Media Enabled Bush 1's Savage Attacks on Maddow and Olbermann, Yet Continue to Ignore Bush Family's Sordid Past
The other day, George H.W. Bush fired a salvo against mean media liberals who savaged his son. Soon, brickbats were flying to and fro about who said what about whom. But this mini-controversy is nothing more than a distraction from the real story: even the most animated of Bush critics on television have not gotten around to acknowledging the full, unspeakably dark nature of the Bush enterprise. Bush41, it turns out, has nothing at all to complain about.
The kerfuffle began last Friday, when CBS ran a story on its website about George H.W. Bush criticizing MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow for edgy rhetoric and name-calling, in which he then … called them names -- specifically, “sick puppies.”
"The way they treat my son and anyone who's opposed to their point of view is just horrible," Mr. Bush said. "When our son was president they just hammered him mercilessly and I think obscenely a lot of the time and now it's moved to a new president," he added.
Of course, this is ridiculous on many counts. First is the absurdity of the man who employed the political assassin Lee Atwater (look up Willie Horton) and gave Karl Rove his first job, whining about incivility. Then there is the way the former president glided over the snapping trash- mouths and conjurers of the Right, from Limbaugh to Hannity to Beck, who dominate and influence the media’s vast market of vulnerable and hurting Americans. And finally, it is hard to recall criticism of H.W.’s son that was wildly inaccurate, truly out of bounds, or not reflective of the awful reality of W.’s presidency.
The real problem is not that popular media figures have gone after the Bushes, it is quite the opposite: that they have stopped well short of sharing the full story with the American people.
CBS inadvertently touched on this when it reported H.W.’s general satisfaction with how his personal saga was playing out in his golden years:
“Mr. Bush also said his own life is "very good, very private."
Perfect irony resides in that remark. One reason that the elder Bush’s life is so very good, and remains so very private, is because of the media’s failure to unearth the extent of the continuing deception perpetrated by the Bush family and their allies. The guilty parties surely include CBS itself -- which stopped asking questions when under pressure and unceremoniously tossed to the lions Dan Rather, the most visible television personality willing to dig into the truth about the Bushes.
That the bigger picture never emerged is not only the fault of the mainstream, however, but also of the very “liberals” castigated by the elder Bush. Our favorite television talking heads continue to focus on the failings of the George W. Bush Administration without providing the added context from substantive discoveries about the Bush family and their longer-term activities that would shock the nation and the world.
In early 2009, the respected publisher Bloomsbury released Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means For America. This was the result of five years of deep research I conducted into the rise of the Bushes, into those who propelled them to the top and kept them there through decades, and their long-term and continuing grip on policy. The book contains page after page of revelations about things we need to know but have collectively missed, and about a nexus of power that shapes the American destiny to this moment.