Monday, January 10, 2005

What Liberal Media

The funny (and of course overlooked by the cranial-rectal inversion crowd) thing about the CBS/document story is that contrary to the screeching about it, the entire saga is proof that there is no goddamn liberal media.

Jayson Blair was fired in noisy disgrace for making up mostly harmless stuff, taking down Howell Raines with him. One botched news story at CBS, in which the substances was entirely true but the window dressing was not authenticated, and multiple people lose their jobs, and it becomes the biggest media story of the year. Why do we know or care? Because the right wing cranks demanded the head of the "liberal" Clinton-hating-obsessive Howell Raines because he opposed the Iraq war by putting Judith Miller on the front page. That story garnered blanket wall to wall media coverage, and has established itself as the reference point for "bad media," with the universal liberal media consensus being that it was in part a consequence of affirmative action programs.

Judith Miller - Shitty reporting. Doesn't believe it's her job to try to verify what her sources tell her. Claimed she was "proved fucking right," though about what we're not sure. Times defends her. Lots of people dead.

Jack Kelley was fired rather quietly with not very much publicity from USA Today after it was discovered he manufactured massive piles of horeshit over a period of several years about things which actually did matter. Editors ignored complaints for years, by their own admission in part because they trusted him because he was a devout Christian. One or two day minor story, no one knows who Jack Kelley is, and while it was a much more serious problem, his name, unlike Blair's, is not the standard name invoked as an example of "bad media." Editors did resign in the wake, but for some reason did not become household names and are not regularly mentioned as examples of "bad editors."

Stephen Glass -- made lots of shit up. Coddled, protected, and promoted heavily by conservative editors at the New Republic who never had their reputations tarnished by the situation.

Even more serious stuff:

Jeff Gerth: Original Whitewater story almost entirely wrong, with Gerth clearly lying about parts of it (that is, parts were false in ways which he clearly knew were false). Times defends him and the story to this day.

Lisa Myers -- deliberately alters tapes to convey false story about Mrs. Clinton. Her punishment? Promotion.

Chris Vlasto -- Many sins, including pulling a "Lisa Myers" himself, producing a segment for Nightline with deliberately improperly edited tape. Punishment? Promotion.

Jeff Greenfield -- Nightline correspondent on Vlasto produced segment. Punishment? Cushy job at CNN.

I could go on and on. But, the worst Rather has been accused of by sensible people is letting partisanship cloud his judgment. Accepting that as true just for sake of argument, it's still a far less egregious sin than most of the Whitewater-era horseshit which has never been acknowledged as horseshit by the liberal media, even though unlike the Rather incident, much of that horseshit was clearly deliberately manufactured by the producers and reporters. These events were recycled and echoed throuhgout the entire liberal media, with no one calling foul and no one calling for their heads. Without making any statement about what the appropriate consequences for "Rathergate" should be, it's clear that the media attention by that liberal media and the actual consequences have been much greater than dozens of worse incidents involving clear deliberate deception by people in the media.

Dan Rather - evil biased liberal whose partisanship led him to jump the gun on a story? Believe that if you want, I don't really care. But, "Rathergate" proof of "liberal media?" Just the opposite.