Commentary by Grady Hawkins

CBS News has announced that it has hired Condoleezza Rice as a correspondent for the network.

With the hiring of Rice, former President George W. Bush's Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, mainstream American media has proven once and for all that it lacks any remaining integrity or relevance.

The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) made it official on Sunday, January 27. Rice has been retained as a contributor to the long-running, and nearly iconic, “Face the Nation.”

CBS News had long set the standard for reporting and news coverage, beginning with Edward R. Murrow. His radio broadcasts from London during the battle of Britain and the blitz electrified listeners and practically created modern journalism. Murrow’s colleagues included such legendary journalists as Douglas Edwards, Eric Sevareid, Charles Collinwood, William Shirer and, of course, Walter Cronkite. These were the news gatherers and reporters who turned the "yellow journalism" of William Randolph Hearst's newspapers into distant and illegitimate jingoism.

Unfortunately, the total lack of courage, honesty and integrity demonstrated by the mainstream American media in its reporting to the run-up of the 2003 Iraq invasion destroyed that legacy. The previously mentioned Hearst would have been proud. The broadcast and cable news networks and major print media failed to do what any and every cub reporter on the lowliest newspaper does: Ask questions. Question that authority and verify.

In fact, the media served as nothing less than an enabler, rubber stamping the actions of an Executive branch run amok. The media functioned as the patriotic police, shouting down any legitimate reporting or thoughtful commentary. It bowed and scraped before its corporate sponsors who made fortunes off an expanding and unregulated military cash flow to the tune of billions of dollars.

The mainstream media reported Pentagon and White House press releases and briefings as truth. They delivered propaganda as serious news. The result was the worst foreign policy debacle in U.S. history.

One of the central players in the deception was Condoleezza Rice.

Before her public career, Rice served as head of Chevron’s Committee on Public Policy. At the time, Chevron was developing a $10-billion project in Kazakhstan. As a specialist in Soviet affairs, Rice was acquainted with the president of Kazakhstan, NuNational Security Council as the Soviet and Eastern Europe Affairs Advisor, Rice was selected to became a member of the younger Bush's administration. In kind, because of her service to Bush II, she was nominated to be his Secretary of State. She was approved miraculously. Her diplomatic philosophy was to support any and all emerging democratic movements. She pioneered transformational diplomacy, with the focus on the Middle East. This proved difficult when the Palestinians elected Hamas to a popular majority. Saudi Arabia and Egypt also maintained their brutal totalitarian governments. But of course, they were allies.

After George W. Bush left political life, so did Rice. She returned to the Hoover Institute at Stanford. And now Condi seems to have a hankering for broadcast journalism.

As a potential journalist, Rice is completely illegitimate. During her tenure as Secretary of State, she either misled the American people, was criminally negligent, a pawn, or was just an outright liar. She fed the mainstream media falsehoods, and they went along with her pronouncements. The end result was that the American people were stampeded into a useless and senseless war.

Condoleezza Rice now serves as a member of that same media.

CBS might just as well hire the long-disgraced New York Times reporter Judith Miller, former Secrretary of State Henry Kissinger, or Rumsfeld to add their to its twisted view of recent American history.

In the early 1950s, Edward R. Murrow challenged the power of Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. On February 27, 1968, Walter Cronkie delivered an editorial after his much-watched prime time program entitled: "Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why?" Cronkite called the war in Vietnam unwinnable. It is claimed that President Lyndon Johnson, after hearing this, said: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

CBS and her sister networks are no longer concerned with keeping the public informed. They are no longer in the business of asking the tough questions that Washington does not want to answer.

The television news business is all about propaganda and profits. Condoleezza Rice will be a perfect fit.

 

The mainstream media reported the Pentagon and White House press releases and briefings as truth. They reported propaganda as serious news. The result was the worst foreign policy debacle in U.S. history.

One of the central players in the deception was Condoleezza Rice.

Before her public career, Rice served as head of Chevron’s committee on public policy. At the time Chevron was developing a ten billion project in Kazakhstan. As a soviet specialist, Rice was acquainted with its president and paid him a visit. In 1993 Chevron named 129,000 ton supertanker the SS Condoleezza Rice. However, the ship was renamed the Altair Voyager after some unnamed controversy.

In December, 200, Rice was named national security advisor. Her first official duty was to ignore the warnings from CIA director George tenant of impending terrorists attacks. Rice was interested in missile defense, not faceless goat-herds. When asked about these meetings in 2006, she recalled that she did not recall.

On January 10, 2003, Rice appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. During the interview, Rice became famous (or infamous) for her immortal words: “the problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he (Saddam) can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”  High drama (melodrama?) that might very well come back to haunt her, but Ms. Rice was not finished. On January 23, 2003 she published an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Why We Know Iraq is Lying” Its interesting reading. Unfortunately, the piece proves nothing. It ends with yet another scare claiming that Saddam has a launch vehicle and warhead and enough Sarin VX nerve  gas to kill millions.

She continued with the same over-blown rhetoric at different functions…”it is not incumbent on the United States to prove that Saddam Hussein is trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. He’s already demonstrated that he’s trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.” This is a remarkable statement. She says that the administration doesn’t need proof, just intentions if it wants to go to war.

More revealing Rice stated …”an American President and allies who are obligated to worry about the safety and security of our countries, cannot take the word of this dictator, who lies, pathologically lies.”

Condoleezza should have clarified what dictator was, in fact, lying.

Rice was thoroughly discredited. After the invasion and defeat of the Iraqis, it became remarkably clear that there were no WMD’s. Rice backtracked claiming that she had been given bad intelligence. And then the dubious claim that they all shared the same intelligence. This is not true. The Washington Post called her claims a “hoax, deception, and demagogic scare tactics. Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies seeking to put caveats on claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, or she made public claims she knew to be false.”

In April, 2007, she rejected a House subpoena regarding the pre-war allegation that Saddam acquired yellow cake uranium from Niger.

After her tenure in the Bush administration, the collapse began and the finger pointing followed. Former Secretary of defense Donald Von Rumsfeld accused Rice of being a…”young, inexperienced academic who didn’t know her place.” Rice retorted that Rumsfeld “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Dick Cheney claimed that Rice was naive, calling her advice on certain issues “utterly misleading” 

For her faithful service to George Bush the younger, Rice was nominated secretary of State and was miraculously approved. Her diplomatic philosophy was to support any and all emerging democratic movements. She pioneered transformational diplomacy, with the focus on the Middle East. This proved difficult when the Palestinians elected Hamas to a popular majority. Saudi Arabia and Egypt also maintained their brutal totalitarian governments. But of course, they were allies.

After Bush left office, so did Rice. She returned to the Hoover Institute at Stanford. And now Condi seems to have a hankering for broadcast journalism.

As a journalists, Condoleezza Rice is completely illegitimate. Rice either misled the American people, was criminally negligent, a pawn or just an outright liar. She fed the mainstream press falsehoods, and the mainstream media went along with them. And the American public was stampeded into a useless war.  Condoleezza Rice now serves that same media.

CBS might just as well hire the long disgraced New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Henry Kissinger and Donald Von Rumsfeld to add their particular twisted view of recent American history.

Ed Murrow challenged the power of Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. Walter Cronkite called the Vietnam War unwinnable on primetime network television

CBS and her sister networks are no longer concerned with keeping the public informed. They are no longer in the business of asking the tough questions that Washington does not want to answer.

The business is propaganda and profits. Condoleezza Rice is a perfect fit.