Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gosh, he's really sorry now

The eponymous Wead is really, really sorry about releasing all those tapes of him talking to his good friend George W. Bush. It wasn't for the money, honest; he lost millions , he says, by not releasing the book before the election. But now that the election is over, that coverage in all the major metropolitan dailies can't hurt, can it?

I'm having trouble getting a handle on what the "right to privacy" means if it's sacrosanct for people aiming to bring suitcase nukes into the country but not for a presidential candidate talking to a "friend" on the telephone, if it applies to public library records but not to private telephone calls. The New York Times would undoubtedly say, "If we didn't print it, someone else would"; which may be true, but beside the point. It sometimes seems that the major media do see themselves as above and outside the society at large, not beholden to any standards of decency or loyalty, not bound by any constraints except their own "ethics," which, as Dan Rather has shown us, can be -- shall we say -- fluid.

The Constitution is set up to protect the press, and the rest of us, from the government, but who protects private citizens from the press, which by now has equal and sometimes greater capacity to destroy than the government? I don't believe it's a conspiracy or a cabal -- it's just ordinary people using the power that's been given them without any reflection, and "absolute power . . . ."

Bush comes off pretty well -- better than I would, if someone caught me venting with a person I felt safe around. But the deposit of trust in the world has been drained a little more. It's a scarce commodity, and Wead and the reporters may need it at some time and won't find enough of it left. So be it.

Anyway, as far as the eponymous Wead is concerned, read Dr. John Mark Reynolds.

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