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Useful Idiots

Brian Baird just cannot seem to soak up enough media attention now that he’s donning Joe Lieberman’s jaunty fedora and playing the role of chief apostate in the administration’s tightly scripted PR war melodrama. The honorary Bush Dog wasn’t getting the sweet invites to perform with The Beard before, but he sure is now. He’s suddenly as ubiquitous as O’Pollack.

He also wrote an op-ed in the Seattle Times where he outlines his feelings on the war. Washington blogger TheHim at EFFin’ Unsound does a lengthy and very interesting deconstruction of the piece, much of which I agree with and some of which I don’t, but this stood out for me:

I think Congressman Baird has demonstrated in this editorial why the approval ratings of Congress are so low – because the Democrats in Congress are still treating the Bush Administration as competent and trustworthy stewards of the nation, when well over half the country does not feel that way.

Bingo.

So how do these people find their way onto your television with such ease once they’re willing to spout a Bush friendly line? Glenn Greenwald, in examining how so many voices promoting tales friendly to former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Alawi seemed to emerge in so many media outlets simultaneously, explains it a bit:

In his great undercover article in Harper‘s on the seedy lobbyist industry (which many fake Beltway journalists revealingly condemned), Real Journalist Ken Silverstein documented how easily the best-paid lobbyists can single-handily change Beltway media coverage, ensure the placement in key Editorial spaces (such as Hiatt’s Washington Post) of positive Op-Eds, and even “develop[] seemingly independent and therefore more credible allies to offer favorable views about” their clients. That is obviously exactly what is going on here. Our Very Serious People are making Serious Decisions about our war policy influenced, at least, by people with all sorts of financial incentives that are undisclosed.

Baird may be perfectly sincere about his opinions, and the fact that they neatly dovetail with the Administration’s narrative may just be an unhappy coincidence for someone who professes to be against the war. But if that’s the case, he needs to be aware of the way he’s being used in a much larger framework by those who not only do not seek to end the war, but most probably want to expand it. And to the extent that he does not understand this, he becomes a serious problem.

(h/t greatscat)

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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