Wednesday, January 12, 2005

They Still Don't Get It

No, they still do not get it and they likely never will, until their ratings are the same a Gilligan's Island reruns. Fortunately the American people do get it! - Sailor

They Still Don't Get It
By Scott Hogenson Commentary
January 12, 2005

The report of the independent review panel examining the CBS News broadcast last September of a hit piece on President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service using bogus documents was designed to lay the entire matter to rest. But the upshot of the inquiry reveals a remarkable thing about the liberal media and their defenders.

They still don't get it. The best indicator of this attitude is in some of the language used in the review panel's report. For example, a search of the report shows that the word 'attack' was used in 29 instances.

There were references to the "attacks by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry; how the phony documents in the CBS News report became, "the lightening rod for attacks"; less than accurate descriptions of "further attacks, mostly by bloggers with a conservative agenda"; how there were "initial attacks on the Killian documents," and so forth.

The "attacking" was clearly left up to conservatives. Interestingly, the review panel's report uses significantly different language in assessing the impact of establishment media reporting on the fiasco; the review panel noted that a story by ABC News was merely a "rebuke" of the faulty reporting.

While the review panel report attributes attack after attack to conservatives, the New York Times and the Washington Post were described as doing nothing more aggressive than having "posed the following question," or "investigating whether 60 Minutes Wednesday had used fake documents."

Nowhere in this 234-page report was any reference to the biggest attack of all - the attack on the character of a sitting president by a national news network using forged documents as the weapon of a hit piece disguised as journalism.

Instead, the people at CBS News responsible for this monstrosity are described as possessing such relatively benign characteristics as "myopic zeal" and being subjected to "competitive pressures, and a zealous belief in the truth of the segment."

Although the report acknowledged errors at CBS News and the disregard of standard operating procedures, the staff is treated more like a teenaged driver accidentally wrecking the family car than professionals who went out of their way to smear a presidential incumbent at the height of a heated campaign.

Another leading indicator of how the liberal establishment media still don't get it appeared in the Jan. 11 edition of the Washington Post. Quoted in an 'analysis' piece by Howard Kurtz and Dana Milbank was Joe Lockhart, a former operative in the Kerry presidential campaign.

Lockhart was quoted accusing critics of the CBS News story as "just being partisan" and went on to say, "we're not certain the president fully fulfilled his National Guard service."

While Lockhart was quoted exercising full throated liberal partisanship in the process of bashing conservative partisans, the Washington Post analysis unbelievably ignored the fact that Lockhart himself was a subject of the investigation for his contact with Mary Mapes, the former CBS News producer fired for her role in the debacle.

Finally, the review panel report concluded that no one involved in this journalistic train wreck had a "political bias" in producing the segment, and CBS President Les Moonves defended his network saying, "Ninety-nine percent of the stories we do are accurate and solid."

If that is indeed the case, how is it that this inaccurate and deeply flawed story manages to wrongly victimize a Republican president while there is nothing to indicate similarly disparaging acts of journalistic malpractice involving liberals?

The final report of the CBS News 'Memogate' controversy only unearths fresh evidence of liberal bias at an institutional level. The review panel abdicated its responsibility regarding this bias and instead manages to once again circle the wagons around a news organization riddled with it.

This response suggests more fear than responsible redress, and that fear is apparently well placed. In 1988, some 58% of Americans found no bias in political reporting. Today, that figure has plummeted to 38%, according to the Pew Research Center.

The establishment media simply do not get it, but a huge number of Americans do, and that has to be frightening for CBS News and others cut from the same cloth.
Scott Hogenson is executive editor of Cybercast News Service.

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