Washington press corps has come grudgingly to the recognition that
George W. Bush is malleable with the truth, as the Washington
Post delicately put it. Pressing for war with Iraq, Bush has been
exaggerating his case so much that even CIA analysts are complaining,
as a number of newspapers have now reported.
the underlying reality about Bushs honesty is far worse. Throughout
his adult life, Bush has dodged the truth along with personal
responsibility for his actions. Indeed, a remarkable feature of his
presidency is the gap between Bush's public image as a
straight-talking everyman and the behind-the-curtain Bush whose
imperial impulse sometimes flashes into public view.
a boy emperor convinced of his infallibility, Bush rarely admits
errors, fesses up to misstatements or apologizes for inappropriate
since the Sept. 11 attacks and his soaring united-we-stand poll
numbers, Bush has behaved as an imperious leader, treating others
rudely when hes crossed. In a recent example, at a summit in Los
Cabos, Mexico, Bush cut short a press conference with Mexican
President Vincente Fox before the Spanish-to-English translation of
Foxs last answer was completed.
over Foxs refusal to get behind the Iraq war, the U.S. president
glowered during Foxs windup and looked annoyed at the unruliness
of the camera crews, the Washington Post reported. The last
straw was when a cell phone went off, which infuriates Bush
breach of protocol, Bush cut off the translator before Foxs answers
could be rendered into English and walked away. [Washington Post,
Oct. 27, 2002]
displayed his pique again when he felt frustrated over a legislative
dispute on the homeland security bill. In a campaign speech, he
declared that the Democratic-controlled Senate "is not interested
in the security of the American people" and stuck by that charge
although a number of Democratic senators had served their country in
war and two, Daniel Inouye and Max Cleland, were maimed in combat.
Bush rebuffed calls for an apology.
self-certainty appears unshaken despite obvious and costly
misjudgments, including his failure to heed warnings about the al
Qaeda terrorist threat in the first months of his presidency and his
rejection of advice that his tax cut would throw the government into
deficit. Rather than admit to flaws or reassess situations, Bush digs
in his heels (as with the tax cut) or moves to block public disclosure
of the full story (as with stopping the proposed independent
commission on the Sept. 11 attacks).
the signs of Bushs imperial presidency have been growing for
months, only recently have his tendencies to exaggerate, cover up and
lie come into sharper focus for much of the national news media.
instance, it's now recognized that Bush tried to scare the American
people with notions that Iraqi drone aircraft might fly to the United
States despite their range of only a few hundred miles. In a national
address, he also cited a brief medical stay of an al Qaeda operative
in Iraq as proof of an Iraqi-al Qaeda connection, though theres no
evidence the Iraqi government even knew of the mans presence.
"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or
chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists,"
Bush said in his Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati. But what Bush left out
of his one-sided risk equation was the possibility that his
administrations actions may increase the danger to Americans, not
reduce or eliminate it.
On the day of Bushs speech, the CIA made that exact point in a
letter to Congress. CIA analysts judged the likelihood of Iraq
attacking the United States without U.S. provocation as
"low" but rising dramatically if the U.S. prepared for a
preemptive strike. "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line
short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or C.B.W.
[chemical or biological warfare] against the United States,"
wrote CIA director George Tenet. "Should Saddam conclude that a
U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become
much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." [See
the Nation to War.]
the CIA analysis might seem obvious when people are threatened,
they'll take counter-measures Bush reacted like a monarch
who despises contradiction. He authorized a special intelligence group
under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to find evidence that would
support the president's conclusions.
when Bushs recent false statements about Iraq are mentioned in the
U.S. press, they are couched in euphemisms and placed in rationalizing
context. In the Posts story entitled For Bush, Fact Are
Malleable, the subhead reads Presidential Tradition of
Embroidering Key Assertions Continues, as if Bush is carrying
forward some historic mission.
language about lying also is avoided in favor of gentler language.
As Bush leads the nation toward a confrontation with Iraq and his
party into battle in midterm elections, his rhetoric has taken some
flights of fancy, the Post wrote. [Washington Post, Oct. 22, 2002]
flights of fancy, however, are not limited to his determination
to fight a war with Iraq. They have been a lifelong trait, enabled by
a press corps that seems to buy into the Bush familys special
status as American royalty, much like medieval courtiers averted their
eyes from missteps by the king and queen. With his family name and his
fathers establishment ties, Bush has always been shielded from the
accountability most Americans face.
contrast with the treatment of the lowly born Bill Clinton could not
be more glaring. Nearly every rumor circulating about Clinton was fair
game and the editorial boards demanded apologies for his mistakes.
Gore, too, was excoriated for supposedly exaggerating details about
his life and his achievements, even when many of Gores
exaggerations turned out to be tendentious interpretations of
Gores words or misquotes by the press (such as Gores supposed
claim he invented the Internet and his supposed statement about
the Love Canal toxic waste clean-up that I was the one that started
it all neither of which Gore actually said.) [For details, see
Gore vs. the Press."]
journalistic double standard, combined with the Bush familys
obsession with secrecy, has left key periods of Bushs life cloaked
in mystery. The pattern dates back to the wild days of Bushs early
adulthood, a period that swirled with rumors of drug and alcohol
than demanding straight answers, the New York Times and other leading
newspapers chastised those who jumped to conclusions about Bushs
cocaine use based on anonymous allegations and Bushs refusal to
address the issue directly. Rather than putting the onus on Bush to go
beyond clever formulations, such as his claim that he could have met
his fathers personnel requirement against recent drug abuse, the
Times and other news outlets stressed the lack of on-the-record
confirmations about Bushs behavior.
news outlets were equally protective of Bushs response to questions
about his Vietnam War duty in the Texas Air National Guard. Bush has
never given convincing or comprehensive answers to questions about how
he slipped into and held onto a cherished Guard spot, allowing him to
avoid service in Vietnam.
first impulse and first inclination was to support the country,
Bush recalled in an interview about his backing for the war effort. [NYT,
July 11, 2000]. Yet Bush said no one to his knowledge helped him get
into the National Guard. I asked to become a pilot, Bush said.
I met the qualifications, and ended up becoming an F-102 pilot, The
Associated Press reported. [AP, July 5, 1999]
Bush family has denied that political strings were pulled, though the
available evidence suggests they were. Despite having the lowest acceptable score for entry,
Bush jumped over other young men waiting to get into the National
sworn testimony in a civil lawsuit, former Texas Speaker of the House
Ben Barnes explained how Bush won his Guard slot. At the request of a
Bush family friend, Houston businessman Sid Adger, Barnes testified
that he referred Bushs name to a high-ranking Guard official, Gen.
was questioned under oath about the issue in connection with
suggestions that Gtech, a company Barnes lobbied for, was allowed to
keep a Texas state contract in exchange for Barness silence about
Bush and the Guard, an allegation that Barnes denied. [Dallas Morning
News, Sept. 28, 1999, and Washington Post, Sept. 21, 1999]
getting into the Guard, Bushs service record became another source
of mystery, which attracted far less press scrutiny in 2000 than
Clintons draft records did in 1992. Bush appears to have skipped
duty for up to a year.
his final 18 months of military service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did not
fly at all, the Boston Globe reported. And for much of that
time, Bush was all but unaccounted for: For a full year, there is no
record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time
guardsmen. [Boston Globe, May 23, 2000]
responded through a spokesman that he had some recollection of
attending drills that year, but maybe not consistently. This
dubious response satisfied the bulk of the national press corps.
the campaign, Bush also escaped tough scrutiny of his business career,
which amounted to a string of high-paying corporate jobs arranged or
backed by his fathers friends usually ending in financial disaster,
before Bush moved on to the next sweetheart deal. [For details, see
Bush Family Oiligarchy: The Third Generation."]
2000, the heady days of the bull market, little press attention was
devoted to the sorts of corporate insider deals that gained notoriety
in the past year after Enron Corp.s collapse. Many campaign
reporters saw Bushs intricate business deals as mind-numbing and
thus of marginal interest, though again this attitude didnt
protected Clinton from years of investigative reporting about his
failed Whitewater land deal.
contrast to the medias Whitewater obsession, facts about Bushs
role on the board of Harken Energy Co. have only dribbled out over the
past several years. Following his familys traditional pattern, Bush
has rejected calls for full disclosure and insisted that enough
evidence is already available.
picture that is emerging is not pretty. Bush managed to unload
$850,000 worth of stock in a mysterious transaction in 1990, while
Harken was facing a cash crunch and was planning to sell shares in two
subsidiaries to avert bankruptcy.
lawyers from the Haynes and Boone law firm advised Harken officers and
directors on June 15, 1990, that if they possessed any negative
information about the companys outlook, a stock sale might be
viewed as illegal trading. Bush, who had attended a meeting four days
earlier on the plan to sell off the two subsidiaries, went ahead
June 22, 1990, Bush sold 212,140 shares to a still-unidentified buyer
who spared Bush the trouble of selling on the open market, which
likely would have tanked Harkens lightly traded stock and meant
less money for Bush. The sale also preceded Harkens disclosure of
more than $23 million in losses for the second quarter, which caused
the stock to fall 20 percent before recovering for a time.
make matters worse, Bush missed deadlines by up to eight months for
disclosing four stock sales to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
After the missed deadlines were noted in published reports in 1991,
the SEC opened an insider-trading investigation. At the time, Bushs
father was president of the United States and the person who appointed
the SEC chairman.
W. Bush denied any wrongdoing in the Harken stock sales. He insisted
that he had sold into the good news of Harken landing offshore
drilling rights in Bahrain. Bushs lawyers also argued that he had
cleared the stock sale with the Haynes and Boone lawyers, a claim that
proved to be important in the SECs decision to close the
investigation on Aug. 21, 1991, without ever interviewing Bush.
what the SEC didnt know at the time was that the Haynes and Boone
lawyers had sent Bush and other Harken officials that letter warning
against selling shares if they knew about the companys financial
troubles. One day after the investigation was closed, Bushs lawyer
Robert W. Jordan delivered the warning letter to the SEC. Asked
recently about the letter, the SEC investigators said they had no
memory of reading it.
SEC investigation apparently never examined a key issue raised in the
memo: whether Bushs insider knowledge of a plan to rescue the
company from financial collapse by spinning off two troubled units was
a factor in his decision to sell, the Boston Globe reported.
[Boston Globe, Oct. 30, 2002; also, see Washington Post, Nov. 1, 2002]
also has been less than forthcoming about why he missed the deadlines
for reporting that stock sale and three others. For years, he claimed
publicly that he had sent the reports in on time and the SEC had lost
them, a sort of the bureaucrats-ate-my-stock-sale-reports argument.
issue resurfaced again this year when Bush positioned himself as a
friend of embattled shareholders and demanded that corporate officers
reveal their stock sales almost immediately. Asked why he had not
lived up to his own admonition, Bush shifted the blame to Harkens
lawyers for the late filings, before changing his story again to say
that he simply didnt know what had happened. He never apologized
for claiming falsely for years that it had been the SECs fault.
used $606,000 of his Harken profits to buy a stake in the Texas
Rangers. After Bush helped engineer public financing for a new
baseball stadium, he sold his interest in the team for $14.9 million.
[See Bill Minutaglio's First Son.]
The Harken shares that Bush sold for $4 each in 1990 are now worth the
equivalent of two cents each.
pattern of glossing over the truth continued during his tenure as
Texas governor and into the 2000 presidential campaign.
Texas governor, Bush boasted that he knew how to work in a bipartisan
manner. One of his examples was the expansion of the Childrens
Health Insurance Program [CHIP]. In 1999, Governor Bush and the
Texas Legislature worked together to implement the CHIPs program for
more than 423,000 children, the Bush campaign said.
according to the Houston Chronicle, Bush tried to block the
Democratic initiative in the Texas Legislature to expand the CHIP
program to children of parents earning up to twice the federal poverty
level (about $33,600 for a family of four). Bush favored instead
covering parents up to only 150 percent of poverty (about $25,200 for
a family of four). [Houston Chronicle, Aug. 30, 2000].
losing the legislative battle, Bush turned around and claimed credit
for the CHIP expansion and his success in working with Democrats.
centerpiece of his 2000 campaign was the theme that Bush would change
the tone of Washington and restore dignity to the White
during the Republican primaries, the Bush campaign targeted Sen. John
McCain, R-Ariz., for personal attacks. By fall 1999, McCain, who spent
five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, had narrowed
Bushs lead and the Bush assault began.
October 1999, McCain said, 'Apparently the memo has gone out from
the Bush campaign to start attacking John McCain, something that I'd
hoped wouldn't happen.' [AP, Oct. 26, 1999]
negative attacks intensified after McCain won the New Hampshire
primary. To undercut, McCain, Bushs campaign ran a misleading ad
attacking the senator for not supporting breast cancer research. The
ad cited an omnibus spending bill, which McCain voted against not
because of the breast cancer research but because of the enormous
spending included in the entire package. McCain complained, but the
Bush attack strategy worked.
bolster his conservative credentials heading into the key South
Carolina primary, Bush spoke at Bob Jones University and avoided
criticizing the school's racist and anti-Catholic policies. After
nailing down South Carolina, Bush shifted gears again, issuing a rare
apology for not having criticized prejudice at Bob Jones, a contrition
that played well in the upcoming primaries in the North.
securing the Republican nomination, Bush renewed his pledge to run a
positive general election campaign, but that didn't stop him from
making veiled personal attacks on Clinton and Gore.
the "dignity" theme in the first presidential debate, Bush
tried to make an issue out of President Clintons practice of
allowing his friends and supporters to sleep over at the White House.
I believe they've moved that sign, The buck stops here, from
the Oval Office desk to The buck stops here on the Lincoln
bedroom, and that's not good for the country. It's not right Bush
didn't mention that since he had taken office as Texas governor in
1995, he had 203 guests stay over at the Governors Mansion in
Austin, Texas. More than half of them had contributed to his campaign,
amounting to $2.2 million. [The
Public I] The news media, however, took little note of Bush's
the press let Gov. Bush escape any serious attention over false and
misleading statements about his record on the environment. In the Oct.
11, 2000, debate, Bush offered conflicting statements within the space
of a few minutes, but the big-time press took no notice.
first swing at the issue of pollution-causing industrial plants went
this way: We need to make sure that if we decontrol our plants that
there's mandatory -- that the plants must conform to clean air
standards, the grand-fathered plants. That's what we did in Texas. No
excuses. I mean, you must conform.
minutes later, he had shifted toward what sounded like a voluntary
program. Well, I -- I -- I don't believe in command-and-control out
of Washington, D.C. I believe Washington ought to set standards, but I
don't -- again, I think we ought to be collaborative at the local
levels. And I think we ought to work with people at the local
the question of coherence, Bushs statements seemed contradictory.
Either the national government sets standards with compliance required
or local governments can be allowed to set their own environmental
rules, possibly in cooperation with business. Bush seemed to be having
it both ways.
Texas, Bushs record suggested that he opposed mandatory standards
even at the local and state levels. Bush cited as his most significant
environmental accomplishment the setting of new rules for
grand-fathered industrial plants, previously exempt from Texas clean
air laws what he apparently was referring to in his debate
those plants were asked only to voluntarily comply with the clean air
rules. The 1997 law carried no penalties for industries that didnt
seek a permit under the law. It was the kind of standard that
polluting industries might have written for themselves. And as it
turned out, they had.
Texas administration had drafted the new rules in close collaboration
with representatives of the industries being regulated. The role of
industry representatives was discovered in confidential memos obtained
by the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition under the
states Freedom of Information Act. [Sierra Magazine,
in the White House, Bush followed a similar pattern, inviting Enron's
Kenneth Lay and other energy executives to secret meetings with Vice
President Dick Cheney's energy task force. The Bush White House is
still battling legal demands that the records of those meetings be
also has muddied the waters on the global-warming debate, suggesting
at different points that the science was inconclusive, even though
U.S. and international scientists have long concluded that the threat
industry front groups, such as the Greening Earth Society, which
supplied Bush some of his data for his presidential campaign, no
longer deny the global-warming trends, though they argue that global
warming might be beneficial. The Greening Earth Society, which was
created by the Western Fuels Association, argues that higher levels of
carbon dioxide will spur plant growth. [For more details, see
Coal & the Internet."
another point in the Oct. 11 presidential debate, Bush said the
Clinton-Gore administration took 40 million acres of land out of
circulation without consulting local officials.
I just cited an
example of the administration just unilaterally acting without any
was referring to a Clinton-Gore proposal to protect 40 million acres
of roadless areas in national forests from more road building and
logging. As the Sierra Club noted in a press release, Bushs
statement was false.
fact, the Forest Service conducted 600 public meetings about the
proposal nationwide and more than one million Americans urged the
administration to strengthen the proposal, the Sierra Club said.
There was ample opportunity for local officials and others to
comment on the proposal.
his own record in Texas, Bush also asserted that our water is
cleaner now. False again, the Sierra Club said. The discharge of
industrial toxic pollution into surface waters in Texas increased from
23.2 million pounds in 1995 to 25.2 million pounds in 1998, the last
year with data available, a Sierra Club press release said.
a more personal note, Bush contended that he was not a man who needed
a focus group or polls to tell him what to think. "We've got too
much polling and focus groups going on in Washington today," Bush
said. "We need decisions made on sound principles.
out of Bush's anti-polling remark was that his campaign had spent
roughly $1 million on polls and focus groups, about equal to the Gore
campaigns spending, according to a report by NBC News. [Oct. 6,
2000]. Indeed, Bush changed his campaign slogan from Compassionate
Conservative to Real Plans for Real People because of poll
analysis done by his campaign.
perhaps Bushs most obvious whopper in the first presidential
debate, the Republican claimed that the Gore campaign had out-spent
me, Bush said.
fact, Bush had raised and spent more than twice as much money in the
election as Gore had raised and spent. There was no explanation from
the Bush campaign about this inaccurate claim and the national news
media did not press for one.
If Gore had made a similar misrepresentation,
media pundits would have filled the air waves for days about Lyin' Al
as happened when Gore mistakenly recalled traveling to a disaster
site with the director of the Federal Emergency Management
Administration, when he had actually gone with the deputy director.
But Bush had that image of a straight-talking
guy. So his misstatements were given a pass or treated as innocent
mistakes. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Protecting
This pattern of protecting Bush when he lied or
changed position continued into the 36-day Florida recount battle.
Bush, the opponent of federal intervention in state affairs, was the
one who rushed to the U.S. Supreme Court to get it to overturn a state
court ruling in favor of a full recount.
"strict constructionists," who long had decried federal
courts making law, called on the Supreme Court's conservative majority
to adopt new legal theories, initially to delay the counting of votes
and then to impose an impossible deadline of two hours for the state
to refine its recount plan and complete the tally. When the deadline
couldn't be met, Bush was declared the winner.
the recount fight, Bush also flip-flopped on his longtime contempt for
"trial lawyers." Though Al Gore was portrayed as the one who
would do or say anything to win, it was Bush who turned to the hated
lawyers to nail down the White House.
recount committee paid $4.4 million for lawyers to block a full
counting of the votes in Florida, according to financial records filed
with the Internal Revenue Service. That was more than the total budget
of Gore's recount effort, which spent $3.2 million on various
expenses, the IRS records showed. Bush's total recount spending was
$13.8 million, about four times Gore's total. [For more details, see
Conspiracy to Riot."]
On to Washington
into the White House seems to have emboldened Bush in his confidence
that he can virtually shape reality with his words and the words of
instance, when Enron plunged into bankruptcy in December 2001, Bush
minimized his relationship with Enron's disgraced chief, Ken Lay, whom
Bush used to refer to affectionately as "Kenny Boy."
to a reporter's question on Jan. 11, Bush acted as if he barely knew
one of biggest and most loyal backers. Bush said Lay "was a
supporter of Ann Richards in my run in 1994" for the Texas
governorship. Bush implied that he had gotten to know Lay as a
Richards holdover appointee to a Texas business council.
In reality, the Bush-Lay relationship could be traced back at least
a half decade before the 1994 race. It grew out of the Houston social
circle where oil tycoons have long rubbed shoulders with political
players and where Ken and Linda Lay had grown close to George H.W.
and Barbara Bush in the 1980s. Since then, Lay and other Enron
executives have written big checks for one Bush initiative after
another. [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Bush
& Ken Lay: Slip Slidin' Away."]
defenders also argued that Bush's refusal to bail out the sinking
energy trader was proof of Bush's integrity. The story line was that
all of Ken Lays millions couldnt buy George W. Bush. For that
reason, Enron has been called a financial scandal, not a political
The evidence, however, showed that prior to Nov. 8, 2001, when the
SEC delivered subpoenas to Enron, the Bush administration did what it
could to help Enron replenish its coffers with billions of dollars.
Enron desperately needed that money to prevent the exposure of
mounting losses hidden in off-the-books partnerships, a bookkeeping
black hole that was sucking Enron toward bankruptcy.
As Enrons crisis worsened through the first nine months of the
Bush presidency, Ken Lay got Bushs help in three principal ways:
--Bush personally joined the fight against imposing caps on the
soaring price of electricity in California at a time when Enron was
artificially driving up the price of electricity by manipulating
supply. Bushs rear-guard action against price caps bought Enron and
other energy traders extra time to gouge hundreds of millions of
dollars from Californias consumers.
--Bush granted Lay broad influence over the administrations
energy policies, including the choice of key regulators to oversee
Enrons businesses. The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission was suddenly replaced in 2001 after he began to delve into
Enrons complex derivative-financing schemes.
--Bush had his National Security Council staff organize an
administration-wide campaign to pressure the Indian government to
accommodate Enron, which wanted to sell its generating plant in Dabhol,
India, for $2.3 billion. Bush administration pressure on India over
the Dabhol plant continued even after Sept. 11, when Indias support
was needed for the war on terrorism. The administrations threats
against India on Enrons behalf didnt stop until Nov. 8, when the
SEC's formal investigation was announced and Enron admitted
overstating earnings by $586 million. [For details, see
Did Try to Save Enron."]
Other examples of Bush being "malleable" with the facts
are less serious, though perhaps as troubling.
Last May, for instance, Bush pretended to have read a 268-page
report by the Environmental Protection Agency on global warming. The
report concluded that human consumption of fossil fuels was to blame
for rising global temperatures and would have serious consequences for
That was not the result that Bush wanted, a fact he made clear to
reporters by demanding more study of the subject. "I read the
report put out by the bureaucracy," Bush said dismissively.
However, the White House was later forced to amend the definition of
"read." Spokesman Ari Fleischer explained that
"whenever presidents say the read it, you can read that to be he
was briefed." [AP, June 10, 2002]
Another case of Bush stretching the truth came in his explanation
of why the federal budget had gone from record surpluses back into
deficit, estimated at about $160 billion for the first full fiscal
year of Bush's presidency. In speech after speech this year, Bush told
Republican audiences that he had stated during the 2000 campaign that
he would keep the budget balanced except in event of war, recession or
Bush then offered his punch line: "Little did I realize we'd
get the trifecta." The joking reference to the Sept. 11 tragedy
and to a term for a horseracing bet on the correct order of finish
for three horses always got a laugh from his listeners.
Beyond the questionable taste of the joke, however, Bush's claim
about having set the criteria for going back into deficit appears to
have been fabricated. Neither the White House nor independent
researchers could locate any such statement by Bush. Researchers did
find, however, that during the campaign, Gore had used the cautionary
examples of what might force the government back into deficit
A Life of Deception
Bush's supporters may argue that Bush's presidential whoppers are
not unusual, that all presidents and probably all politicians
exaggerate or twist the truth now and then. That was the point the
Washington Post was making in describing Bush's malleability with the
truth as part of a long presidential tradition.
But Bush's growing record of lies, both big and small, suggest
something perhaps more troubling. His personal history of heavy
drinking, likely drug use, carousing, disappearances from military
duty, repeated business failures and political hypocrisies
combined with his ability to avoid ever paying a significant price for
his deceptions may have given him this sense of his own
That view of invulnerability to consequences at a time the nation
is facing an array of complex dangers could prove a hazardous mix. The
pressure on Bush to revert to a lifelong pattern of telling lies and
half-truths and getting away with it will almost certainly
lead to more bending of reality to his political needs.
That danger is twofold: Bush may compensate for his lack of foreign
policy experience by trying to make regional realities fit with his
limited knowledge, and he may misrepresent key information to the
American people to simplify his challenge of keeping the U.S. public
Yet at the core of any democracy is the right of the voters to know
the facts. That is especially true for a democracy facing a world of