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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.

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.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference OK You Guys- Quit Picking on Fact Challenged Reporters:

» Clancy's View linked with Facts? Who Needs Facts?

» murdoc online linked with Can this possibly be true?

» Smack My Booty linked with Media deserves free reign

» Knowledge Is Power: SondraK.com linked with Digital Brown Shirts Unite!

» Dizzy Girl linked with Back Into the World I've Known...

» Who Tends the Fires linked with "NEWS" that meets Rather basic standards!


Comments (12)

It looks to me like Lame St... (Below threshold)

It looks to me like Lame Stream Media is getting scared that they are actually being held accountable. They have many problems but I don't think their obvious extreme left wing tilt is the biggest issue they have to come to terms with. NO, the real issue they are struggling with is incompetence. Journalists write stories about anything under the sun whether they have any direct knowledge of the subject matter. They fail to understand their limitations. Within the blogosphere issues can be discussed by people with much stronger credentials. Media can't compete. Would you rather have an appellate court ruling explained by a blogger with 15 years experience as a lawyer or a guy who majored in using spell check in J school.

But, Paul, didn't Kerry alr... (Below threshold)

But, Paul, didn't Kerry already give back all his medals (including his PH) when he tossed them over the fence?... or it was ribbons?... or it was some other person's?... It just gets so nuanced...

Bravo, Paul!But Wass... (Below threshold)

Bravo, Paul!
But Wasserman may be right, you know. We are part of a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy dedicated to exposing the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.
We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

W00T! I hope I'm one of tho... (Below threshold)

W00T! I hope I'm one of those geeks you're talking about!!

Could forgerygate be the se... (Below threshold)

Could forgerygate be the sea change event that swings the 4th column back into midstream. Getting them to report 'just facts with no bias'?

Doubtful - I think they will hang on with tooth and nail and risk implosion rather than 'become poisoned' by shifting away from the left and speak to the center (hellooo.... ever heard of a bell curve?).

The big question of the day is, if the MSM is risking implosion to save the Democratic party - what if the onslaught and the demand overrun the MSM's position? Could the Democratic party implode as well? Scary thought.

Sharpie, you qualify, trust... (Below threshold)

Sharpie, you qualify, trust me.

I'm just real freaking annoyed this guy made the argument "They want us to report the news without spinning it, we can't do that!"

Letter to CBS 09/10/04<br /... (Below threshold)

Letter to CBS 09/10/04
I call for CBS to immediately fire Mr. Dan Rather for attempting to once again besmirch the reputation and public image of a sitting POTUS. The shoddy, lazy, sloppy reporting done 2 nights ago were over the top in bias reporting. It is not the function of Dan Rather to get his candidate elected using public airways. It is not the function of CBS to consistently brow beat a POTUS over such elementary school sniping and (now I can say) TRUMPED UP charges.
I am writing a letter to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)to complain about the blantant lies disguised as "breaking" news stories, or as "George W. Bush character revealed". You have only revealed your own characters! You are a commercial entity that is self-promoting and as such, you are still required to meet the basic minimums of advertising. Lies and deception in order to obtain a goal are not just despicable but are illegal.
I am filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission because you are not a 527 but a corporation involved in falsely advertising and airing statements about a candidate for POTUS. Too bad for you that you did not do your sh***y (and sir, I do not use tha word lightly)little escapade last week, when Mr. Bush had NOT FORMALLY BECOME THE CANDIDATE. You are now tettering on the edge of collusion and illegal activity during a presidental campaign that is less than 60 days from the election.
Again, I demand, at the very least, a full apology to the American people and to Mr. George W. Bush, and the immediate retirement (in shame) of Dan Rather.
Cynthea Sabolich
Westlake, OH
It only took me a few minutes to scout out this information and I am not a full fledged reporter, just an old lady.
Credit to Instapundit http://instapundit.com/
After training, Bush kept flying, racking up hundreds of hours in F-102 jets. As he did, he accumulated points toward his National Guard service requirements. At the time, guardsmen were required to accumulate a minimum of 50 points to meet their yearly obligation.
According to records released earlier this year, Bush earned 253 points in his first year, May 1968 to May 1969 (since he joined in May 1968, his service thereafter was measured on a May-to-May basis).
Bush earned 340 points in 1969-1970. He earned 137 points in 1970-1971. And he earned 112 points in 1971-1972. . . .
That brings the story to May 1972 — the time that has been the focus of so many news reports — when Bush “deserted” (according to anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore) or went “AWOL” (according to Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee).
Bush asked for permission to go to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign. His superior officers said OK. Requests like that weren’t unusual, says retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971.
“In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots,” Campenni says. “The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In ’72 or ’73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem.”
So Bush stopped flying. From May 1972 to May 1973, he earned just 56 points — not much, but enough to meet his requirement.
Then, in 1973, as Bush made plans to leave the Guard and go to Harvard Business School, he again started showing up frequently.
In June and July of 1973, he accumulated 56 points, enough to meet the minimum requirement for the 1973-1974 year.
Then, at his request, he was given permission to go.
Credit to Kerry Spot at http://www.nationalreview.com/kerry/kerryspot.asp
ONE MORE ARGUMENT [09/09 07:11 PM]
As much as the Kerry Spot has tried to keep up with this, PowerLine has been on top of this story all day long. That site just presented what ought to be the straw that breaks the camel's back:
In the August 18, 1973 memo "discovered" by 60 Minutes, Jerry Killian purportedly writes:
Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job.
But wait! Reader Amar Sarwal [this point later credited to reader Peter Nuss] points out that General Staudt, who thought very highly of Lt. Bush, retired in 1972.

Okay, CBS. The ball's in your court. Explain all this. Make all of this make sense. Don't completely ignore all of this, like you just did on the CBS Evening News.

Well, said. ... (Below threshold)

Well, said.

Headzero, the dolts in the ... (Below threshold)

Headzero, the dolts in the news media won't get it. Look at the Bozos at NBC. They're going to interview Kitty Kelly about Bush for three straight days. One of her claims -- that Bush snorted cocaine -- has been refuted by the very person she uses as a source. The Dems have become unhinged and deranged and that includes the members of the press.

The issue is job security. ... (Below threshold)

The issue is job security. It's become clear over the last year or two that journalism isn't a profession that requires a great deal of specialized training of skill. Most people are capable of creating commentary on current events that rivals the "professionals" for quality and accuracy.

Hey Cynthea, I used to live... (Below threshold)

Hey Cynthea, I used to live in Westlake,OH, just by Crocker and Basset in the little apartment complex next to the McDonalds there...small world...

It seems with Dan Rather the rot has really set in. He is now proclaiming to be correct against the mountain of evidence to the contrary. The question is whether CBS will drop him fast enough, or at least remedy the situation before the he takes them down with him.

To be honest, I don't believe this will go anywhere. For years through Bush's presidency the media have slanted their reporting against him, no matter how much their reports are refuted, they will still appear a week or a month later. It's almost 1984-ish.

Hey PaulGive em' "Ze... (Below threshold)
LLoyd Briggs:

Hey Paul
Give em' "Zell"! way to rant. Right up his "asser-man!"






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