this hits the newsstands on the 26th, it will surely, and amazingly, have been a dead story for days—was mainly fodder for two minutes of office water-cooler gloating among the anti-Bush crowd.

It is unrealistic to expect anything different. In the run-up to the war, every major daily and television network in the country parroted the White House's asinine WMD claims for months on end, all but throwing their panties on stage the instant Colin Powell showed what appeared to be a grainy aerial picture of a pick-up truck to the U.N. Security Council.

Justice would seem to demand that a roughly equivalent amount of coverage be given to the truth, now that we know it (and we can officially call it the truth now, because even Bush admits it; previously the truth was just a gigantic, unendorsed pile of plainly obvious evidence). But that isn't the way things work in America. We only cover things around the clock every day for four or five straight months when it's fun.

O.J. was fun. Monica Lewinsky was fun. "America's New War" was fun—there was a war at the end of that rainbow. But "We All Totally Fucked Up" is not fun. You can't make a whole new set of tv graphics for "We All Totally Fucked Up." There is no obvious location where Wolf Blitzer can do a somber, grimacing "We All Totally Fucked Up" live shot (above an "Operation We All Totally Fucked Up" bug in the corner of the screen). Hundreds of reporters cannot rush to stores to buy special khakis or rain slickers or Kevlar vests in preparation for "We All Totally Fucked Up." They would have to wear their own clothes and stand, not in front of burning tanks or smashed Indonesian hovels, but in front of their own apartments.

That is why we will never get four months of the truth, to match four months of preposterous bullshit. The business is not designed for it. It just can't happen.

Most Americans instinctively understand this and accept it. Even those people who are consciously offended by this set of circumstances accept it. It is as natural to us as the weather.

However, there are times when this phenomenon seems to go a little too far. This is one of those times.

Countless news organizations last week took the same pathetic, transparently disingenuous position vis a vis the WMD flap that the New York Times did in the above passage. The basic media lie—the new lie, not the old lie—was a two-pronged thing. It went something like this:

First, Bush admitted there were no WMDs, but so few people cared that it was "little noted" around the world. Phrases such as "quiet conclusion" (CBS News) or "quietly ended" (USA Today) or "quiet denouement" (the Virginia Pilot) reinforced this idea that the story was somehow inherently quiet and of small import.

Descriptions of the story's small stature were usually followed by a similarly quiet mea culpa. They usually read something like this: Now that we know the truth for sure, we media organizations must try to unravel how it "could have happened"—how we failed to see through it all, or "deconstruct all the faulty spin and intelligence," as the Times put it.

Regarding the first point, what could be funnier than the sight of the New York Times calling a story "little noted," when the paper itself only gave the story 3.5 inches on Page A16! Like almost all the rest of the papers in the country, what the Times meant was not "little noted," but little covered. Amazingly, only two major dailies in the entire country—the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News—even put the official end to the WMD search on the front page. The rest of the country's news organs buried the story deep in the bowels of their news sections, far behind Prince Harry's Nazi suit and the residual tsunami stuff. And then they have the balls to turn around and say this news was "quiet"?

As for the second question—how it could have happened—I have an answer. It is an answer that will not require the convening of a special symposium at the Columbia Journalism School, the commission of a new study by the Brookings Institution, or a poll by Poynter. The answer is this: You lied!

It's really as simple as that. Everyone knew it was bullshit. I defy Bill Keller to stare me in the face and tell me he didn't know the whole Iraq war business was a lie from the start. Whether or not there were actually WMDs in Iraq is a canard; this was essentially unknowable at the time. It was the rest of it that was obviously idiotic, yet even the pointiest heads in the business, like the folks at the Times, swallowed it with a smile.

There was the idea that Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator whose chief domestic enemies were Islamic fundamentalists, was somehow a natural potential ally for bin Laden. There was the supposition, credulously reported for months, that if Saddam "disarmed," we would back off (we were going in anyway, everyone could see that; all of the "inspections" coverage, that whole drama, was a pathetic fraud). There was the idea that Bush and Co. were sincerely moved to grave concern by "intelligence" about Saddam's weapons (on the contrary, there was a veritable mountain of evidence that the Bush administration was turning over every couch pillow in Washington in search of even the flimsiest fig-leaf to stick on its WMD claims; the source of the WMD panic was clearly the White House, not Langley or any other place). There was the idea that a preemptive invasion was not a revolutionary idea, not illegal, not an outrage. And so on.

The problem wasn't a small, isolated ethical error, like Judith Miller's Chalabi reporting. The error here was not a mistake of fact. The problem was that a central tenet of our system of news reporting dictates that lies of consensus will never be considered punishable mistakes. In other words, once everyone jumps in the water, a story acquires its own legitimacy.

And now we get papers like the Times wondering aloud why they didn't feel the ground under their feet. Answer: you jumped in the water. And you knew what you were doing.

 

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The 50 Most Loathsome People in America 2004

21. Alan Colmes
Crimes: An angry conservative’s wet dream: an effete liberal dive artist. As a professional doormat, Colmes’ only tasks are to serve as a comforting aggregate of Republican stereotypes about Democrats and a target for the seething derision of his psychotic guests. Stands idly by while voracious green-blooded co-host utilizes Gestapo tactics against centrist Democrats.


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Inaugural Balls

Allan Uthman

...The real problem isn't that Bush's vision is vague, or that it signals an imperialist agenda that has already been in place for years. It isn't even that he's completely revised his justification for war in Afghanistan and Iraq for a proudly amnesiac public, or that he's launching his trial run at Iran. The real problem about Bush's speech is that it simply isn't true, and doesn't make any sense. It's 100% manure from start to finish.


Devil in an Ice Blue Dress

Matt Taibbi

I’ve always thought that one of America’s best selling points was that it never had a king. If there is one thing that defines us as a people, as opposed to all other peoples, it is this fact. Every other nation in the world has a dozen or so of those embarrassing chapters from the past to live down. Not us.


2004 Timeline: The Year in Regret


[sic] - letters

CHEQUE YOURSELF
Mr. Uthman,

I found your magazine online through a link to your '50 Most Loathsome People' article. Great stuff. However, as a Canadian, I feel the need to point out a few factual errors in your otherwise insightful 'O Buffalo' article:


Time Lies

Matt Taibbi

...What was great about Sullivan's "Year of the Insurgents" column last week was how beautifully it threw the rest of the "Person of the Year" issue into contrast. Here's Sullivan bitching about bloggers needing to stay on the margins where they belong; meanwhile, his "respectable" media company is joyously prancing back and forth along 190 glossy pages with George Bush's cock wedged firmly in its mouth.


Disinformation Age

Allan Uthman

....The problem with the left is that our whole model of changing opinions—that contrary facts will alter people’s views—is inherently flawed. Mundane, oafish Americans, in a national competition to see how many $3.99 “support our troops” ribbon magnets they can fit onto the backs of their Suburbans, simply aren’t interested in reality...Let’s face it; there is a sizable chunk of the population who deny the validity of evolution—evolution. Who are we kidding, thinking we can make them see the errors in Social Security privatization?


Power 1, Truth 0

Michael Manville

On December 12th I opened my Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times and saw in the obituaries that Gary Webb was dead. More specifically, I saw that Gary Webb had killed himself. He had, it seems, shot himself in the head. When movers arrived at his house on Saturday they found a note on the door that said "Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance."



 

Drowning the Scorpion

Stan Goff

When I was first invited by Dr. Stephen Smith to speak at Winthrop University in South Carolina, I was preparing a trip to Haiti and I didn't give much thought to how I would handle the engagement. I'd just finished being pole-axed by a bout of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and it was everything I could do to just pull the Haiti trip together. So I didn't pay much attention to the person who would appear with me - one Patrick Clawson - to represent "the other side" in a forum/debate billed as "What Next in Iraq? A Post-Election Perspective."


The Top 10 Hacks of the 2004 Election

Matt Taibbi

10 - GEORGE WILL, NEWSWEEK: Will uses big words and pompous literary references to dress up what are basically the brutish and vulgar thinking patterns of a non-union meat-packing plant owner. He is a pig in a lace hat.



Pick of the Litter

Pat Ragpicker

It's 4am on a winter night, and I'm parked on a dead end street near Kaisertown. It’s a secluded corner of the city I found by driving around aimlessly. I'm new to town, and penniless after buying my van with $700 I squirreled away the last time I got a paycheck. That was 7 months ago. Over those months, I managed to live off a few hundred bucks while sleeping in a warehouse closet and helping some friends make a TV show to try selling to a network.



Tortures-R-Us

Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day.




O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."