Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dan Rather and the 'new journalism order'

When will Dan Rather learn to retire gracefully.

You'd think that being forced out of your job as one of the premiere news people in the world due to sloppy reporting, and even sloppier defences of that reporting would have been enough to teach the man some humility; apparently not.

Once again Rather manages to put on display what so many people see as the MSM's largest fault, their belief that they own the truth. He still seems mad at being caught trying to run a story based on obviously forged documents from a highly suspect and bias source as fact, during a Presidential campaign no less. And why shouldn't he. Prior to the explosion of the blogosphere, stories like the Killian Memos would have been accepted as gospel amongst the viewing public. Now, however, people are able to much more easily share information and discuss their doubts in a story with others, all around the world, and to dig up the truth on their own. In effect, the news organizations no longer have the control that they once had.

And despite Dan's assertions to the contrary, most of the pressure on the press to actually do their jobs and report fact, not opinion, is not coming from any formal Federal power, but from us, the independent bloggers who just want to see the whole story reported. Sure, the current White House may be a bit less helpful with the press than previous administrations, but if you were being attacked every day for troubles, both real and imagined, by people who then claim to be 'unbiased', wouldn't you be a little short tempered too (just look at the almost universal negative reporting on the current economy under Bush despite almost every indicator pointing to the fact that it is strong and growing). And why is it the White Houses job to do the work for the journalists? Shouldn't they be getting off their butts and out doing the legwork for their stories instead of hoping that the President's Press Secretary will spoon feed it to them?

You need to look no further than Dan's own statement about how he thinks the Katrina coverage has been one of the highest points in modern journalism to just see the level of disconnect that exists within today's media. Now we all should have been clearly warned that Rather had lost it when he brought up the who "speaking truth to power", but even so let's review the MSM's Katrina coverage.

- Reported estimates of number of dead 10,000+:
WRONG by a magnitude of 10
Score: -1

- Reported rapes and murders happening within the Superdome:
WRONG, few actual complaints of assaults have
been made and no credible witnesses produced
Score: -1

- Reported slow Federal response:
WRONG, response times are actually on par with
other natural disasters over the past 15 years
Score: -1

- Reported FEMA director unaware of evacuees at Convention Center 24 afters heavy news coverage:
WRONG, the first confirmed reports of the Convention Center
problem were made just prior to both the DHS and FEMA
directors acknowledging the situation. The actual time difference
was minutes, or at most an hour or two, not a day
Score -1

- Reported FEMA prevented Red Cross from entering New Orleans:
WRONG, that was from the very beginning, a state decision
Score -1

- Reported everyone expected the levees to breach
WRONG, overtopping during the storm was widely
assumed but the levees were expected to hold
Score -1

- Reported Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the southern US:
RIGHT (just had to give them something)
Score +1

And I won't even try to calculate how often they have gotten the separation of Federal vs. State powers wrong during their 'reporting'.

If the jumping to conclusions and knee-jerk unsubstantiated reporting we have seen over the past few weeks of Katrina coverage is what Dan Rather sees as great journalism, I say his ouster was long overdue, but like a bad penny, he just never seems to go away for good.


For more commentary and discussion check out the Anti-Idiotarian, Roger L. Simon or Angry in the Great White North.

(h/t Michelle Malkin)

Update:
Just adding a link to a post by VDH on the media coverage of Katrina.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Corbin Bernsen said...

Today my balls taste like salty lemon. Yesterday, there was a hint of caramel, or was it butterscotch. I often get the two confused, but it doesn't matter. The point is...

WHO F***IN' CARES!!!??

September 21, 2005 11:48 a.m.  

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