At a bit past 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday evening, the top stories on CNN.com happened to include the following:
CNN, always calm and even-handed in matters of national security and terrorism, was kind enough to pad their reports of imminent national annihilation between enough syrupy goo to send the Fluffernutter people running for their therapists...but there it is all the same: The End Of The World, Again.
- A-Rod Suspended, Can Keep Playing During Appeal
- Sources: Al Qaeda Attack Plan Nearly Set
- 11 Jailbreaks Linked to Al Qaeda Plot?
- 50 Cent Enters Not Guilty Plea
- Johnny Football's Offseason Craziness
- Beauty Queen Arrested in Bomb Case
- Spelling Error Costs Boy on "Jeopardy"
- Neil Patrick Harris: "I Was Goosed"
- You Should Swim With Sharks Here
It has been like this for days, on all the networks and above the fold of every newspaper: ZOMG SKY FALLING TAKE APPROPRIATE PRECAUTIONS NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE ZOMG.
And it is all very familiar, actually. Take this short, vapid bit from the Associated Press, also delivered on Monday evening:
Two officials say a secret message that was intercepted between al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri and his deputy in Yemen led to the shutdown of U.S. embassies.Right.
A U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat said al-Zawahri's message was picked up several weeks ago and appeared to initially target Yemeni interests.
The intelligence official said the message was sent to Nasir al Wuhayshi, the head of the terror network's organization, based in Yemen, that is known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive issue publicly.
Two officials, names not provided, and a message from al-Zawahri, details not provided. Never mind the fact that I've lost count of the number of times we were told al-Zawahri was dead; it was certain in 2006 until it wasn't, and again in 2008, and in the years before and since, I'm pretty sure he died more times than The Cat That Came Back.
So we're back to this crap again.
Forgive my crashing cynicism, but I still have a huge hangover from the days when Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or even George Dubya himself would sling impending-doom terror alerts whenever a friend of the administration got indicted, the stock market dropped more than a few points, or anything else happened that required a big, juicy CNN banner (accompanied by appropriately dramatic music) to make everyone look away...and here we are, right in the middle of a national conversation about whether we're all comfortable about the degree to which the government can track us like tagged whales.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but seriously folks: talk about timing, right?
~ from You Are, In Fact, Being Watched by William Rivers Pitt ~
In case you missed it, there is an imminent threat of doom from al-Qaida. They could strike at ay given moment and we're not exactly sure where. The situation is so dire that President Obama decided to keep his appointment with Jay Leno by appearing on The Tonight Show Tuesday night!
Put a microphone in their faces or have a pen ready to scribble down notes and many of our esteemed leaders will tell you we have every reason to be afraid. Yet, once the camera lights go off and reporters put down their pens, no one in Washington is acting like there's a reason to be afraid. No, it seems to be business as usual.
A skeptic like me looks more towards how people act, not simply what they say. In this case, neither the president nor the other pro-NSA folks in the capitol are acting like there is much of anything to worry about. As Rivers Pitt points out, the mainstream media isn't providing wall-to-wall 24/7 coverage on the supposed danger either. Taken together, these actions don't match their words in any way, shape or form. No, this seems like another example of wag the dog!