Friday, October 20, 2006

More media non- (or mal-) feasance...


More allegations that make the media in this country look like personal attack dogs for the Democratic Party, at least when they aren't being lap dogs for the Democratic Party.

When the Lewinsky story broke, the Clinton flacks put together a big flowchart, describing the way that the "vast right-wing conspiracy" (of which I'm a charter member, according to my mug) moved stories from the fever swamps of the right to the internet, to talk radio, to conservative media, and, finally, produced such noise the the "legitimate" press was forced to acknowledge it. While there was, of course, some truth to the path that many of the stories took to get to the press, it was because of the complete lack of interest of the mainstream press of covering any stories negative on the Democrats.* Negative stories about Republicans don't take that circuitous route into the press - the Democrats leak them, and the press runs with 'em.

Two years ago, I spent some time documenting the AP coverage of Cindy Sheehan, and the utterly uncritical way that they acted as PR for her charges that George W. Bush had killed her son. Now, it appears that the situation is even more indicative of bias. A new book alleges that Cindy Sheehan was recruited as an anti-Bush crusader by the John Kerry campaign in 2004.
MORGAN: We have documents from the FEC that tracked the money, and that's generally how you get to a good investigative stories. And we've spent a lot of time in putting this all together.

It was John Kerry's political campaign, John Kerry personally, along with Michael Moore, went to Cindy Sheehan just days and a couple of weeks after the death of her son and asked her to make a commercial for him.

And they did the same thing, political operatives, they asked the other families.

Gosh, that sounds like a story, doesn't it?

But it's not. The press doesn't care. That story could only reflect negatively on Kerry, not Bush. Therefore, it wasn't news. It wasn't investigated. It wasn't followed. No one at the Washington Post or New York Times or CBS or the Associated Press thought it was relevant. No, Cindy Sheehan was hammering George W. Bush, and that made her newsworthy. Period. Her comments about anything else? Irrelevant. Her contemporaneous comments on having actually met with the President? Not news.

The authors of American Mourning told Fox News that
We found that John Kerry and Michael Moore personally recruited Gold Star family members just within days and sometimes even at the funerals of their sons to come and work for the campaign in order to undermine the candidacy of George W. Bush at the time.

I'm not a professional journalist, but that sounds like a relevant news story to me. If true, that certainly sounds like something that should have been run in the media while it was going on. Certainly, one thinks that, were the parties were reversed, the NY Times might have found space for a front-page story and an editorial decrying the distasteful procedure. If they ran such a story on the Kerry campaign, I must have missed it.

Now, maybe it's not actually true. I haven't seen the evidence, and I don't believe anything just because someone prints it. But I will say that they idea that it happened, and wasn't covered, certainly fits neatly into my worldview. It wouldn't surprise me. It would cause me no cognitive dissonance. It's certainly something that should, in my opinion, be looked into. Not that it would have been illegal or even unethical. Just slightly unseemly. But it's dereliction of duty - again - for it to have been going on with no mention in the media.

* - Please don't bother making comments to the effect that the press covered Lewinsky extensively for months. They did, after the story broke in a way that they couldn't spike it any longer. And everyone was talking about it. And don't bother to comment that they covered Whitewater extensively for months. Yes, to some extent they did. Mostly in a way that made the story seem like a Republican vendetta, rather than actual coverage of the corrupt financial events.



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