January 12, 2005

Whitewash at Black Rock

Late as I am in blogosphere time, it's inevitable that I comment on the CBS Report.

Although I was mildly suprised that the report was not completely shameless, it's not in anyway comparable to the model of corporate transparency given a few years ago by Johnson & Johnson in the Tylenol controversy. I was not surprised that Mapes and a few others were sacrificed, Heyward spared completely, and Dan Rather given the chance to fade into the woodwork.

The report as a whole appears to be a whitewash:

  • There's no indication who the mysterious Lucy Ramirez is.

  • The report doesn't admit forthrightly what is plain as day: the documents are forgeries.

  • The report denies what its content, especially the Mapes emails, proves -- Bush hatred, not just desire for a scoop, drove the whole enterprise.

  • Andrew Heyward, the head of CBS News, should go down with the ship. It's demeaning for them to protect Heyward's job by sacrificing the women
I'm not shocked by CBS News's bias, just their pomposity in claiming objectivity when their bias is old news.

I sympathize with Mickey Kaus's view, expressed on Hugh's show, that a lot of what the blogosphere chastises as sins, wouldn't be so bad -- if the document were authentic and properly vetted. Journalists do lots of unsavory thigns to get stories. When the story is obviously trumped up and the journalist stonewalls, however, things come unhinged.

Beond any reasonable scope that could be expected of the report, however, is the future of the medium. One hundred years after the introduction of the automobile, they still make buggy whips, although I suspect most of them these days are sold to fetishists.

What Hugh Hewitt calls the Information Reformation will be no kinder to network TV news. The demise of the Old Media is the historic story. It's ongoing. Rathergate is just a symptom. In the short run, the Pajamasphere will enjoy jumping on the bones.

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