web counter Media Lies: What's wrong with the media?

Friday, August 27, 2004

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What's wrong with the media?

No background research. No preparation. Just go out there and do the show. It's news, and we need to get our piece of the action --- This transcript of Deborah Norville's show last night shows it clearly.
NORVILLE: Our question tonight: Why is the Vietnam war such a lightning rod in the 2004 presidential election? Joining me to talk about this, Steve Gardner, who was on Senator Kerry's swift boat back in 1969. Also with us, his fellow Vietnam veteran, Larry Thurlow, who commanded another swift boat alongside John Kerry and his comrades on the day in question. Both men have appeared in the ads attacking Mr. Kerry's war record. Also part of our discussion tonight, Robert Sam Anson. He covered the Vietnam war for "Time" magazine and was captured by the North Vietnamese. He now covers politics for "The New York Observer." Thank you all for being with us.

And Mr. Gardner, I want to start with you first. What do you specifically remember about that day in March of 1969?

STEVE GARDNER, SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR TRUTH: I wasn't on the boat in March of 1969.

NORVILLE: You were a part of John Kerry's team, were you not?

GARDNER: I was a crew on the PCF-44 boat.

NORVILLE: And what do you remember about the day that has been so hotly debated in these ads? It was February. Forgive me.

GARDNER: Again, when you're talking--if you want to talk about Christmas in Cambodia, we've already proven John Kerry to be a liar about that. If you want to talk about the sampan incident that he was involved in, that he was a liar about that. And we've already proven that on his first Purple Heart, he lied.

NORVILLE: Mr. Gardner, I'm trying to find out, were on the swift boat commanded by John Kerry? You were not?

GARDNER: I absolutely was, yes. I was on the PCF-44 for two months and two weeks of his tour of duty.

NORVILLE: But it was not the time of the incident that is so hotly debated right now?

GARDNER: If you're talking about the Bronze Star incident, no. Larry Thurlow is the man.

NORVILLE: And you talk about the Christmas in Cambodia, 1968. That is the one question mark that seems to continue to be one that's dogging Senator Kerry. He has said that he was on the Cambodian border on Christmas of 1968. He also said that President Nixon was president at that time. Lyndon Johnson would have been at that time. Were you all anywhere close to Cambodia?

GARDNER: Well, let's clarify what you just said. John Kerry had already admitted that he was not in Cambodia when he was--on Christmas of 1968. He was setting in the city of Sa Dec, which is a small town 50-some miles from the Cambodian border. Now, that's in his words out of his diary.

NORVILLE: There's an ad that just came out on the Internet today that talks about this. Let's take a look at it.
Norville obviously has not done her homework. If she had, she would have known that Gardner served on the first of Kerry's boats and the second boat was the one involved in the 13 Mar 69 incident.

Even when Gardner tells her when he served - "I was a crew on the PCF-44 boat" - Norville doesn't listen. Just moments later she asks - "Mr. Gardner, I'm trying to find out, were on the swift boat commanded by John Kerry? You were not?" He just told her he was, but because she hasn't done her homework and she isn't even paying attention to the answers he's giving, she asks the question again.

This is what passes for journalism in America today.

So what is Norville's purpose in having these folks on her show? If you read the entire transcript, it's obvious. This story is news. She and MSNBC want to be a part of it - to "cover it" if you will. So they're going to have guests on and they're going to ask questions, but the answers don't matter. What matters is that lots of people are interested in this story. That translates into viewers and that translates into advertising revenues, so they're going to "cover" the story.

News coverage doesn't occur on cable TV shows. Talking points do. Each side gets their points in, but nothing is resolved because there's no investigation going on. News is not the point. Truth is not the point. Ratings and the hype are the point. If you want to investigate Kerry's lies, you'll have to look elsewhere - blogs, for example. The same thing is true with regard to Iraq, the UN oil-for-food scandal, terrorism, and every other worthwhile story.

Is it any wonder that the MSM is losing credibility and viewers?