OK You Guys- Quit Picking on Fact Challenged Reporters

All you right wing bloggers are just a bunch of big mean bullies who pick on poor little reporters who are too lazy to get their facts straight.

That’s not my opinion. That’s the opinion of one Edward Wasserman who gets real pissy when he gets fact checked.

…It’s hard now even to write for publication without being uncomfortably aware of just how thoroughly what you say is going to be inspected for any trace of undesirable political tilt and denounced by a free-floating cadre of rightist warriors.

If that’s apparent to me as a mere columnist, I can only imagine the current mind-set of supervising editors: If we give prominence to this story of carnage in Iraq, will we be accused of anti-administration bias? And — here it gets interesting — will we therefore owe our readers an offsetting story, perhaps an inspirational tale of Marines teaching young Iraqis how to play softball?

Now, both stories may well be integral to news of Iraq. If so, both should be told. The problem arises when the softball story is nothing but a Pentagon publicist’s brainstorm seized on by right-wing bloggers — and the pressure to tell it comes not from a principled desire to deliver a factual account that is broadly emblematic of significant happenings in Iraq, but from a gutless attempt to buy off a hostile and suspicious fragment of the audience base.

You are right Mr. Wasserman. I’m hostile. Real hostile.

I’m hostile that CBS just perpetrated a massive fraud against the President.

I’m more hostile that your paper also joined the bandwagon devoid of all facts. (and you criticized us!)

I’m hostile that The NY Times is wrong so often I have to apologize for correcting them.

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I’m hostile that 60 minutes has given air time to every guy who ever wrote a book Bashing President Bush, that they have blasted this bogus AWOL story repeatedly but have never run a real story on the claims of the Swift Boat Veterans. (Here’s a hint for ya Ed, Kerry never spent Christmas in Cambodia and if there were any justice he would give back at least one of his purple hearts.)

I’m real freaking hostile Mr. Hasserman, that the Today Show can have Kitty Kelly on for 3 consecutive days to slander the Bush family even though Mrs Kelly’s source for the book denies she said what is in the book.

I real hostile that Ben Barnes who raised almost a quarter million dollars for John Kerry is treated as a credible source by the media but 250 Vietnam Veterans are collectively all discounted as partisan hacks because their group (gasp) got a donation from someone who also donated money to Republicans.

I’m hostile that the AP runs stories saying that Republicans booed when they heard Bill Clinton was having heart surgery when the story was a freaking lie.

Mr. Wasserman, I’m extraordinarily hostile about the fact that all of these examples are just from the last 4-5 days. The list goes on and on.

I’m real hostile that you guys are so lazy and/or biased that we have so much material.

You called me “suspicious.” Can you blame me?

I’m very suspicious that the media has pummeled Bush, who never campaigned on his service record, to release his military records even after he released everything he had. — Yet Kerry, who has run exclusively on his service record, promised back in April to release his but he still had not, and the media gives him a pass. hmmm

I’m suspicious that the New York Times ran 32 consecutive days of front page stories about 7 U.S. soldiers putting panties on prisoners’ heads. Can you honestly tell me that 7 soldiers taking embarrassing photos of Iraqis warranted 32 straight days of front page stories in the “newspaper of record?” The Times only did 45 days of front page stories on September 11th when 3000 people died, mostly in their own city. Things like that, Mr. Wasserman, make me very suspicious indeed.

I’m also pretty hostile you have the nerve to say:

Plus, news is a collaboration. It’s a team effort, and regardless of how strictly the team is run, news reflects the collision of values, perspectives and passions of the people who create and produce it — and their guesses as to what the reality they’re chasing actually consists of.

How many people are in your newsroom Mr. Wasserman? 50, 100, 200???

Today in the blogosphere, a single post garnered well in excess of 300 links. Each person reviewing what others have claimed and offering what they knew. Can you say 300 people in your newsroom looked at your column today Mr. Wasserman? …30? …3?

Have you checked out the Blogosphere Ecosystem Mr. Wasserman? That one page lists the top 100 blogs from left, right and center. The whole list reaches well over 10,000 blogs. Each of those blogs is staffed by people who have jobs outside of journalism. They have real world experience and expertise you could never hope for in your newsroom Mr. Wasserman. We have doctors, lawyers, soldiers, professors of all shapes and sizes, we even have the odd geek or two running around. Do you have that kind of “collaboration” in your newsroom Mr. Wasserman?

I’m also hostile that you said:

Resisting undue outside influence is part of what news professionals do, even when that influence comes from the public they’re honor-bound to serve. It’s hard enough to get the story right, without holding it hostage to an open-ended negotiation with zealots who believe they already know what the story is.

So in your value system, rather than getting your facts correct and avoiding any bias, you value the skill of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing LALALA at the top of your lungs. Telling.

And lastly Mr. Wasserman, I’m extraordinarily hostile that you have the nerve to call us “zealots who believe they already know what the story is” when it is abundantly clear that your line of attack is far more accurate when applied to the mainstream media– yourself included.

Tying Up Loose Ends On Rathergate?
Baghdad Dan

12 Comments

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