Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Media: Rather Biased

The RatherGate scandal surrounding CBS's forged memos killed the liberal media last week; today's the wake. It's an Irish wake, where everyone--except the corpse --is partying up a storm. Credit blogs (especially Powerline and LGF)--who "took the lead role"--in rubbishing the memos. Credit ABC news and the Washington Post for actually investigating and raising doubts, and recently for revealing CBS disregarded warnings of two experts hired by the network itself! Credit House Republicans who, as I predicted, are demanding a Congressional investigation. Jonah Goldberg best captures the mood: "Is it possible to die of Schadenfruede?"

So, who's the corpse? It's a multiple wake, with four dead: Two men and two media giants.
  1. "Gunga" Dan Rather: He doubled his bet by repeatedly defending the memos, then gives his idiot impression when interviewed in today's New York Observer, according to NRO's Jim Geraghty:
    [H]e gives this interview and claims the experts are divided 50-50. That just isn't the case. There just aren't any serious experts who think this thing is real anymore. Marcel Matley says he didn't verify them. ABC exposed the two others whose warnings CBS ignored.

    And Rather obliviously insists there is a "stalemate" between . . every major forensic document examiner quoted on the record by every media source, and . . . dismisses other networks' investigations as mere "competitive response."

    He suggests that ABC, the Washington Post, NBC, etc. are pawns of "powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents."

    Then, the more specific the critiques of the documents get, the more he assets blind faith. Other reports verified facts, like Bush's address during the time period, are dismissed as "allegations."

    At this point, it does not seem too harsh to question how much of a grip Dan Rather has on reality.
  2. The New York Times: The "old grey lady's" plainly is trying to support Dan. But today's headline concedes bias: "Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate." Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor of National Review Online, reacted "This NYT headline cannot be real. This is self-destruction before our eyes." But the Times clearly believes a "fake" is "accurate" if it hurts Republicans--or, as Instapundit says, "It's okay to plant evidence, if you really think the suspect is guilty." Opinion Journal's James Taranto calls this confession of bias "the greatest headline ever." NRO's Stanley Kurtz says American media deliberately shifted its objective from "objectivity" to "liberalism." Taranto unearths a Herblock cartoon providing startling proof of the transformation in just 50 years, when the press scorned forged letters:

  3. CBS: The network officially "doubled down" minutes ago, via Andrew Heyward, President of CBS News:
    We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing.
    Note CBS defends the memos are "accurate," not "authentic." Powerline provides a translation:
    CBS has played its cards; it holds none. CBS now undertakes efforts to discover evidence bolstering a story that has blown up in its face. Its efforts should be redirected to facing reality and acknowledging culpability. It is now at the least complicit in a fraud of monumental proportions.
    But CBS adopted the NY Times defense in a just-aired interview with the Texas Guard secretary, Marian Carr Knox, now 86, who supports the NY Times position:
    She too believes the memos are fake --but-- accurately reflect Klllian's view of Lt. Bush. "I know that I didn't type them however, the information in those is correct."
    Yet, according to the Houston Chronicle, Ms. Knox is a longtime Democratic primary voter and acknowledged "she is not a Bush political supporter." And, she's changed her story:
    Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.
    So CBS shifted its defense from document experts it hired to a non-eyewitness with an admitted bias. As Ernest Miller says, this is a transparent attempt to deflect the focus from fraud. According to NRO's Kerry Spot, CBS affiliate stations aren't sold--some of them are switching from CBS news to Fox news!

  4. John Kerry: Between the Swiftboat vets and ineptness, Kerry's campaign is bleeding and battered. And John Edwards has been out of the news so long, I'm checking milk cartons. Even the Kerry-supporting and NY Times owned Boston Globe concedes the "Bush campaign has seized control of . . . the 'frame' of this year's presidential contest." So could RatherGate convert the undecided? Here's one, an Andrew Sullivan reader:
    I was struggling with how to approach this election. . . [T]his unspeakably disgusting behavior by CBS has now made my decision easy. I always thought the clear liberal bias at CBS (and others) was just a natural consequence of the way the liberal journalists dominating MSM see the world rather than a concerted effort to push a liberal agenda (the fish don't feel the water theory, as others have put it), I now see how wrong I was. If CBS is willing to not only shred even the pretense of journalistic ethics, but to actually conspire to commit fraud (as I think the evidence of ignoring experts and standing behind such obvious forgeries shows) in a desperate attempt to throw a presidential election and install their candidate, then I must do everything I can to oppose them. This means becoming an active supporter of President Bush. I would never have imagined that would happen, but all I can say is thanks, CBS, for exposing yourself and clearing things up.
I hope he's not alone. Because I'm enjoying this four-part wake. So, thanks, CBS, for the chuckles, the Schadenfruede and (I hope) the election.


ABC News highlights CBS's failure to disclose the possible motive or bias of its new source: "Rather Does Not Mention Knox is a Democrat." (via Instapundit)

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