I have to say that I greet today's decision by the Washington Post to fire blogger and columnist Dan Froomkin to be both sad and alarming. Froomkin has been a leading light in examining the issue of state-sanctioned torture, and most importantly, has been the rare voice in the heights of traditional media to actually say that torture is torture. While the rest of the world soft-foots the matter with dumb euphemisms like "enhanced interrogation" and "intense questioning" -- deployed for no other purpose than to signal "Nothing to see here, folks! Not a big deal at all! Attention need not be paid" -- Froomkin refused to play that game. His loss is a big one. Better writers than I have already opined on the subject, so I'll only say that I endorse these statements, wholeheartedly:
"Dan's work on torture may be one reason he is now gone. The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing. This purge will prompt a real revolt in the blogosphere. And it should."
"One of the rarest commodities in the establishment media is someone who was a vehement critic of George Bush and who now, applying their principles consistently, has become a regular critic of Barack Obama -- i.e., someone who criticizes Obama from what is perceived as "the Left" rather than for being a Terrorist-Loving Socialist Muslim."
Surely Froomkin shall find some sort of perch for his perspective, and quickly. But I decry this decision.
Poll Positioning: And now, a child's garden of panicky poll analysis. I guess all the stuff that people said they wanted to get done last November no longer matters to anyone!
Priorities: How smart does this sound? "Members of Congress on Wednesday approved taking money out of an environmental cleanup fund and putting it toward new fighter jets that the Pentagon has said it doesn't want."
What Twitter can't do: As I said earlier, it's easy to both overplay and diminish the importance of Twitter where Iran is concerned, but I think that Matt Yglesias gets at what's really important:
But when you have your mass protests, you still have the key question. Do the security services just kill a bunch of people (Tiananmen)? Does the regime blink and surrender (Velvet Revolution)? Does the regime attempt surrender, only to be undercut by a hardline coup (USSR, 1991)? Does the regime attempt to resist, only to be undone by a coup (Romania)? Information technology doesn't seem to me to have anything to do with this. It all has to do with internal regime politics, and the attitudes of the people leading and serving in the security forces.