web counter Media Lies: The REAL Swiftvets story

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

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The REAL Swiftvets story

I've been thinking about this for days.

The Swiftvets story is a big deal, but the real story is the bypassing of the mainstream media (MSM) filters. If you're still not certain that the media has a bias that directs what they report, listen to MSM representatives, speaking in this piece from Editor and Publisher.
Alison Mitchell, deputy national editor for The New York Times, points to the changing media landscape and its impact on what newspapers choose to cover. "I'm not sure that in an era of no-cable television we would even have looked into it," she said. ... James O'Shea, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, agreed. But he said the critical approach may have been a bit late, considering that the Swift Boat Veterans ads came out two weeks ago. "I don't think there has been enough scrutiny until now," he said. "Prior to this, we weren't giving it enough attention." ...

"There are too many places for people to get information," O'Shea said. "I don't think newspapers can be the gatekeepers anymore -- to say this is wrong and we will ignore it. Now we have to say this is wrong, and here is why."
Note that there is no question in the minds of the MSM that the Swiftvets story is "wrong". Without ever having read the book, without questioning a single Swiftvet, without even reading Tour of Duty, the MSM has already decided that the Swiftvets story is "wrong" and that you shouldn't have to be bothered with such nonsense. (And they wonder why they're called "elite"!)

Still not convinced?
But Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said newspapers can still drive their own agenda. "I don't think we are lessening at all our judgment of the news," he told E&P. "There is much more media, but we still judge for ourselves which facts we report in The Washington Post."
And you thought they wanted to report the news!

Oh, but there's much more, my naive news junkie.
"Kerry has made his Vietnam service a centerpiece of the Democratic National Convention and the Swift Boat Veterans came out right after that," said Lee Horwich, politics editor at USA Today, which ran a story about the veterans group, and inconsistencies in its accounts, on Aug. 16. "There has been doubt cast on some of their charges and we have reported it. I think scrutiny of the accuracy of the charges has been the thrust of the coverage."
You see? The MSM isn't even interested in whether or not the story has merit. Their only goal is to question the accuracy of the charges.

If they really question the charges they will be exposing Kerry's lies. They recognize this problem, but aren't quite sure how to handle it.
But O'Shea also pointed out that giving the anti-Kerry veterans too much attention, in an attempt to hold them accountable, creates a situation of ignoring other issues. He said this may be an instance of a growing problem for newspapers in the expanding media world -- being forced to follow a story they might not consider worthwhile because other news outlets (in this case, Fox News and talk radio) have made it an issue.
Fox News and talk radio? I wonder how many years it will be before the MSM even bothers to recognzie that it's bloggers who have driven this story from the beginning, bloggers who have uncovered the problems with Kerry's statements, bloggers who have pushed the story into talk radio and Fox News and bloggers who continue to drive the story forward.

No matter. Bloggers don't need credit so long as the story gets out.

Hat tip to Wretchard.