Sunday, June 25, 2006

Speaking of Fascism

CNN brings Bill Bennett on many mornings, with a camera in his radio studio, to give us a sense of what his listeners are saying. There's no liberal counterpart, and he's often simply described as a radio host and CNN contributor, with no indication that he's as conservative. Here's what he had to say on Friday:

BENNETT: They were talking about that, for sure. We started with the Miami story, of course, of this plot -- supposed plot -- to blow up the World Trade Center. The people were angry about that, bothered by it -- a little afraid. A lot of talk about our kids, the next generation, we have working kids in cities like Chicago and New York, fear for them. So that was quite apparent.

But the fury this morning was about the "New York Times," and it wasn't fury about people having their bank records looked at. It was hundreds of people calling and saying, Look, we're in a war on terror. This program, the SWIFT program, at the Treasury Department, apparently doing a lot of good. We captured this guy who was responsible for the bombings in Bali because of this program. And it also led to the arrests of some of the people last July 7, and people are wondering about the "New York Times" and other outlets as to when they will stop interfering with these intelligence programs. O'BRIEN: So you think a lot of the rage from your listeners is directed at the "New York Times" for sort of outing this previously secret program?

BENNETT: Yes; the question as posed by one of our listeners was this -- here's the government. Now, we know the government may overclassify. We know the government keeps secrets it shouldn't, but this is a government that we've elected. They are responsible and accountable to us. And they are our first line of defense, through the military and through intelligence operations, in the war on terror. They said the "New York Times" cloaks itself in the First Amendment, but it's a profit-making media behemoth which is out to make headlines and make profits. And the government is entitled to have its views respected over that of the editors of the "New York Times."

So this thing continues to build. We had Pete Hoekstra on, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is extremely frustrated about this. Something is going to happen before long. I know we've had hearings on this, but people don't appreciate just how angry a lot of the public is, in what they feel is an interference with the program. Here you have the Miami story, where the FBI, Soledad, penetrated this group. This depends upon having intelligence that remains secret, and if it is always being spilled out in the papers, people are worried, we're going to be putting ourselves and our kids in jeopardy.

It's long been a mystery to me why the free press embraces people who want to destroy them. One would think this is a bit more important than the fact that Markos can be a bit strident sometimes, I use bad words, and the elite's general horror at popular participation in the discourse.