INFO WAR Heats Up
Sarah Palin vs. John Edwards Coverage
MSM "News" Coverage a Scandalous Joke
MSM Stockholders Laugh While Selling
Did you hear the one about the Mainstream Media's biased news coverage?
You didn't? Then you must be one of the few remaining customers of the MSM.
Everyone else has heard the joke and taken action: either they've turned to other news sources; or, if holding stock in MSM companies, they've used a bullhorn to tell their brokers to "Sell!"
2008 will go down in journalistic history as a year in which the bias in Big Media's handling of "news" became a story in itself.
First, there was the nine-month "don't ask, don't tell" policy that the MSM pursued in the handling of the John Edwards' scandal/affair/cover-up. With the exception of ABC News, they're still resolutely non-covering the story and its cover-up aftermath.
The Mainstream Media did not cover the Edwards story--a presidential, vice-presidential and cabinet candidate--until John Edwards himself gave the MSM his blessing on August 8 by 'confessing' on ABC's Nightline.
Most of the subsequent Edwards 'coverage' fell into the following categories:
1- Articles about why the MSM didn't tell its customers about the story before Edwards' Nightline appearance.
2- Background pieces--many stolen from the part of the blogosphere that did cover the story--attempting to bring readers/viewers up to speed on the events since last October. Many of these pieces doubled as candidates for inclusion in categories #1, 3 and 4.
3- Pieces about why it's time to "move on". Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, after CBS was on the story for less than three weeks, "We don't have time to fool with this". CBS stockholders have spoken the past four years, and it doesn't look like The Schieffer Standard of Investigative Reporting is doing so hot on Wall Street.
Sept 2004 - Sept 2008
How much confidence do stockholders have in CBS?
From $67.28/share in 2004, down to $16.18/share in 2008.
DATE OPEN CLOSE
03-Sep-04- - - -68.00 67.28
26-Aug-05- - - -69.62 67.54
01-Sep-06- - - -28.75 28.86
07-Sep-07- - - -31.72 30.95
29-Aug-08- - - -16.72 16.18
4- Articles about "we knew but didn't tell you because...". Readers can supply their own reasons, although the MSM pundits tried out various and sundry excuses, such as "ethics", "standards", "it was in the National Enquirer" and so on and on and on.
Three weeks after John Edwards green-lighted the MSM to now let their readers in on his story of an affair, fatherhood and cover-up involving--well, that's still being worked out, just not in the MSM--the "ethics" and "standards" of the Mainstream press were on display when John McCain named Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, as his vice-presidential pick.
The Washington Post's resident media apologist, Howard Kurtz, calls the reaction to the media's Palin feeding frezy, War Against the Press.
If Kurtz wants Washington Post stockholders to join him, good luck. They've also been AWOL since 2004.
June 2008 - June 2008
How much confidence do stockholders have in the Washinton Post Company?
From $965/share in 2004, down to $585/share in 2008.
DATE OPEN CLOSE
11-Jun-04- - - -965.00 955.50
10-Jun-05- - - -828.00 829.60
07-Jul-06- - - -776.00 768.86
08-Jun-07- - - -767.00 765.00
13-Jun-08- - - -599.00 589.95
Sen. John McCain's top campaign strategist accused the news media Tuesday of being "on a mission to destroy" Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by displaying "a level of viciousness and scurrilousness" in pursuing questions about her personal life.
In an extraordinary and emotional interview, Steve Schmidt said his campaign feels "under siege" by wave after wave of news inquiries that have questioned whether Palin is really the mother of a 4-month-old baby, whether her amniotic fluid had been tested and whether she would submit to a DNA test to establish the child's parentage.
Questions the same press--and Kurtz--refused to even talk about for months when they concerned John Edwards. Of course, if Palin had jetted her 4-months-old handicapped son, Trig, around on Fred Baron's jet, put him up in a $4 million mansion and paid him $15,000 a month, maybe Palin wouldn't have had to deal with those questions either.
The fact that unsubstantiated allegations appear on the Internet "is not a license for smearing" Palin, he said. "The campaign has been inundated by hundreds and hundreds of calls from some of the most respected reporters and news organizations. Many reporters have called the campaign and have apologized for asking the questions and said, 'Our editors are making us do this, and I am ashamed.' "
"The most respected reporters" is an unintended oxymoron.
Three times as many Americans believe in UFOs (56%) than trust the mainstream press (19%).
Nobody's accused The DailyKOS of being in the Mainstream--media or otherwise--but the "new center of the Democrat Party" started the ball rolling by doing what it does best: letting "anonymous" members of its "reality-based community" post pieces on the site and then running from them when the kitchen gets too hot.
The intensity of media inquiries hit a new level after an anonymous blogger on the liberal Web site Daily Kos last weekend charged that McCain's running mate is actually the grandmother of Trig Palin, the 4-month-old baby born with Down syndrome, and that the real mother is her daughter, 17-year-old Bristol Palin. That led to mainstream media inquiries, which prompted the McCain camp to disclose in a statement Monday that Bristol is five months pregnant and plans to have the baby and marry the teenage father.
Only this time, KOS isn't running from the deed.
"The site's founder, Markos Moulitsas, said he did not know the contributor's identity but thought that the admittedly "weird" pregnancy questions were a legitimate line of inquiry that he should not suppress."
What a difference a month makes for Comrade Markos. Last month, Lee Stranahan posted a series of DailyKOS pieces on Edwards and promptly got booted from the site for his "line of inquiry". [John Edwards Scandal: DailyKOS Bans Stranahan for Writing About Edwards].
How legitimate was Stranahan's "line of inquiry"? Edwards' August 8 admission of his "mistake"--he never mentioned the word "affair"--rendered the question rhetorical. Except to Stranahan, who remains banned from the KOS' Progressive Paradise.
Moulitsas, proud progressive that he is, denied knowing who Stranahan was when asked.
I e-mailed Moulitsas to ask about the ban. “I don’t know who Lee Streehan [sic] is," he replied, "but my community decided they didn’t like him, and they’re usually right about such things.” (On his blog, however, Stranahan points out that Moulitsas called one of his videos "the best parody video of 2007.")
Pencil in DailyKOS as one more place you don't get news--even if one of their "community" writes about it. Outside of right bloggers mining the rich vein of KOS Diaries for nutroots' quotes, who to the right of Raoul Castro reads DailyKOS anyway?
However, don't tell the New York Times that. The NY Times has a dream: to become the national, print version of the DailyKOS.
"All the News Fit for the Nutroots"
The plan is succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of whatever financial Einstein dreamed up that strategy. As we reported earlier, the "NY Times is now the fourth-largest newspaper in New York City". [NY Times Dishes Palin Dirt; Loses 30,000 More Subscribers]
The NY Times, however, is losing more readers than it can replace--and don't think stockholders have taken notice.
Kurtz lumps in members of the MSM with "bloggers" when convenient. As in, "Last year, the New Republic retracted a soldier's dispatch on petty wartime cruelty in Iraq, and National Review Online acknowledged that two blog postings by a former Marine about military movements in Lebanon were misleading."
The New Republic is part of the blogosphere? Better clue them in, Howie--they might quote you. Again, the New Republic didn't retract anything until called on its fictions by the blogosphere and The Weekly Standard.
Kurtz did get one thing right: the MSM are gatekeepers no longer.
Major newspapers, magazines and networks no longer play their traditional gatekeeper role in the digital age, as was evident during the eight-month period when the National Enquirer was charging former senator John Edwards with fathering an out-of-wedlock baby. Most [all] national news outlets did not report the allegations until last month, when Edwards acknowledged an affair with a former campaign aide but denied being her child's father.
Kurtz sees it all as just politics: "Denouncing the news media as biased also plays well with many Republican voters."
The LA Times concurs: ""Delegates to the Republican National Convention whirled in their seats en masse and called out from the floor: 'Tell the truth! Tell the truth!' The chants and finger-wagging were directed toward the sky boxes. Their target: the television networks and the rest of the 'liberal mainstream media.'"
Perhaps it's because Republicans have been the traditional whipping boy of Big Media? But Hillary Clinton became the MSM whipping girl during the Democrat primaries and her supporters still haven't forgotten their candidate's treatment from a "fair and balanced" press.
National Review notices.
"The New York Times's webpage on Tuesday led with no fewer than three stories about Bristol Palin's pregnancy. CNN has tried to exploit Miss Palin as a laboratory specimen for a high-profile examination of sex-education. MSNBC and the Huffington Post are titillating viewers with exposes on Miss Palin's boyfriend. Slate, owned by the Washington Post, is running a 'Name Bristol Palin's Baby' contest. US Weekly has 'Babies, Lies, and Scandal' on its cover.
Howard Kurtz calls it "The War Against the Press". We call it the "Info Wars" and they've been fought for the last ten years on the digital front of the Internet.
Big Media thinks the problem is the messenger, not their message. The MSM has its own Internet blogs, in a an attempt to fight back and stem declining circulation, viewership, ad revenues and stock prices.
But few are fooled by the MSM blogs. As Victor at GameSpot Forums says:
"You can dress a Turd in a Tuxedo, But at the end of the day, it's still a Turd."