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Mainstream Media Carpetbaggers

The meltdown at CBS over it's "60 Minutes II" story on George Bush's service in the Air National Guard has the main stream media rushing to congratulate itself. The problem is outside the of 2 news organizations (ABC and the Washington Post) that got on the story quickly, and another handful of strong late entries (such as the L.A. Times, the New York Post, the New York Times, and the Dallas Morning News), the rest of the mainstream media didn't do jack.


  1. In Love thy newspaper columnist Debra J. Saunders tells us that because the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News were on the case (after the blogosphere) all newspapers should get credit for taking down Dan Rather. She also manages to disparage blogs in just about every way possible.
    Sorry, but all I did was write a column that piggybacked off the hard work of reporters at the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News, and after watching Fox News and CNN dissect the story. While bloggers uncovered technical holes in the "60 Minutes" story, the reason Rather fell so quickly was that mainstream media nailed this story.
    You won't find any argument from me that a select few journalists showed up for this story once blogs showed them the way, but that damn sure doesn't mean that the San Francisco Chronicle deserves any credit for the story as a member of the mainstream media. Look at the pitiful coverage of the story from her own paper:

    From Wednesday Sept. 8th to Thursday Sept. 16th, a period that encompasses the airing of the original story and the defense segment the following week, the San Francisco Chronicle managed to produce a grand total of ZERO ONE original story on the Rathergate affair. The other articles are wire stories from the Washington Post and New York Times.

  2. Howard Witt in the Chicago Tribune tries to paint conservative blogs as not worthy of respect because you don't know the backgrounds of the authors. Of course he let's other people (mostly editors and scholars) make those accusations. Uh, does anyone know the background of Howard Witt? All we know is that he managed to get a job at the Tribune. He could be an escaped mental patient for all you know - but if his reporting is solid, does it really matter? It's not like his paper was adding to the collective coverage:

    From Wednesday Sept. 8th to Thursday Sep 16th, the Chicago Tribune managed to produce a grand total of ZERO original stories on the Rathergate affair. If you examine the search results you'll see 4 stories run from other sources.

  3. Lastly, today in Newsday Danny Schecter (who is not a Newsday employee) manages to adjust his tinfoil hat and gather a bunch of non-related factoids and paint a deep dark conspiracy:
    The Republican National Committee operates its own 24/7 anti-news network to monitor coverage and orchestrate a rapid response. Salon reports that the story casting doubt on the documents was first pushed into the news stream by Creative Response Concepts, a Republican public relations firm. Then, selected bloggers went to work led by an Atlanta lawyer who helped get President Bill Clinton disbarred and was the first who called the memos fakes. His charges spread like a prairie fire through the rabid conservative grapevine and amen corner. The goal: Focus the media on Rather, not Bush.
    For the record - both campaigns have media monitoring teams; the blogs covering this story are not beholden to either campaign; the public relations firm has since apologized for giving the impression that they had any role in the coverage; and the goal wasn't Rather or Bush - it was THE TRUTH. Obviously forged documents that magically appear weeks before an election that attempt to take rumor and make it the truth have a tendency to evoke the detective spirit in bloggers, regardless of their politics. Those bloggers inclined to believe CBS presented much better evidence of the plausibility of the memos than CBS ever did. Unfortunately for the liberal bloggers CBS's arrogance and dishonesty made them look like fools for arguing CBS's side of the story. At least the liberal and conservative bloggers were trying to move the story forward, unlike Newsday which didn't exactly set the world on fire with it's coverage:

    From Wednesday Sept. 8th to Thursday Sept. 16th, Newsday managed to produce a grand total of 5 original stories on the on the Rathergate affair, better than the previous two examples; but it's worth noting that 4 of those 5 reports are datelined Sept. 15th or Sept. 16th. If you examine the search results you'll see 13 stories run from other sources.


From Wednesday Sept. 8th to Thursday Sept. 16th Wizbang (alone) managed to produce 20+ stories on the Rathergate affair. I could name 10 20 other blogs that would have similar stats.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Mainstream Media Carpetbaggers:

» Rathergate.com linked with Thursday Editorial/Op-Ed Roundup

» The American Mind linked with Missing the Forest and the Trees

» Interested-Participant linked with Elite Media Claim Credit For Rathergate

» Lead and Gold linked with MSM Aims at Bloggers; Hit Own Foot

Comments (13)

Doesn't surprise me at all.... (Below threshold)

Doesn't surprise me at all. The MSM has to regain credibility. The easiest way to do that is to repeat the story that it was the MSM who brought down CBS.

"You've done your good deed, now let the professionals handle things from here."

The next phase will be stories about the seamy underbelly of blogging, like "boobiethons" and rampant images of beheaded hostages, etc., etc. And how blogging ruins marriages and causes pustulent boils.

Not only does CBS have egg ... (Below threshold)

Not only does CBS have egg on its face, so does the entire MSM. This is an almost irrefutable assertion: had bloggers not been incredulous about the documents, the mainstream media would never have questioned them even once. On this story, bloggers are doing better work than the journalists, for no money. The blogosphere is a potential threat not only to the press' power structure, it's a threat to their jobs security. So of course they have to discredit it.

Kevin, I'm going to have to... (Below threshold)

Kevin, I'm going to have to defend my hometown paper the Dallas Morning News. They were a bit late in the reporting of this issue, however they have done numerous articles upon the National Guard story as well as on Bill Burkett in the past. In fact, they had already talked to Killian's secretary because they knew from a source that there was going to be some sort of controversey involving Killian back in July.

Yes, they could have done more, but put the blame on USA Today who had the same documents, reported the same story, bashes CBS but has yet to recant their own stories based on fraudulent documents.

I know Deb Saunders very we... (Below threshold)
Ramon McLeod:

I know Deb Saunders very well, as I worked for nearly 13 years at the SF Chronicle as a reporter and editor (1987-2000)

Deb is a conservative columnist, and believe me, that's a very, very tough thing to be at that newspaper. I respect her greatly.

But this story is silly, the Chronicle did a miserable job covering Rathergate.

The only explanation I can think of is that there is widespread fear in the news business these days about bloggers.

The reason? It is absolutely impossible for any newsroom, I don't care good the people are, to compete with millions of factcheckers. It can't be done and journalists know it.

But it's an irrational fear. Bloggers simply do not have the resources nor the inclination to get much in the way of original material. They DEPEND on the news media to get the stories for them to comment upon and to fact check.

What you've got here is a symbiotic relationship, and it's a good thing, a very good thing. The MSM has needed a reality check, which bloggers provide, for decades.

But this relationship is new. No one really knows how it's going to sort itself out. One thing is for certain, it IS a new world for the MSM, and being forced to tread more carefully and report more fairly and accurately is healthy.

The MSM isn't going to go away, internal paranoia notwithstanding. We need it.

But all that said, let's please give credit where it is due. It WAS the bloggers who broke this story wide open. NONE of the newspapers Deb mentions would have done a damn thing without the pajamahedeen.

Go bloggers! But remember: we're ALL being factchecked these days...!

- Ramon .... Its a new thi... (Below threshold)

- Ramon .... Its a new thing to most journalists...they havn't quite gotten their hands and minds around the blogosphere concept yet and recognized it for what it is.... a new source of fact checking and cross checking unlike anything that has gone before....They'er reactions are normal...In fact in the early days of this whole mess the MSM frooze....Then with cable reacting a few stories, really poking it with a stick, started to emerge...About day seven it started gathering momentum when they smelled blood in the water and noticed how rediculously defensive Rather was acting....thats when they jumped in with both feet....

To be contrarian, Debra J. ... (Below threshold)
Remy Logan:

To be contrarian, Debra J. Saunders comment:

"While bloggers uncovered technical holes in the "60 Minutes" story, the reason Rather fell so quickly was that mainstream media nailed this story."

is absolutely correct. Blogs don't have the direct political power or leverage that the MSM does.

But, her statement also damns all MSM and shows that today's media is unwilling to do even basic investigative journalism, unless shamed into it.

If she is going to assert that all newspapers deserve credit for the actions of the Post and Dallas Morning News, then she must also accept the fact that the original actions of USAToday also give all newspapers a black eye. USAT also ran with the "Bush disopeyed an order" story without doing any even cursory fact checking or document authentication.

This whole Rathergate/Danron affair has shown that the MSM will do whatever it can to bring down Bush and the Republicans. Blogs have filled the gaping hole that the MSM created when they stopped doing their job. If it wasn't for blogs, Rather and CBS would have gotten away with their perfidy.

Yes blogs need the media in order to affect change. Bloggers have always acknowledged that. It is time for the media to ackowledge that they need bloggers in order to them honest. I think that in a few years a significant number of Americans will trust blogs more than they trust their local newspaper or TV news broadcast.

The CBS fiasco highlights f... (Below threshold)

The CBS fiasco highlights for moderates and independents what conservative always knew: the MSM is in the tank for the Democrats. When I was a cop in NYC and dealt with reporters, most of them acted like campus radicals. Also, they are the most pompous bunch of dolts I've ever known. The well-known attorney Vincent Bugliosi once said of the news media: [They are] a group who can be counted on to use a minimal amount of intelligence.

They are still talking abou... (Below threshold)

They are still talking about CBS and these documents and people actually believe the charges even if the papers were not authentic. I just wish they'd shut up about it already!

I'm extremely appreciative ... (Below threshold)

I'm extremely appreciative of the blogs for their hard work and unwavering efforts. I will have to interject that Fox News has been on MemoGate ever since the blogs opened it wide.

Excellent comments here so ... (Below threshold)

Excellent comments here so I won't even attempt to compound or repeat the already well stated points made here, so I'll make another one, however modest but not at all unsignificant in the "source" considerations:

Many individuals with "excellent backgrounds" as per various employers continue on to do horrible things. And, I've met illustrously employed persons equally responsible already in their pasts for horrible things, often repeated in their presents (and probably carried forward to their futures), who maintain adequate dodges and covers to remain reported as having adequate, even "excellent" "backgrounds," so, that one retort there by a "journalist" about backgrounds as being unknown among bloggers -- that's just another one of those dodges to avoid self examination by the 'journalist' him/herself.

As in, it's one of those condescendingly distancing comments made when someone anticipates a peer approval for slamming the door in the face of the unaccpetable in the hallway. In this particular case, I think that the peer approval issue is the question.

firstbrokenangel...<p... (Below threshold)


There's the very important also issue here (why the documents should continue to be discussed, through to a conclusion, as in, who typed them at what keyboard and when and gave them to who else and when and how, and who else was a part of any of the content creation and authoring and when it first began), because, just yesterday I read that the Kerry campaign was making mention of the very same statements found in the documents on the Kerry campaign official website as early (so far established) as April.

Exact mirror word statements, on the Kerry website last April that later appeared in the "documents" that CBS continues to say they don't know the source of but that they're "real" as per Rather but can't be proven as per Rather so no apology as per Rather but...oh, yeah, Kerry campaign doesn't know anything about them, all that...

It's an impossibility that the verbatim statements that appeared in the documents just a month or so ago were published on a website in April...word...for...word...on...the...Kerry...Presidential...website...as per the article I read (NewsMax, yesterday).

I don't know which is accurate, or if any of it is, but like millions of other people, these are very significant issues and need to be, again, discovered through to a conclusion. Personally -- unfounded voter opinion here -- I think that the DNC/Kerry campaign was intrinsically involved and that CBS went along voluntarily, and that the content was created a while ago and then worked through by CBS toward a point of sprung-into-biting-time.

So, it's truly a criminal process at work. Whether it can ever be pinned on those responsible is beyond me but I really do believe it represents a concerted, intended and quite purposeful plan to harm the Presidency, in this case, Bush in Office. Gotta' prove it, that's the next process, at least one underway (I hope).

The arrogance of the MSM is... (Below threshold)

The arrogance of the MSM is truly astounding. Take a look at the cover of Time Magazine on Rathergate. The cover has the title:

Who owns the Truth?

What do they mean by that? No one owns the Truth. If "Truth", the noun, is a collection of facts, then in a world where information is widely available, no one owns it. I suppose that Time would like to return to the good old days when the MSM had the original sources and acted as gatekeepers by giving us some subset of the facts they held. Memo to Time: those days are gone. I don't need your Reader's Digest view of events, seen through your liberal glasses, after it's rattled around in the vast empty space of you collective conscience.

Consider Walter Cronkrite's catch phrase: "And that's the way it is."
What arrogance.

The liberally baised MSM wi... (Below threshold)

The liberally baised MSM will never help take down Rather--or CBS. Sure, they'll trot out a few stories condemning the actions of CBS and 60 Mins (or should I say "in-actions") and slap Danny boy on the wrist. However, these MSM elitists cannot afford to take down one of their "own". Like pompous Kings during the middle ages, they'll never kill another "King" in fear that someday it may be their necks on the chopping blocks.

Investigating CBS seriously may open a door to the investigation of the MSM itself and there is no way in hell the MSM wants that. They want us Joe Citizens out there like little baby birds, blindly pecking at the "red spot" on Momma's neck to get news...

(see? reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull in the 4th grade came in handy after all!!)






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