What has happened to the principle that American democracy should be accessible and transparent?
“Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” George Orwell, Politics and the English Language By Charles Lewis WASHINGTON , February 3, 2005 In the world’s oldest democracy, pressure on investigative journalists is usually exerted in sophisticated, non-lethal ways, under the public radar. Every day in Washington, D.C., thousands of government and corporate public relations flaks and lobbyists purvey their “talking points” with a friendly smile, no matter how odious the client, no matter how intellectually dishonest or morally dubious their message. Journalists must trudge through the shameless “spin”-that vanilla word admiringly used these days instead of “lying,” which has a harshly judgmental, jarringly rude ring in Washington power circles. Sometimes the persuasion becomes less subtle. For example, when the Center for Public Integrity obtained and prepared to publish online the secret,