From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]
OR HOW THINGS GET DONE
REGIS GETS SEATED NEXT TO AMY GOODMAN AT DONOHUE’S CHRISTMAS PARTY
(ON HIS OTHER SIDE, ELAINE MAY)
THANKS, CLEVER PHIL DONOHUE
(OR WAS IT YOU, MARLO THOMAS?)
(READS WEIRDLY LIKE BECKETT)
REGIS: So I went to the annual Phil Donahue/Marlo Thomas Christmas
party last night.
KELLY: Yes, tell me.
REGIS: Well, it’s just a lot of fun, you know. And the violins are
KELLY: It’s beautiful. They have a beautiful home, right?
REGIS: Yeah, it’s a penthouse up on Fifth Avenue. Just great. And so–
and Phil is there with the bowtie. Incidentally, Phil produced a
documentary that got a lot of acclaim at the Golden Globes, got his
nomination for it. And they’re thinking maybe it could get a
nomination for the Academy Awards, too.
KELLY: Oh, my gosh!
REGIS: It’s Body of War. It’s a documentary on Iraq. You know, you
don’t know what Phil Donahue is doing, because it’s so quiet, and then
all of a sudden this movie is coming out. Anyway, Mike Wallace was
KELLY: Love Mike Wallace.
REGIS: Mike Wallace looks absolutely fabulous, looks like, honest to
God, like a leading man… But then you’ve got to worry about who you’re
going to sit with and what kind of a conversation you’re going to
have. So anyway, on my left was Elaine May, you know, the screenwriter
REGIS:–former comedian, very funny lady. And on my right was Amy
Goodman. And so, I didn’t–I was unfamiliar with the name. “What do you
do, Amy?” She says, “Well, I have a show on PBS.”
REGIS: “What do you do?” She says, “We cover global events.”
KELLY: Oh, my gosh!
REGIS: Global news.
KELLY: No wonder we haven’t seen it.
REGIS: Well, now, excuse me, but what am I going to have in common
with someone who covers global news?
KELLY: What is the global news?
REGIS: The beautiful baby contest? That ain’t going to do it!
REGIS: Santa Claus getting pawed? No!
REGIS: I’ve got nothing in common.
KELLY: Yes. I know what you’re saying. I’ve been there.
KELLY: I’ve been in that anxiety situation, where you realize that you
are the weak link at the table, where you go, “Oh, I see. I’m the weak
link. I’m the person that–
REGIS: You may be better known than anyone else, because they see you
every day on television, but what have we got to say? Nothing.
REGIS: We’ve got nothing to say.
KELLY: Nothing. And they know–and they already know what you’ve got
going on, because you’ve talked about it that day.
REGIS: We’ve got nothing.
REGIS: So, what did you do? We talk about nothing.
REGIS: That’s it.
REGIS: That’s it.
KELLY: And then it’s sweet, though, because like heady people who are
REGIS: Very smart, very sharp.
KELLY:–they’re very good at like, you know, sounding interested, or
like, “Well, it must be fascinating, what you’re doing.” I’m like,
“It’s very fun. We had hot toys on yesterday. And then, today we’re
going to make our own shirts out of waste.”
REGIS: You’re absolutely right. You realize then–
KELLY: You’re lacking contribution.
REGIS:–what you are doing. You’re doing nothing!
KELLY: Nothing! Gosh, how can you stand us?
REGIS: It’s just so sad. It really is. Anyway–
KELLY: You know what you should do, you should make things up that
KELLY: You know.
REGIS: Oh, yeah. We’ve covered the Iraq situation. We’re moving on now
to global warming.
KELLY: Good, yes. Say that. And I’ll stand by you.
KELLY: In case I ever get invited to a dinner party, I’ll say that,
REGIS: “What are you doing about global warming?” “We’re staying
cold.” Woman was very interesting, so I tuned her in. She’s on from
8:00 to 9:00 in the morning.
KELLY: Oh, fantastic!
REGIS: Channel 34, one of those PBS stations. And not only do they
have it on TV, but then they take that hour, and they play it on, I
guess, PBS radio. PBS have a radio thing, too? Yeah. They play it on
the radio from 9:00 to 10:00.
KELLY: That’s great!
REGIS: In case you missed the 8:00 to 9:00. So anyway–
KELLY: That’s really good. So I’m going to tune her in, too.
REGIS: Yeah. Yes, Amy Goodman.
935 Lies (and Counting): Study Documents Bush Admin’s False Statements
Preceding Iraq War
We speak with the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, Charles
A new study from the Center for Public Integrity has revealed
President Bush and top administration officials made a total of 935
false statements about Iraq’s alleged national security threat in the
two years following the 9/11 attacks.
President Bush made the most false statements – 260. Colin Powell, his
then secretary of state, made 254 false statements.
The authors of the study concluded “The cumulative effect of these
false statements-amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts-
was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable
din for several critical months in the run-up to war.” On October 7,
2002, for example, Bush repeatedly lied about the threat posed by Iraq
in a prime-time speech in Cincinnati Ohio.
Charles Lewis joins us in Washington. He is the founder of the Center
for Public Integrity. He created and directed the study titled “Iraq:
The War Card.” He is the president of the Fund for Independence in
Journalism in Washington.
Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity. He created
and directed the “Iraq War Card” project. He is the president of the
Fund for Independence in Journalism in Washington, a distinguished
journalist in residence at American University, and the coauthor of
The Fund for Independence in Journalism
phone : 202-293-4004
e-mail : charles [dot] lewis [at] tfij [dot] org
About the Author
Charles Lewis is a bestselling author and investigative journalist who
has founded or co-founded three nonprofit organizations based in
Washington, including of the largest nonprofit investigative reporting
organization in the world.
In late 1988, he quit a successful career as a producer for the CBS
News program 60 Minutes and began the Center for Public Integrity, a
nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog organization in Washington that
investigates political influence, corruption and other ethics-related
issues. With a full-time staff of 40 and an unprecedented network of
92 premier investigative journalists in 48 countries available on a
contract basis, the Center under Lewis published more than 250
investigative reports, including 14 books, its work honored by
Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Society of Professional
Journalists (SPJ), and others 35 times. During this period, the Center
raised and spent $30 million on its wide-ranging programmatic work,
utilizing roughly 200 paid intern researchers, its findings or
perspective appearing in roughly 10,000 news media stories.
Unfettered by the normal time and space limitations that confront most
traditional news organizations, the Center for Public Integrity is
“the best known of the independent journalism initiatives” operating
today, its work comparable to such legendary muckrakers as Lincoln
Steffens and I.F. Stone, according to a recent book, The Elements of
Journalism (Crown 2001).
Lewis wrote or co-wrote several of the Center’s studies and books that
systematically track political influence, including The Buying of the
President 2004 (Perennial 2004), on the New York Times short and
extended bestseller list for three months, The Cheating of America
(Morrow 2001), The Buying of the President 2000 (Avon 2000), The
Buying of the Congress (Avon 1998) and The Buying of the President
PEN USA, the respected literary organization, gave its 2004 First
Amendment award to Lewis, “for expanding the reach of investigative
journalism, for his courage in going after a story regardless of whose
toes he steps on, and for boldly exercising his freedom of speech and
freedom of the press.” In 1998, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship
by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
From 1990 through 2004, Lewis conducted more than 30 news conferences
at the National Press Club, many of them nationally televised.
National Journal once called Lewis and the Center a “watchdog in the
corridors of power.” The Chicago Tribune said that, “if Lewis didn’t
exist, somebody would have to invent him.”
In 2004, the Center received the George Polk Award for posting all of
the major U.S. contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan online, and first
revealing that Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company,
Halliburton, and its subsidiaries had received by far the most money
in contracts there. The Village Voice called Lewis “the Paul Revere of
our time” in early 2003 after he obtained a copy of the Justice
Department’s draft legislation “sequel” to the U.S.A. Patriot Act, and
posted it on the Center’s Website, http://www.publicintegrity.org.
In 1996, The New Yorker called Lewis’ organization the center for
campaign scoops.” During that year’s presidential election campaign,
the Center repeatedly uncovered political information that resonated
with millions of Americans. The Lincoln Bedroom scandal, for instance,
in which hundreds of campaign contributors spent the night at the
Clinton White House, was broken by the Center in its publication, The
Public i, earning it the Society of Professional Journalists’ 1996
Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Newsletter Journalism.
Another Center report, Under the Influence II: The 1996 Presidential
Candidates and Their Campaign Advisers caused a firestorm. At a news
conference releasing it, just days before the New Hampshire primary,
Lewis asked why the co-chairman of the Pat Buchanan campaign was
involved with white supremacy groups such as Aryan Nations. Within an
hour, Buchanan placed Pratt “on leave” from his presidential campaign.
Four years later, The Buying of the President 2000 first revealed that
Enron was George W. Bush’s top career patron. The Buying of the
President quadrennial series which began in 1996 marks the only
commercially-published, investigative book profiling the major
presidential candidates and political parties in the U.S. and the
special interests behind them.
Lewis has been interviewed hundreds of times about corruption-related
issues by the national and international news media. He has been a
guest lecturer at on corruption or journalism at more than 25
respected colleges and universities and other institutions. Since
1992, Lewis has spoken publicly in Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil,
China, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, the
Netherlands, Norway Russia, Sweden and South Africa. In early 1997, he
traveled to the troubled Ferghana Valley region of Uzbekistan and
Kyrgystan in Central Asia as part of a Council on Foreign Relations
conflict-prevention fact-finding mission. Since 2000, he has gathered
book-related research in the Bahamas, Belize and India.
Lewis initiated several new, innovative Center projects. In late 1997,
he began the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
(ICIJ, http://www.icij.org), an unprecedented network of the world’s premier
investigative reporters collaborating to produce across-border, public
service journalism on such subjects as cigarette smuggling by the
major manufacturers, the human rights impact of U.S. military aid,
private military companies, the privatization of water, and the
politics of oil. In 1998, Lewis and the Center undertook a nationwide
investigation of corruption in America’s state legislatures, in which
more than 7,000 state lawmakers were individually contacted by phone
or mail, and their annual financial disclosure forms were posted on
In 2001, he created a groundbreaking Center project to monitor and
report on corruption, government accountability and openness around
the world. In 2004, utilizing 200 respected social scientists and
investigative reporters in 25 countries on six continents, the 750,000-
word Global Integrity Report and The Corruption Notebooks were
published and covered around the world. Lewis recommended and the
Center Board agreed that the project ought to become a separate, new
nonprofit organization, Global Integrity (www.globalintegrity.org).
That occurred in 2005, and he now serves on its Advisory Board.
For eleven years, from 1977 through 1988, Lewis did investigative
reporting at ABC News and at CBS News as a producer for senior
correspondent Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes. His stories twice received
Emmy nominations in the “Outstanding Investigative Reporting” category
by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Lewis has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los
Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review,
The Nation and many other publications. He began his first job in
journalism at the age of seventeen, working nights in the sports
department of the Wilmington (Delaware) News-Journal.
He is president and CEO of the Fund for Independence in Journalism
(www.tfij.org) in Washington, which was created to foster quality
investigative journalism, including as a support organization to the
Center for Public Integrity and possibly others. Lewis also serves on
the board of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Advisory Board
of the International Reporting Project, and as an “international
associate” of the Open Democracy Advice Centre in Cape Town, South
Africa. He is a member of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, the
Committee to Protect Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors,
the National Press Club, PEN USA and the Society of Professional
Journalists. In 2005, Lewis was a paid consultant on access to
information issues to the Carter Center in Atlanta.
Today Lewis is a Distinguished Journalist in Residence and professor
of journalism at American University in Washington, D.C. He was a
Ferris Professor at Princeton University in 2005, and a Shorenstein
Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in
A native of Newark, Delaware, Lewis holds a master’s degree from Johns
Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in
Washington and a B.A. in political science with honors and distinction
from the University of Delaware.