Monday, June 06, 2011

The national press is a.) inept, b.) biased, c.) all of the above

I swore I wasn't going to blog about Anthony Weiner but I will hold forth on the embarrassingly feckless "investigative" powers of the mainstream media. There's an absence of objectivity that's been building for years and should have shamed the media into reform after the National Enquirer nearly won a Pulitzer for exposing John Edwards. But it didn't and now they've been pwned yet again.

While the talking heads were asking the Rep. Weiner the same questions and accepting the same answers, all the real information was coming to the surface on the blogs and e-media. Somehow Andrew Breitbart was collecting information that was escaping the putative skills of the Associated Press. While the NY Times was trying to figure out what a "DM" on Twitter meant, the Daily was reporting that all of Weiner's tweets - including the "hacked" ones - originated from a program called TweetDeck. It was on a blog that I found that Weiner had quite suddenly doubled the people he "followed" on Twitter in a transparent attempt to dilute his pool of young hotties. Ace and Patterico and others were asking questions and finding answers even though they never attended the high-falutin' Columbia Journalism School.

But maybe collecting facts is hard. How about unbiased reporting? Mark Steyn takes note of the NY Times initial coverage of the Weiner presser:
...that New York Times “news alert” — “Representative Anthony D. Weiner Acknowledges Communication With Women Online” — nobody who could write that headline with a straight face should be in the news business.

It’s one thing to lose the story to Andrew Breitbart because you’re too snooty to sully yourself with Weiner’s briefs. It’s another thing to pile on and support Weiner’s slandering of Breitbart out of ideological solidarity. But, when the congressman himself is at a press conference admitting he’s e-mailed explicit photos of himself around the Internet and you choose that headline to convey the story to your readers, you’re basically telling them you’re the paper for court eunuchs.
All this reminds me of Jon Stewarts reaction when two college punks managed to bring down ACORN with a feather boa and a hidden camera:
Kudos to Jon Stewart, who doesn’t sugar-coat the embarrassment at all — to the apparent delight of his audience, who get kudos of their own. How can the national news media ignore the many allegations of corruption at ACORN, which gets millions of dollars in federal funding, and allow a couple of independents with $3,000 and a bad wardrobe scoop them on the undercover story of the year? It’s easy when newsrooms are more concerned with political direction than truth.
With the Weiner affair, it's now altogether obvious that the mainstream media is either incapable or unwilling to do the job of investigation and reporting. The online media is going to fill the vacuum.


Jonathan Leibowitz said...

That link misrepresents Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" segment, certainly as far as Andrew "the most honest man in this story" Breitbart goes.

Stewart actually pointed out that Breitbart is on tape, gleefully saying that his only goal is to "destroy the institutional left" by any means required. Stewart was taunting the mainstream media for swallowing the edited "news" packages and readymade storylines coming from such a source.

It's self-revealing that Hot Air watched that clip and thought it showed that "newsrooms are more concerned with political direction than truth." Stewart was actually calling them lazy and undiscerning VCR machines who will replay whatever you hand them.

Best of all, Breitbart confirmed Stewart's premise by taking the "most honest man" line and reprinting it on his webpage as an "endorsement"... where it was subsequently picked up and parroted by a variety of sources who didn't look past Breitbart's headline.

Stephen Colbert put it succinctly yesterday: ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, NPR, and Anthony Weiner raises Breitbart's record to 1-for-4.

DBrooks17 said...

And here I thought it was Weiner who was the absolute weasel in this story--a blatant liar who misled his wife, his constituents, and the media; a man known for abusing his staff and others around him; a guy sending out photos of his junk to women he admits he had no idea if they were even adults, an example of mendacious arrogance wrapped in a prickish veneer. Here I find out if was really Breitbart who was the villain. Who knew?

JL said...

Perhaps you can explain how anything Anthony Weiner does has anything to do with what Jon Stewart's show actually said (and didn't say) two years ago?

Perhaps you can explain how anything Anthony Weiner does has anything to do with Andrew Breitbart's tactics or history?

If Weiner decides to take out his penis and use it to beat a blind orphan to death on Christmas Day, Breitbart will be the same guy.

It's a big old world. There's room for more than one amoral dirtbag.