Monday, January 03, 2005

Rathergate Revisionism

Kevin at Wizbang notes that the Columbia Journalism Review is Rewriting Rathergate History.

This piece at CJR is spectacularly inept in it's coverage Rathergate affair. The number of cherry picked items, presented as "fact," used out of context or later proved untrue borders on the obscene. The amount of evidence and thoughtful research ignored (for and against authenticity) is likewise telling. While the author states that the practice of journalism by the mainstream media in this case is suspect, he provides little evidence of that assertion. He also completely disregards the fine work done investigating the story by ABC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, etc.

It does make me wonder if we might not see some of this kind of revisionist history in the long-delayed final report from the Thornburgh/Boccardi commission.

However, I did like this little bit of the article that comes near the end:

In November and December the first entry for “Bill Burkett” in Google, the most popular reference tool of the twenty-first century, was on a blog called Fried Man. It classifies Burkett as a member of the “loony left,” based on his Web posts. In these, Burkett says corporations will strip Iraq, obliquely compares Bush to Napoleon and “Adolf,” and calls for the defense of constitutional principles. These supposedly damning rants, alluded to in USA Today, The Washington Post, and elsewhere, are not really any loonier than an essay in Harper’s or a conversation at a Democratic party gathering during the campaign. (Italics added for emphasis.)

Heh. I think that's what's known as "damning with faint praise."

And speaking of that long-delayed final report, Power Line passes along this bit from Broadcasting and Cable that CBS News president Andrew Heyward and his Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett to "repair chilly relations with the Bush administration."

CBS News’ popularity at the White House—never high to begin with—plunged further in the wake of Dan Rather’s discredited 60 Minutes story on George Bush’s National Guard service.

An incentive for making nice is the impending report from the two-member panel investigating CBS's use of now-infamous documents for the 60 Minutes piece.

Heyward was “working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor Rather had a vendetta against the White House,” our source says, “and from here on out would do everything it could to be fair and balanced.” CBS declined to comment.

Actions, not words, Mr. Heyward. (And firing Dan Rather--as opposed to just shuffling him over to 60 Minutes, where he will likely continue his personal vendetta--would be a good start.)

(And can you really call a two-member body a "panel"?)

The Deacon says:
It seems premature for CBS to attempt to convince the White House of its good faith until it issues the report of the two-member panel investigating Rathergate, and until a successor to Rather is in place and holding forth. Indeed, regardless of the contents of the Rathergate report and the nature of Dan's successor, it seems counterproductive to try to persuade the White House that CBS News and Rather never had it in for the Bush administration. Burying the hatchet is one thing. Denying the hatchet's existence is another.


At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, 60 Minutes (liberal dinosaur) will work perfect for Dan Blather. More punishment for us though, not him!


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