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Age of Obama
Barack Obama's presidency

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From free trade to the Kosovo crisis.

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Power v. Truth, a Sad Mismatch

By Jonathan Schwarz
March 5, 2011

Editor’s Note: One of the great frustrations in modern America is how people in power lie with impunity and how the U.S. news media usually is too ill-informed or too gutless to challenge the falsehoods.

So, President George W. Bush repeats endlessly that he invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein wouldn’t let U.N. inspectors in (when it was Bush who forced them out) – and now aides to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say Ray McGovern was arrested because he was heckling her speech.

However, as you can see in the video of McGovern’s arrest, he was silent until after two security agents jumped him. Nevertheless, the Official Version remains that McGovern was shouting at Clinton and had to be removed, as Jonathan Schwarz of A Tiny Revolution observes in this guest essay:

Last week, I made another of my doomed attempts to use politeness and rationality to get people with power to correct false statements.

In this case, I was trying to get Alec Ross, Hillary Clinton's "Senior Advisor for Innovation," to correct his claim on Washington D.C.'s WAMU that Ray McGovern had been yelling at Clinton before he was dragged off and bloodied by security.

Here's what I did:

1. Politely addressed Alec Ross via twitter. No response.

2. Politely wrote to Alec Ross via Facebook. No response.

3. Politely called Alec Ross's assistant at the State Department, got her email address, and sent her the background. No response.

4. Politely sent a WAMU producer the background and politely followed up with a call. To the producer's credit, she told me they'd address this issue on their show this past Monday.

I listened, but while I'd be happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, as far as I can tell they didn't (though they mentioned it without taking a position on their website). I politely sent another email asking what happened. No response.

I'm not sure why I find it so fascinating to prove over and over again that water is wet. I assume it's because I was taught for 17 years that water is dry, and I still can't get over it.

Also, in this case I'm particularly affronted because Ray McGovern is not just an extremely knowledgeable and admirable person, he's a 71-year-old cancer survivor. Anyway, I guess everyone needs a hobby.

P.S. There was just some good news about this:

“The Constitution lives,” McGovern said after the government decided not to proceed with prosecution. “I am hugely grateful for the widespread condemnation of the brutal treatment I encountered two weeks ago for exercising my First Amendment rights.

“It strikes me as an empowering example of what we can do together in standing for justice and against the violence of war.”

I wonder if Alec Ross still believes the "cops did exactly what they ought to do."

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