Joe Conason

Joe Conason,
The American Prospect's investigative editor, is a national correspondent and columnist for The New York Observer and a columnist for Salon.com. He is the author of Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth and the co-author of The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Recent Articles

The Torture Tutor

As the author of official memoranda seeking to justify torture, warrant-free wiretapping, detention without trial, and other expressions of lawless power, John Yoo appears to be enjoying his 15 minutes of infamy. Profiled in the mainstream press, lionized and vilified in the opinion media, Yoo is experiencing a burst of publicity that can only enhance his career -- and help promote a new book in which he justifies the supposedly “inherent” constitutional authority of the president to ignore statutes passed by irritating congressional majorities and decisions delivered by meddling federal judges. Yoo hardly looks like the kind of man who would insist, as he did in a notorious Justice Department memorandum he co-authored while serving in the Office of Legal Counsel four years ago, on a narrow definition of torture as the infliction of suffering “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death...

They're Ba-ack

In August, on the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act, the White House released a three-sentence presidential statement. “For 70 years,” it read, “Social Security has been a vital program and helped millions of America's seniors in retirement. The Social Security system is sound for today's seniors, but there is a hole in the safety net for younger workers. On this 70th anniversary, we renew our commitment to save and strengthen Social Security for our children and grandchildren, and keep the promise of Social Security for future generations.” So uninspiring and perfunctory were the remarks attributed to President Bush to “celebrate” the historic date that they might well have been taken as a sign of surrender rather than determination. Yet those who know the stubborn Bush best insist that he has yet to abandon a policy objective cherished for decades by him and the conservative movement he represents. “I don't think he's lost any of his zeal for Social Security...

Rove on the Ropes

From the very beginning, the white house propaganda assault against former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, a longtime officer in the CIA, looked like the work of Karl Rove. The malicious leaks against the Wilsons -- which have led to the appointment of a special prosecutor and the imprisonment of a New York Times reporter -- displayed the style Rove has developed ever since his youthful apprenticeship with the Nixon gang: false information, whispered and broadcast, designed to damage reputations of “enemies” and to divert attention from substance, to further partisan advantage and to exact personal vengeance. Throughout his adult life, the president's chief political adviser and deputy chief of staff has escaped responsibility for the ugly and blatant tactics that have marked his career in campaigns and in public office. Awful things have happened to people foolish or unfortunate enough to fall within the shadow of his wrath, from the Alabama judge...

Public Broadcast(igation)

For many years, conservatives have warned us that someday the commissars of political correctness would run amok and impose their opinions on us with our own tax dollars. What they didn't tell us is that they would become those commissars, and that their politically correct orthodoxy would be the Republican Party line. But that's exactly what the Bush administration's broadcasting apparatchiks appear to be doing at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The official suspected of extending partisan political control over the public airwaves is Kenneth Tomlinson, a former Reader's Digest editor known for his right-wing opinions and Republican affiliations, including a close alliance with the president's chief political and policy adviser, Karl Rove. Some executives who have observed Tomlinson's bureaucratic maneuverings closely warn that he is imposing a “right-wing agenda” on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), while he insists that his critics...