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Mainstream media lashes out at bloggers

CNET reports that NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw and ABC anchor Peter Jennings “lashed out at Internet bloggers in defense of CBS anchor Dan Rather,” comparing “bloggers' attacks on Rather's ‘60 Minutes II’ report about President Bush's National Guard service to a ‘political jihad.’”

Rather, it will be recalled, aired forged documents asserting that President Bush benefited from political favoritism in getting out of commitments to the Texas Air National Guard. The kerfuffle is now referred to as Rathergate.

Brokaw said: “What I think is highly inappropriate is what's going on across the Internet, a kind of political jihad. It is certainly an attempt to demonize CBS News, and it goes well beyond any factual information a lot of them has, the kind of demagoguery that is unleashed out there.”

Jennings remarked: "I don't think you ever judge a man by only one event in his career. I think the attack on CBS is an attack on mainstream media, an attack on the so-called 'liberal media.' To me, when you make a mistake, you apologize. You go back and review your standards."

But, as the National Review has noted, this is not the first time Rather has mislead viewers.

CNET notes that, “‘60 Minutes’ aired the ‘Guard story’ on Sept. 8. Within hours, bloggers flooded the Internet with information discrediting the story because it relied on documents that appeared to be fake. At first, CBS and Rather defended the story. But two weeks after the scandal erupted, CBS announced that it had appointed a special investigator to look into how the story was reported, and Rather issued an apology on air.”

Rather’s CBS producer Jonathon Klein angered many in the Internet community with this anti-blogger bromide: “Bloggers have no checks and balances . . . [it's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.”

I’m sure he’ll live to regret that comment. The blogosphere is here to stay and the "guys in pajamas" will fact-check your ass at every turn, regardless of whether you're a liberal or a conservative. //Billy McCormac

October 7, 2004 in Posts in English | Permalink


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