Knowing In Part
of differing political viewpoints
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geographic and political
center of America.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Rather, A Short History Before The Fall
Dan Rather is a celebrity, not a journalist, investigative reporter, or any other profession with a supposition of objectivity.
If you have been living under a rock, you can catch up on the events of RatherGate at Instapundit or at The Volokh Conspiracy.
My point - Dan Rather is a celebrity, not an objective participant in the news.
You should read the report of the interview by Dan Rather of Toby Keith. It is available on this CBS site. The money quote:
Then they come in, and start putting the show together. And Pete comes in and says, Who is who does this Toby Keith think he is? And he is not singing this song on my show, says Keith.
ABC disputes that Jennings said that. Instead, the problem, according to ABC, was that the network didnt want to start the show with a song that, at times, can be very angry. For his part, Jennings was quoted as saying it was a pity about the Toby Keith issue. But that opening the show with Keiths song probably wouldnt set the right tone.
I thought it was hilarious. My statement was, Isn't he Canadian? to a bunch of press. They laughed and then I said, Well, I bet Dan Rather wouldn't kick me off his show, says Keith.
Rather responded: And I'm not gonna be a hypocrite, you wouldn't want me to. I like Peter, he's a good guy.
You may remember that media circus. ABC announces a Fourth of July special and Toby Keith is one of the performers. Then??? ABC announces that Toby Keith is not performing. Then??? ABC announces it was a scheduling problem. Then??? ABC announces that Toby Keith was never confirmed as a performer. Then??? Someone leaks that Peter Jennings did not like Toby Keith's song "The Angry American" and did not want to use it in the program. The problem was that Toby Keith never changed his story. His claim is that he was asked to be on the program, accepted, and then was asked not to perform.
Anyone with a brain realized that Toby Keith was HUGE, ABC asked him to perform because his song was on every radio station in the US, Peter Jennings or his proxy did not like the song, ABC then cut Toby Keith from the show, and ABC did a terrible job at spinning the media storm that followed.
Enter Dan Rather and his interview of Toby Keith. I watched the interview. I cannot find a transcript (please contact me if you have it). What struck me immediately was that Dan absolutely dropped the ball on this issue. He had ABC giving several different sides of the story and Toby Keith giving one consistent side of the story. Obviously, one side is lying. Dan's take - "I like Peter, he's a good guy." Ummm. Mr. Rather, the story is not whether or not you like Peter Jennings. The story is not whether or not you think he is a good guy. THE STORY IS whether or not Peter Jennings or his lackeys intentionally lied to the American public. If you do not want to find out, skip the entire issue.
If Dan Rather were a journalist, might he have had his research team investigate the matter. Could a timeline be established? Could any possible paperwork be discovered? Are there phone records that could indicate possible inconsistencies in either side of the story? You know, look into the matter, snoop around, INVESTIGATE?????
Why did Dan Rather skip over the whole issue with that soft-peddled crap? Simple, professional courtesy. Peter Jennings is a cohort, a celebrity, and is most likely responsible for a big media blunder. But Dan betrayed his profession and the viewing public. He could have cleared Toby Keith's name. He could have exposed the dark side of media programming. He could have supported Bernard Goldberg.
Dan Rather is a celebrity. He gets paid to read from the teleprompter. There should NOT be an audible gasp when he is revealed as being a biased, partisan hack.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Like my cobloggers, I must apologize for my absence. My daughter had to have corrective surgery and I started adjunct teaching at a local community college. There is much I have wanted to post about, but time has not been on my side.
If you have not yet, read Sam and Ben's posts below. Start with Ben's post "Getting back into the blogging biz", in which he attempts define the marks of good vs. bad political ads. Good work in my view. Follow the work Ben does on starting a new political party and then move into Sam's "Harrumph" post below.
After reading that, you should read the posts on Instapundit that start with THE WHOLE GAY MARRIAGE THING: Occasionally, people want me to blog more on "the issues" and less about stuff like Dan Rather. Read the entire piece and the additional contributions that he links.
I think this is what Sam, Ben, and I (and maybe Andrew, I really do not know him yet, read more here) would like to see more than the absolutely banal, crap that we have come to expect from traditional media. I appreciate the C-Span program Washington Journal up until they allow callers. I would prefer more of Bryan Lamb interviewing an individual. I have never witnessed a program in which he allowed the guest to spew partisan hype without being stymied by a very insightful and pointed rebuttal question.
Reread the Instapundit analysis of the gay marriage issue. Hopefully, what strikes you is the balanced and matter-of-fact nature of the reading. Prof. Reynolds does not hide his feelings and thoughts on the matter. Yet, he calls it like he sees it. Regardless of how the reader feels about the issue, the way the issue will play out in our society is revealed in a fairly convincing and balanced piece.
I have posted on the issue previously, but would ask that you read this post and the money quote is We live in a society. If the society wants to respect homosexual unions, then resistance by the government is futile. If society will not respect homosexual unions, then the government would fight a loosing battle to implement the policy. Then read this post and the clincher - The UMC has already prayed about, studied, and given great thought to the matter. We believe the a homosexual lifestyle is not in keeping with Christian living. If so, we cannot condone it. Period, dot, the end.
The last quote could easily be misunderstood as a closed-minded remark. But (I hope) if you read the entire post and (more hopefully) the preceding posts, you should see that the conclusion is a logical and coherent ending to an inquiry on my part to the UMC's position on homosexual marriage. You are not compelled to agree with my conclusion, but you should read it knowing that I am married to an ordained UMC deacon and that I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Child & Family Studies (already attained a M.S. in Family Studies and B.S. in Child Development). Insulting me is not productive. Challenging my assertions or the information cited or the sources or any other point may be productive.
The CBS abomination (Or Rathergate if you prefer) is not so much about the failure of fact-checking as it is the absence of mature thought, guidance, vision, and perspective. We (the US society) already covered President Bush's National Guard service in the previous election cycle. Old news. Been there, done that. New allegations about an issue we already accepted is so much bunk. President Bush served in the Air National Guard during the Viet Nam War. And.
The memo, even despite all odds that it might actually be authentic) has no relevance on the past three years. Accusing bloggers of sitting around in their "pajamas" has nothing to do with whether or not one of the previously relevant news sources to the western world has drank the cool-aid of the liberal media party. I would have hoped in previous years that someone of Dan Rather's stature would have dismissed the story not because of authentication problems but because it has nothing to do with 2004.
I am reading more now than I ever have. And the bulk of my reading is supported by electrical current. The news cycle is too slow in traditional media. And the difference between Oprah Winfrey and Dan Rather in programming has now become a matter of where the guests spend the night.
The tradional or old media has shown its hand. Collectively, they are nothing more than the lackies at Governor Lepetomaine's table who can be counted on for giving the thoughtless, party-line "harrumph".
Roger L. Simon
Michael J. Totten
Winds of Change
Outside the Beltway
Daniel W. Drezner
The Ornery American
Iraq the Model
The New Republic Online
National Review Online
The Crayon Years
Number 2 Pencil
The Weekly Standard
New York Times