Thursday, March 8, 2007

A sad anniversary in the history of journalistic self-immolation

Today is the 15th anniversary of Jeff Gerth's first story on the pseudo-scandal known as Whitewater appearing in the New York Times.

This kicked off a plunge by much of the major news media in the United States into a long period of battiness that they haven't pulled out of yet.

The battiness of leading media lights like the Times and the Washington Post gave us endless stories about the Big Phony Al Gore and his "earth tones", which helped mightily in getting Dick Cheney and George Bush close enough in the popular vote in 2000 that the Supreme Court's Scalia Five could hand the Presidency to them. That would be the regular guy George W, the kind of guy that you'd like to have a beer with, according to the media scripts from the same reporters and pundits at the time.

The battiness gave us Judith Miller's and Michael Gordon's fake stories on the front page of the Times about Iraq's hoard of "weapons of mass destruction", which turned out to be non-existent.

Surely they've learned by now! Surely they're cleaning up their act, right? From
Some Explaining to Do by Dan Froomkin Washington Post 03/07/07, commenting on the press reaction to the Scooter Libby verdict:

Washington's media elites have been against this case from the beginning, seeing [prosecutor Patrick] Fitzgerald and [Joseph] Wilson as unwelcome interlopers threatening the cozy relationship between the city's top political journalists and their sources.
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