There’s a lot about the Mark Foley / Congressional page scandal that requires scrutiny and discussion, starting with the initial post on this weblog that led to a series of responses (1, 2, 3) that led to the initial ABC report and the more explicit revelations that followed.
[Note – If you have a weak stomach, you may choose to stop reading this post right now and instead restrict your scrutiny to the electronic messages themselves. Here’s one link and here’s another.]
For reasons that I hope would be obvious, I do not agree with the way these claims were initially aired. Some leeway may be allowed if – over the years – approaches to various official bodies proved fruitless (and here’s something else these two paedo-claim blogs have in common from different perspectives; the institutional cover-up) but what appears to be widespread inside-knowledge of this abuse does make one wonder if this well-timed discovery is truly serendipitous. There is every possibility that members of both parties allowed a serial offender to continue on his merry way just so they could gain/maintain a political advantage.
Scrutiny. Discussion. Required.
It’s important to acknowledge this because – when taken at face value – some (stress on some) of the following seems like fair and just behaviour. But there is far more to this than just face value… and part of the Big Problem here is that too many people take what they are fed at face value.
Take a look at the online version of the initial ABC report. As part of the conversation-culture many of us are trying to foster, it allows comments. Read those comments and see how willingly this trust is abused in a co-ordinated attempt to shut down the story.
I’ve already said that the origins deserve scrutiny, but – if you have the patience – you also need to look at the TANG-emboldened right-wing bloggers as they journey from scrutiny to claims of a liberal-media/Democrat ‘set-up’ inside a mere 36 hours: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Meanwhile, a man central to this scandal who deserves a *lot* of scrutiny manages to avoid it by using children as a human shield.
Soon after this, Matt Drudge, an ‘anti-establishment’ figure who is – in reality – a willing tool of the current administration (i.e. Guido in 4 years if he gets his way) assures the public that it is a set-up, and that the victims of this abuse are gagging for it (transcript here and excellent editorial here).
Soon after that, Rush Limbaugh (someone else with a large audience resulting from his pandering to the lowest common denominator) also cries ‘set-up’ and makes the boldest of a series of claims that liberals are the true hypocrites here, as they’re long-time proponents of man-boy love.
By this time, the airwaves and tabloids are full of focus on Foley’s status as Teh Gay, and the ‘liberal hypocrisy’ message is slammed home again and again because liberals argue for gay rights and – as we all know – being gay automatically makes you a paedophile.
What deserves particular attention is that this ‘debate’ is what will shape the upcoming mid-term elections, *not* this staggering loss of freedom in the name of ‘security’ or the Bush administration’s staggering failure to address security in any real or responsible sense.
But… there’s some disgraceful conduct here; taken individually or collectively, these many deceits and the large audiences that are prone to them reveal something rotten at the heart of democracy, media and the blogosphere (i.e. the kind of rot that allows the powers that be to get away with all sorts of crimes against humanity).
This also deserves your attention… if you can stomach it.
UPDATE – How strange. Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade – scourge of paedophiles the world over – has decided not to feature this scandal in the Sun newspaper. At all. 12 days after the story exploded, and there hasn’t been so much as a passing mention.