Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Black Eye

Babble on.

Go read Huck. Quickly, now! Don't worry, I'll still be here when you get back.

When you're done laughing...Kate at small dead animals has done her typically exceptional job with a serious roundup of the whole affair.

I don't normally watch evening news, because I think current events generally deserve more than a twelve-second soundbite and file footage. Besides, I'm not normally home much before seven o'clock on weekdays. Last night, however, I was, and I happened to catch the last few minutes of Newshour with Jim Lehrer - one of the few shows that doesn't rely on sound-bites and file footage to fill their hour.

What caught my attention was an interview with two of the members of the Rathergate investigation panel, and with the new CBS Senior VP Standards and Special Projects.

When questioned as to why the report avoided any discussion of what many of us conservatives see as an overt liberal bias in the network's news arm, former U.S. Attorney General and panel member Dick Thornburgh said "well, we didn't want to fall into the same trap CBS did: making accusations we couldn't prove" (or words to that effect - I'm going from my admittedly poor memory here). Fair enough.

The new ethics and standards watchdog at CBS, 38-year veteran Linda Mason, was contrite. She didn't hedge when asked about the mistakes made in pushing the fake story. She fessed up on behalf of the organization, and promised to do better. Also fair enough.

But will the CBS News culture root out their obvious liberal bias and fundementally change the way they report the news? I'm not holding my breath.

Babble off.

4 Comments:

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Nice post B. I look forward to your comments on Amstrong Williams.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Ugly, Greg. And what the hell was the Department of Education doing paying a columnist for good press?

Two big differences I see here, though: first, I had to Google Williams' name to figure out what you were talking about, whereas Rather is (or was) an icon of Western journalism; second, Williams will never really work in this field again, whereas Rather will still be seen on 60 Minutes every week, probably until they nail his coffin shut.

I guess there's one more big difference: Williams sacrificed his integrity for money, but Danny-boy did it out of passion. You tell me which one's worse, 'cause I say pick a coin and flip it.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Greg said...

The interesting thing to me is that Williams is hinting that bigger fish are also on the payroll. You are right though, Rather got off easy.

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Mike H said...

Although Thornburgh and Boccardi claim they found no proof the Bush document scandal was motivated by political bias at CBS, there certainly seems to be ample circumstantial evidence of this being the case. The Powerline guys (in the link provided by Kate) pull several passages from the report that point to such bias, particularly on the part of Mary Mapes.

The Swift Boat Vets' attack on Kerry very much mirrored the Democrat and mainstream media campaign to discredit Bush's National Guard service. The CBS response to the Swift Boat Vets allegations was consistent with most of the pro-Kerry media; ignore the allegations until forced to report them, then work to undermine and refute what the Swifties were saying about Kerry's service. In effect, CBS (particularly Rather and correspondent Byron Pitts) actively campaigned to discredit the claims of the 254 members of the SBVT, yet the same news organization was completely willing to believe the word of one man (Burkett) peddling forged documents when the target was now Bush.

If that isn't political bias at work, I don't know what is.

By the way, it isn't just Rather who is still stubbornly defending CBS and the memogate story. Mapes was defiantly unapologetic in her public comments after the release of the report, and went so far as to infer that the documents were still possibly genuine. At least Les Moonves was completely contrite when interviewed yesterday.

 

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