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Hullabaloo


Thursday, May 27, 2004

 
Punchin' Judy

USA Today actually names names in this column about the Judith Miller debacle. The thesis of the piece, though, is that when The New York Times runs unskeptical articles on page one, it affects the political process more strongly than if another paper does it. In this case, when they breathlessly reported that Saddam was about to launch a nuclear missile (or close to it) it cowed many Democrats into thinking that the administration might just be right.

I suspect that this is true. And it is another example of liberals internalizing right wing cant. The "liberal" New York Times spent eight years trying to run the Democratic president out of town, both on its news pages and on the editorial pages. They assigned an openly hostile reporter to cover the Gore campaign and sent a fawning acolyte to report on Bush's every manly move. They have been fed all kinds of propaganda and lies by GOP political operatives for years and people knew this early on. Trudy Lieberman wrote an amazing expose in the Columbia Journalism Review of the Whitewater disinformation campaign by David Bossie's Citizens United all the way back in 1994:

Francis Shane, publisher of Citizens United's newsletter, ClintonWatch, hesitates to say exactly whom they've worked with -- "We don't particularly like to pinpoint people" -- but he does say, "We have worked closer with The New York Times than The Washington Times." Jeff Gerth, The New York Times's chief reporter on Whitewater, hesitated to talk on the record. He did say, "If Citizens United has some document that's relevant, I take it. I check it out like anything else."


Uh huh. Sometimes I think the Washington Times exists solely to provide a phony kind of balance so that Democrats will find the the NY Times more credible just by the contrast. Besides, The Times is "liberal," right? Everybody knows that. They wouldn't peddle phony stories about Democrats.

From the USA Today article:


Martin Kaplan, dean of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, says that "for people who are serious and thoughtful, the Times is a gatekeeper of quality in terms of what's credible and believable. When it published those pieces, it sent signals which legitimized our going to war and calmed people's fears that we were rushing. It turns out that the Times was hoodwinked just like the rest of the country."


See? "Serious and thoughtful" people know that The Times is credible and believable. This in spite of the fact that they almost single handedly took down a presidency based upon proven false information provided by political operatives and then proceeded to believe many of the same people when they said that the United States was in mortal danger from Saddam Hussein.

But, they are the liberal New York Times! They can't possibly not have our liberal best interests at heart.

Luckily there are some "realists" left:

... for anyone to suggest that the Times reports led us to war is "absurd," says Stephanopoulos. The former Clinton administration communications chief says the newspaper's influence is sometimes exaggerated. "In this Internet age, there is so much information. ... No single newspaper has that much power or influence. People aren't waiting for a single newspaper to hit their doorstep at 6 a.m. to set the agenda."


Quite the little whore isn't he? Setting aside the fact that the New York Times most definitely sets the news agenda and that Democrats are more likely to believe something if it's in the Times, Stephanopoulos of all people knows what the New York Times is capable of unleashing. But, he's now in the full time business of self promotion so he's keeping his options open. Besides, This Weak is a miserable failure so he's probably looking for work. It wouldn't pay to tell the truth.





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