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May 16, 2005

Al-Newsweek: Flying Under a False Flag?

I think the language is a little hot, but PoliPundit is quite unhappy with Newsweek:

On a serious note, the media has gone from being an undeclared enemy to being an actual, overt, and hostile combatant in the global war against terrorism.

That overstates things by quite a bit, I think. I'm pretty firm that liberals ought not to use such language with respect to domestic political rivals; the language of war should be used for actual war, not for scoring rhetorical points.

But...

There is little question that Newsweek went with this story -- dubious sourcing be damned -- because 1, their precious scoop was more important than a prudent regard for human life and American security, and 2, because it reinforced the institutional biases of one of America's shoddiest and most liberal "news" magazines.

They say they want two sources for every fact. That's not quite true. In a perfect world, they want two sources. But one of those "sources" can consist of the "in the gut" feeling of the liberals running our media that the story "feels right."

And if the gut-level political response of our liberal media is that a story is false -- like, for example, that George Bush is not, in fact, retarded, or that we're actually making solid progress in the War on Terror -- they're going to need more than two sources for that assertion, the extra sources needed to counter their political feeling that the story isn't right or isn't "good for America."

And even then they'd prefer to bury it or ignore it entirely, if possible.

And let me be perfectly candid: I don't strongly doubt that perhaps, maybe this happened. I haven't hidden my thoughts on tough interrogations, including actual torture for confirmed terrorists, to pry life-saving (or terrorist-killing) information out of these bastards. I can't with a straight face claim that I cannot believe any CIA or military interrogator would never stoop to desecrating the Koran, if he or she believed that doing so might get a terrorist talking.

The question isn't whether or not this happened, or whether it's plausible it might have happened. Well, that is a question; just not one that particularly interests me.

The question I'm interested in concerns these multiple-layers of fact-checking and painstaking verification I keep hearing so very much about.

If Newsweek can shoot from the lip and run a thinly, anonymously sourced story just because it "feels right" to them-- then why the fuck can't I?

Al-Newsweek's reckless manipulation of the intelligence it received now has a bodycount, and untold consequences for US security.

The liberal media is very big on exposing hypocrisy-- demolishing Bill Bennet's reputation as a moral man, for example, because he went a little batshit crazy when he saw the blinking lights of the slot machines.

It's about time they dug into their own hypocrisy. They hold themselves out as truth-tellers and as professionals with a strong code of journalistic ethics that would never, ever allow them to run a story just because they're on a deadline or just because it will get attention or just because it pleases them to believe its true.

They hold themselves out as such, but they are repeatedly exposed as hypocrites on this issue.

Physicians, heal thyselves. I'm tired of hearing how fucking unprofessional I am when highly-paid reporters and large editorial and fact-checking staffs keep getting this crap wrong.

And always wrong in the same fucking way. I.e., almost always in a manner that hurts Republicans, the military, America, and American foreign policy and national security.

The media is still gnashing its teeth and furrowing its brows that Judith Miller of the New York Times wrote stories, based on the best available intelliegence at the time, that Saddam had much greater stockpiles of WMD's than he now appears to have had. Okay-- there's an example of erroneous reporting that aided Bush and the case for the War on Terror.

And they're all still yammering about it.

How about the dozens of mistakes that have run the other way? Will Mark Whitaker be demonized as Judith Miller was?

Somehow I doubt it. Good intentions mean an awful lot to our liberal media, and "everyone knows" Mark Whitaker was on the side of angels. Oh, his reporting wasn't all that good, but "sensible centrist moderates know" his unverified smear was ultimately "good for America," as it "raises all sorts of questions" that need to be answered.

And so it goes.

Roger L. Simon Thinks There'll Be An Accounting Update: He opines:

[T]here is a strong argument to be made that this is more serious than Rathergate. This is journalism at its most insidious and dangerous. Newsweek may end up having to fire some of its editorial staff, as well as the reporters involved.

I like Mr. Simon a great deal, but his Hollywood bias is showing here. Not a liberal bias, but a romantic bias in his heart that justice will actually be done.

Nope.

The assault on the MSM by the Shadow Media has two contradictory results. The first is that, sometimes, the media is forced to confess its errors and attone, although in a very passive-voice "mistakes were made" sort of way where no one is really to blame, just abstract intangibles like the pressure to print or a faulty "system" for verification.

The second result -- and the one we'll be seeing more of -- is that the more the media is exposed for the shoddy liberal Spirit Squad it is, the less willing it will be to patrol its ranks for incompetents and hacks. Simple self-preservation begins to dictate they they observe the Mafia's omerta code of silence.

They just can't go through another "blue-ribbon internal review panel." They can't. Their credibility is hanging by fewer and fewer threads, and they dare not risk cutting another.

Thanks to National Journal's Blogometer for some of the quotes/reactions cited in this post.



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posted by Ace at 12:55 PM

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