"It was amazing Thursday to watch the documents story go from FreeRepublic.com, a bastion of right-wing lunacy, to Drudge to the mainstream media in less than 12 hours. That's not to say the documents didn't deserve examination. But apparently the entire thing was cooked up by a couple of amateurs on Free Republic. The speed with which it moved was breathtaking."
--Jim Jordan, a strategist for independent Democratic groups opposed to Bush
When we speak of the right wing "conspiracy", we can clearly see it's no conspiracy at all. As a matter of fact, mainstream media plays directly into the steamroller we tend to mislabel as the "right wing conspiracy".
Last week when the CBS forgery story was sprung, I visited one of my favorite blogs called The Moderate Voice, which is written by veteran journalist Joe Gandelman. (Joe also writes for Dean's World).
"THE populist revolution against the so-called mainstream media continues. Yesterday, the citizen journalists who produce blogs on the Internet — and their engaged readers — engaged in the wholesale exposure of what appears to be a presidential-year dirty trick against George W. Bush."
My thoughts at the time were:
I think he's mainly talking about the infamous squeaky wheel known as Matt Drudge (who gets his "tips" from God-knows where, but it's surely steeped in rightwing poop).
While I do not begrudge Drudge (bad pun intended), I think the marvelous "populist revolution" of which Podhoretz speaks is not worth much more than the gossip-mill that spits it out. Drudge is the new Paul Revere, except he runs through the wires screaming "The lefties are coming! The lefties are coming!"
The thing that is most troubling is the emphasis and weight placed on Drudge's gossip-train by our mainstream media.
How low have we sunk in American journalism? Have our journalists become as incurious as Bush himself?
This chain-of-events is all too familiar. The left dares to speak out against King George. Suddenly, a major story pops up on the Drudge report and it's suddenly scandal!
Key word: "suddenly".
Mainstream media, in their race to keep up with the gossip train, falls incredibly short of fairness, balance, and truth. For instance, ask yourself why this forgery story is on the front pages instead of the real issues facing America at this moment? Perhaps it's a story as old as time. Sensationalism sells. Sensationalism isn't going to unite America, though. Nor will it create an opportunity for Americans to make serious choices. The only "revolution" I see is the right getting one step closer to making America a nation ruled by one party. Ben Franklin would spin in his grave like chicken rotisserie if he could hear Podhoretz ramble on.
My point? Until the mainstream media learns it cannot compete with gossip generated by bloggers, they will be considered just another arm of the right wing.
The mainstream media cheapens America. Journalists and editors all over America serve to dumb down the public by allowing the right wing mouth-machine to hijack the great American discussion.
David Broder recently wrote about the fact that neither Bush nor Kerry are presenting a vision of the future in this presidential campaign of distortion. It has been nearly impossible for John Kerry to talk about America's future when the Bush campaign, the right wing mouth-machine, and the mainstream media facilitate a tornado of diversion.
Outside of narrow talking points, I have not seen the mainstream television media give voice to Kerry or Edwards' bigger ideas. It's as if the executives of mainstream media are intentionally and heavy-handedly keeping those ideas from reaching Americans.
The devil is in the details, in this particular case- a "th" on a typewriter. How easily Americans are being distracted from the most serious issues they've ever faced by the media's hyperfocus on Dan Rather.
Newsmax, a right wing media haven, is saying today in their headlines that the CBS flap will be the factor that causes Kerry to lose the November election.
If an election is lost upon the predication that there's a dubious chance that a document may be fake as opposed to a President's lies being responsible for sending over 1000 troops to unnecessary death, then God help America.
I am happy to say that I am a blogger who speaks to the bigger picture and the realistic issues, and I always will. If visionary bloggers never get a second glance from the LA Times or the NY Post, it's their loss. Suffering from a cultural attention-deficit-disorder as we do, believe it's also America's loss.
To date, Syracuse.com has been the only mainstream media outlet who has appreciated some of my thoughts. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to get my message out.
If anyone is asking "Where is the 'Drudge' of moderate-to-left America?", my answer is the same as yours. The mainstream media loves Drudge. They've loved him since the Clinton scandal.
Unlike Bush, Kerry can't delegate his aggression to Cheney, Fox News, and a yapping band of attack poodles; the Democratic party doesn't have that same threshing infrastructure. He has to go it almost alone and run the risk of being too forceful and coming across as "unlikeable" in the eyes of gardening clubs like The Capital Gang. Pundits prefer their Democrats soft and emasculated, it makes them so much easier to fillet.
I know there are serious and intelligent voices out there. So does the mainstream media. It's obvious that they don't care. They've been Drudged-down and they're taking American trust down the toilet of mainstream journalism along with them.
I thank the LA Times and Peter Wallsten for this story. I think they've done a good job of telling it like it is. They remain one of my favorites for their fine writing and editorial staff.
After the terror in Beslan, the Kremlin reached for harsh levers, refusing to negotiate its way out of the Chechen war for fear it would look weak and embolden other separatist movements in Russia.
George W. Bush would never have negotiated with terror. Why should Vladimir?
So 100,000 more Chechens were slaughtered and 100,000 more terrorists were born. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The moral of the story: No one wins when you rage, with hatred and bloodthirst, against a tactic.