I never know whether the Amarillo Globe-News’ editorials are the result of stupidity, ignorance or a calculated Limbaugh-like verbal spew designed to misinform its readers. Knowing what I know about the company, Morris Communications, and the people in Globe-News management, I usually come down on the side of the most negative and cynical interpretation.
So, when today I stumbled on yesterday’s editorial, another in a long line of brainless Obama-bashing, I couldn’t believe how shallow the thinking was. The editorial increases the drumbeat of criticism of the swap of five Taliban Guantanamo Bay prisoners for Bowe Bergdhal, an Army sergeant now facing charges of desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy.” The Globe-News predicts “… the Obama administration will put its best propaganda spin on it, how else should the trade of five terrorists for a soldier now officially charged with desertion be described?”
It’s funny how the Globe-News has a history of accusing Obama and his administration of ignoring the United States Constitution, but in making these assertions, this fifth-rate paper violates one of the basic precepts in our laws — innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You think I am interpreting the Globe-News’ position too harshly — reading too much into the editorial? Here is another sentence: “It doesn’t matter whether these five Taliban members were high on the Taliban’s ranking of terror-mongers or if they were merely radical lightweights, a 5-for-1 trade for a person who willfully walked away from his post is a horrible policy decision.”
There it is. Straight up, an allegation posted as fact.
And in all the questions the Globe-News posed in the little-minded screed, it never goes beyond the rhetorical technique so well-used by Rush Limbaugh: reinforcing the preconceived notions but not giving all the facts. Does the Globe-News have all the information — the facts? If the editorialist had talked to some of those in the Army who had knowledge of the facts, it would have an ethical obligation to report them. So, either the Globe-News knows the facts and violated ethics by withholding them or, as I said, it doesn’t have them.
No matter how much I object to the way the Obama administration has handled the Patriot Act, stifled and attacked a free press and indulged in political spin, I think it’s important to remember that the Obama administration killed Osama bin Laden and to date we’ve had no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. We have no idea what is behind this swap, including whether those five Taliban prisoners were turned or served an otherwise intelligence purpose. Even more important, we leave no soldier behind and if, ultimately, Bergdhal has acted dishonorably, I would rather he face our justice than stay with the Taliban. And, until he is indicted, tried and convicted, he remains an American soldier with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining. If he is guilty, then he should be treated according to our own code of justice.