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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

MSM: I’m Melting, Melting!

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First, vote in Ruffini’s straw poll.

Then read Fred Barnes’ analysis on why 2008 will be a very tough road for whomever wins the straw and real primary votes.

Barnes’ piece reminds the White House why a Luttig/Jones/McConnell nomination would be a very good thing: Illustrating the gap between the center-right and the hard left now entrenched in the Democratic Senate caucus motivates the center-right to take its politics seriously, and not be sidetracked into the sort of intramural battling that a minority party loves.

The stresses building within the Democrats over the judicial nominations are illustrated by Blue Mass. Group’s big sigh over the inability of the Senate Dems to get a strategy together on Roberts. The Dems have to oppose anyone Bush nominates, and do so with every brick they can throw, or their moonbat base will explode. Given that we are going to get a filibuster and it will have to be broken, send up a nominee the base will immediately understand is worth fighting for.

Read all of the recent entries at National Review’s Media Blog, but concentrate on MSNBC’s Heath Allen’s “fake but necessary” corollary to the Mapes/Rather “fake but true” theory of MSM responsibility. Stephen Sprueill correctly notes that the logic of Allen’s argument is that any exaggeration of facts is acceptable if the exaggeration will bring “help” to people who need it. The Allen argument is a defense of propaganda, and MSNBC apparently approves of the approach.

Certainly Chris Matthews has no trouble with propaganda.

Dan Rather was interviewed by Marvin Kalb a couple of nights back in what can only be described as a Titanic event. Radioblogger has the MP3 and transcript of key excerpts (inexplicably, Radioblogger starts referring to Marvin Kalb as Lawrence Korb at some point in the transcript, so read LK to mean MK –it must have been late) but here’s a money quote from Dan that is filled to the brim with self-congratulation, condescension and incoherence, and yet still manages to provide a standard that condemns Allen/Matthews “journalism”:

Public relations people. PR may not consider themselves as part of the media, but I would. They don’t claim to be journalists, and I don’t consider them to be journalists. So media is an overarching definition, I wouldn’t say all-encompassing, but encompassing a lot of different disciplines and professions and crafts within it. Journalism, I get back to the off-hand definition I gave your before, of what a journalist is, and what journalism is. If you seek to explain, cast news light on, give eyewitness and/or introduce testimony to who, what, when, where, why of events, then that’s journalism. And that’s the practice of journalism. And those who do it are journalists. And I would add to it, if one sees oneself, and insofar as is humanly possible to do so, tries to be an honest broker of information, they’d be filled with their own opinions, but an honest broker of information. It comes down to the core of the practice of journalism has to be integrity. And integrity starts with, you know, some accountability. And again, if you just want a fast way to do it, I’d go back to if the person is a blogger, and wants to be called a journalist, I’d say well, let’s start first of all, is your name, address on it. Do people know how to reach you? Are you accountable for what you do? I would eliminate anybody who doesn’t do that.

Even Rather knows –unlike Allen– that you can’t make things up. And I suspect that even Rather –unlike Matthews– would have Sheehan a serious question or two.

Now here’s an exchange between Kalb and Rather on old media and new media which led one caller yesterday to suggest this is how it sounded when T-rex met Triceritops to discuss the asteroid that hit last week:

MK: We’re discussing differences between, in a way, old media and new media. And we’re very much old media.

DR: You are, Marvin. I’m out there on the cutting edge of new media, as you well know.

MK: I mean, every now and then, it even looks as if the new media’s at war with the old media. I want to go back to the National Guard story of last year. It was the blogger, the internet blogger, who instantly went after you and CBS, with an effect that was very damaging all the way around, and played an impact indeed on the presidential campaign. I’ve always been astonished that even before the program ended, it was still on. A blog site called, run by an active Air Force officer, blasted the program. Four hours later, another website called Buckhead, ran a detailed critique of the documents that you used in the report. And I’ve always wondered to myself, that’s an amazingly swift bit of research. You watch something on air, four hours later you are prepared to run pages and pages of detailed criticism of the documents. How does somebody do that that quickly? Now, the L.A. Times identified Buckhead as a Republican lawyer in Atlanta named Harry McDougall. I don’t know if that’s true. But that’s what the L.A. Times says. What happened then is that dozens of other bloggers joined in. Then the mainstream media joined in. And then, everything shifted, and the focus was on you. The focus was not on the substance of your story. The National Guard aspect of the whole thing sort of dropped to the side, and this media focus was on you.

DR: Well, I don’t find that unusual, that the media focus should come down to the on-air reporter. But there’s so much in that question, Marvin, and I don’t want to bog us down. I want to be directly responsive to it. But before I go to that, I need to return to something before I forget it, and before the trail goes cold, on your saying well, why is it that every poll shows that reporters are not held in the kind of esteem that we once were. I think by and large, that we are responsible for that. And I do not exclude myself from that criticism. There are a lot of other factors going into Spiro Agnew’s speeches, politicians, and all the other thing. But I’m a great believer in the ten magic words, which are if it is to be, it is up to me. And that…you have to have personal responsibility. Then, besides that, you have to have professional and craft responsibility. The public, when journalism is at or near its best, when journalism is doing what American journalism has made its reputation doing, when we are true to ourselves, the public responds. And they respond in a positive way. You need look no further than what happened with Katrina the hurricane.

Rather is holding up Katrina coverage as the standard for journalism just as the country is becoming aware that the hysteria induced by MSM also affected MSM’s own coverage.

That’s why we love Dan. We don’t need a fictional Ted Baxter. We have a real, breathing Ted Baxter, and he’s still working for CBS!

Kausfiles comtinues to ridicule the New York Times’ New Coke strategy of charging a high price for columns very few people will pay for. The good news is that this fiasco will certainly discourage other papers from experimenting with pay-for-view news. If you aren’t the Wall Street Journal, it will be difficult to charge for an internet subscription unless (1) it is for the whole paper and (2)there’s a lot of web-only content. This is an obvious rule, but one which the aristocrats couldn’t figure out. Reason: They believe we must read them.

Nobody is irreplaceable. Especially not Dowd and Krugman.


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