The United States is facing a political crisis almost unparalleled in our history, a crisis uniquely dangerous because at its center it is not about a loss of power but about a loss of principle and even morality.
Yet, this American crisis is also about the manipulation of information and the failure of the U.S. news media to do its job. Indeed, it is hard to envision that the United States would be in this fix if reporters had asked the tough questions, if they had held dishonest political leaders accountable, if reporters had shown more courage.
But this failure of the U.S. media wasn 't an accident or simply a reaction to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Taming the news media has been a longtime goal of the neoconservative operatives who now dominate George W. Bush 's administration.
For years, these neoconservatives have understood that before they could transform the United States into their dream of a uni-polar empire, they had to gain effective control of the information that flows through Washington and they had to neutralize the honest journalists who got in the way.
That is where our Web site, Consortiumnews.com, comes in.
A decade ago, after working many years as an investigative reporter for mainstream news outlets, such as the Associated Press and Newsweek, I felt that a new kind of media institution was needed, one with the courage to resist the pressures brought to bear on journalists. (I had experienced that pressure in the 1980s and early 1990s while investigating what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal.)
So, in 1995, on the advice of my oldest son, Sam, we turned to a new medium, the Internet. I cashed in my Newsweek retirement account to raise the money to get started and we began building our Web site as a home for well-researched journalistic stories that had no place in the sensationalistic, trivialized news media of the mid-1990s.
Since then, we have produced hundreds of important stories that illuminated how our nation drifted into the predicament it 's in today. Among our investigative projects:
--We traced the origins of Republican contacts with Iran 's Islamic fundamentalist regime back to secret meetings during the pivotal 1980 presidential campaign.
--We exposed the hidden history of covert arms deals between the Reagan-Bush administration and Iraq 's Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.
--We laid out the real story behind the myth of Colin Powell, a man whose sterling reputation masked a long record of opportunism.
--We explained how Election 2000 was distorted first by bad reporting, then by inaccurate vote tallies, and finally by more bad reporting.