Category Archives: Media Criticism

Clueless Reporters

At the WaPo.

When are they going to learn what a blog is? Hint: Free Republic isn’t one, doesn’t have one, and its commenters are not “bloggers.”

I think that to the degree they think they know what a blog is, in their minds, it probably means “people who post stuff on that Internet thingie that somehow, unaccountably, keeps making us look bad.”

Slightly Missing The Point.

There’s an interesting op-ed about the Columbia Journalism Review over at the new DC Examiner. However, the author misses an important point when she writes:

Blogs these days are holding the MSM’s feet to the fire, forcing newspapers and TV news shows to reflect the country’s politics more accurately.

Yes, they’re doing that, but even more importantly, they’re holding the MSM’s feet to the fire in an attempt to get them to do honest and informed reporting, instead of agenda-driven, ignorant (and often illogical) hackery, of which the subject of the article, Corey Pein’s piece on Rathergate, was a textbook case. The op-ed in fact demonstrates this quite clearly:

Newcomer, who voted for Sen. John Kerry in November, was baffled. When I spoke with him recently, he told me that The New Yorker once called his wife, a botanical illustration expert, to ask whether a certain plant could grow in a certain area, because a fiction writer had mentioned it in a piece. That was fact-checking. CJR “did not do any fact-checking,” he says. Pein did spend weeks researching his story, even traveling to Texas to report it. He wrote that CBS screwed up. But the suggestion that blogs were “guilty of many of the very same sins” that CBS committed, and that Newcomer did not know what he was talking about, set the blogosphere howling.

The point of the blogosphere is not so much to get the media to, in the words of the former Clinton administration in another context, “look more like America,” but rather to get them to actually provide balanced and informed newsreporting. For too long have they been allowed to get away with laziness and incompetence. That’s what we are attempting to provide a corrective for, not just the (obvious) political bias.

[Update at 9:30 AM]

Case in point can be found here:

James Watt has written to Bill Moyers, asking him to apologize for the lies in his Star Tribune article. After quoting Moyers’ statements about him, Watt wrote:

I have never thought, believed or said such words. Nor have I ever said anything similar to that thought which could be interpreted by a reasonable person to mean anything similar to the quote attributed to me.

Because you are at least average in intelligence and have a basic understanding of Christian beliefs, you know that no Christian would believe what you attributed to me.

Because you have had the privilege of serving in the White House under President Johnson, you know that no person believing such a thing would be qualified for a Presidential appointment, nor would he be confirmed by the United States Senate, and if confirmed and said such a thing would he be allowed to continue in service.

Since you must have known such a statement would not have been made and you refused or failed to do any primary research on this supposed quote, what was your motive in printing such a damnable lie?

Before the advent of the blogosphere, Bill Moyers–arrogant, rich, powerful and well-connected–would merely have thrown Mr. Watt’s letter into the trash. Today, he may still do so. But he and his friends in the liberal media no longer have a monopoly on information, and those who have been defamed by them, like James Watt, now have the means to make their voices heard.

Yes, Bill Moyers is a leftist, vastly out of touch with Red America, but the real issue is that for years he’s been getting away with these kinds of slanders and libels.

The blogosphere exists to (among many other things, of course) finally allow the truth to come out, ripping open the comfortable cocoons of media polemicists of all stripes. That most of the ire is aimed at so-called progressives is not because the blogosphere has it in for people of that political persuasion per se, but rather because, given the monoculture of the MSM, there are largely only one species of fish in the barrel. As Jim Geraghty says, it’s not ultimately about right and left. It’s about right and wrong.

Boycott

I don’t link CNN that much anyway, but I’m totally on board with this. What few links I give CNN will henceforth be zero until the Eason Jordan matter is resolved satisfactorily. At this point, to me that means getting his walking papers, unless the transcript truly shows a massive misunderstanding.

Of course, I think that he should have been canned after admitting that he covered up Saddam’s crimes in return for access. After the Dan Rather whitewash, I’ve reached a point of zero tolerance for this kind of crap.

Faux Pas

Hugh Hewitt has an interview with someone who was present at Eason Jordan’s accidental unveiling of his anti-military, anti-US views.

The Arab journalists and WEF members who were in the audience
and congratulated Mr. Jordan for his bravery and courage for standing up to the U.S. heard what we all heard, and it was pretty damning.

Someone should search the Arab language press (web and print) for their reaction to what was said. If the WEF 2005 videotape of this meeting is ever released for public view, it will not help Mr. Jordan at all. He is much better off if the tape (in classic “1984” style) just disappears. I can only imagine the reaction of a U.S. audience to a broadcast of what he said prior to being challenged, prior to his backtracking, and prior to having time to realize the implications of what he said.

To be fair, we are all only humans and in the heat of the moment many people say all sorts of things that they later regret. The contrast of what he was saying before and after he realized what he was saying was pretty incredible. His media savvy, professional executive brain did kick in, but not soon enough. The content and context of what he said would allow groups with an anti-American bias to take what he said and believe that the American military forces had
targeted for assasination journalists. For someone with a pro-U.S. posture, you were left confused and in disbelief.

There’s an old joke about a faux pas being the accidental blurting out of the truth. There’s an alternate version, which is the accidental disclosure of what one believes to be the truth, even if it’s a fantasy. No doubt Mr. Jordan actually believes this, or at least doesn’t disbelieve it enough to be uncomfortable with saying it in front of what he perceives to be friendly audiences.

How much longer will most of the media continue to ignore it? I’m particularly surprised that Fox, or even more so–the more-desperate MSNBC aren’t playing up the head of their rival network’s slanderous comments to the hilt, exposing CNN for the anti-Bush shills that they are. And yes, I do think that that’s the true animus behind this. It’s about Bush hatred. The reputation of the American military that has liberated and democratized fifty million people in the past two years is just (perhaps, perhaps not) regrettable collateral damage in the noble crusade against Chimpy McFlightsuit.

We Need An Independent Commission

…to investigate the “results” of the “Independent Commission” that investigated Rathergate. It looks like Thornburgh and Boccardi may have set themselves up for a libel suit.

This won’t go away until CBS and its defenders decide to let it all hang out, and display a little honesty. At a minimum, they have to stop making a laughing stock of themselves and admit that that the documents are fake beyond a reasonable doubt. That, plus a very public apology to Matley, might at least make this legal problem go away.

Pot, Kettle, Obsidian

When I telephoned a man named Ali Fadhil in Baghdad last week, I wondered who might answer. A C.I.A. operative? An American posing as an Iraqi? Someone paid by the Defense Department to support the war? Or simply an Iraqi with some mixed feelings about the American presence in Iraq? Until he picked up the phone, he was just a ghost on the Internet.

Well, isn’t that precious?

Can anyone play this game?

Let’s see…

When I considered telephoning a woman named Sarah Boxer in New York, I wondered who might answer. An Al Qaeda operative? A Saudi in a burkha posing as an American? Someone paid by the Iranian or Syrian defense agency to oppose the war? Or simply an American with some mixed feelings about the American presence in Iraq, and determined to see it, and America, fail? Until she picked up the phone, she was just a ghost on the NYT internet website…

I’m just sayin’…

[Update on Wednesday morning]

N. Z. Bear has picked up the ball and run it all the way into the end zone.

[Another update at 10:30 AM, eastern]

My, oh my. A commenter has tracked down the perp, and found out that she’s a book author.

Sarah Boxer

Death Of The Dinosaurs

The species Pompositasaurus Rex, anyway. Les Moonves may be admitting that Roger Simon was right.

Moonves, who will ultimately select Rather’s replacement, said he believes many young viewers are turned off by a single “voice of God” anchor in the Internet age.

He spoke publicly about his search for the first time since Rather announced in late November that he was stepping down from the “CBS Evening News.” Moonves stressed that he’s still considering all possibilities. It’s unclear whether a new format would be ready for when Rather leaves in early March, or whether an interim successor would be named.

“Those days are over when you have that guy sitting behind the desk who everyone believes to the `nth’ degree,” Moonves told reporters. “It’s sort of an antiquated way of news telling and maybe there’s a new way of doing it.”

And if he is, to stretch the analogy, they were wiped out by an asteroid called the Internet and the blogosphere, that they never saw coming.

“Myopic Zeal”

They had “myopic zeal,” all right. Myopic zeal to see John Kerry elected.

If it was only myopic zeal for a story, there were plenty of other much better documented and valid stories about which to be myopically zealous, including Christmas in Cambodia, earning a medal for cutting and running, less-than-honorable discharges…the list goes on. They could have had a scoop on those, since no other MSM organization wanted to pursue them either.

But for some reason their “myopic zeal” was confined to only one candidate, just weeks before the election. To think that there was no political bias here would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.