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Saturday, August 19, 2006
NewsBusters: Your Bush Talking Points Echo Chamber
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 19 NewsBusters post by Lyford Beverage is headlined "The Early Show Continues To Mis-label Terrorist Surveillance Program," but it might has well be labeled "NewsBusters Continues to Repeat Bush Talking Points on Surveillance Program."

As we've previously noted, NewsBusters in general and Beverage in particular has been fond of repeating the Bush talking point of calling the NSA warrantless surveillance program a "terrorist surveillance program," which is misleading: the NSA does not know for sure that the subject of surveillance is, in fact, a terrorist when surveillance begins.

Beverage's argument is that "The Early Show" is being "inaccurate or incomplete" in referring to the program as a "domestic surveillance program" (an argument he has also previously made). Beverage then tries to parse the definition of "domestic," claiming:

The program is not, despite the mainstream press' continued insistence, a "domestic" surveillance program. The NSA is not monitoring American's domestic calls without warrants, or at least, if they are, that has not been made public. That's not what the program being talked about covers. The NSA is monitoring overseas communications of suspected terrorists and terrorism supporters. If some of those communications are into the United States, they're continuing to monitor. That doesn't make the conversations "domestic."

But if "some of those communications are into the United States," that makes the call, at least in part, domestic. Beverage then switches to the term "entirely domestic conversations," which is deliberately muddying the issue, then insists that "The program that has been talked about and discussed is not about surveilling Americans." If one end of the call is in the United States, then an American is, in fact, being surveilled.

Note to Mr. Beverage: Rebuffing a claim with political talking points isn't exactly "newsbusting." 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT

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