The article is interesting and you should read it. Not so much for the talk about the humpback, though it is interesting in itself, but rather about the way the media works and the need to "shop around" a story. I guess maybe I'm too influenced by movies like Superman, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (the original) and it's loving tribute Hudsucker Proxy (all great movies), which show hardbitten editors demanding that their reporters dig deep to get the "big scoop" and never look back. But that's what I expect from my newspaper editors.
These days, the big scoops are only the ones that confirm scary stories which will lead to more newspapers being sold. And while the idea of a sitting President being unable to give answers on his own is scary, it's not the type of scary that will sell more newspapers in the future. In fact, it's the type of story that will lead to cancelled subscriptions and phony cries of liberal bias. And that's the worst part about the implications of this story, not just that it had to be shopped around and heavily pushed by a citizen, but how the reporters wanted to cover it but it got killed at the top. Rather than the frantic editor demanding the scoop, we have sissy editors scared of their own shadows, killing scoops that offend.
But even that wasn't why I'm writing. Here's the part that's got my panties in a bind:
Jeffrey Klein, a founding editor of Mother Jones magazine, told Mother Jones
(online edition, 10/30/04) he had called a number of contacts at leading
news organizations across the country, and was told that unless the Kerry
campaign raised the issue, they couldn't pursue it.
Now, I've never read Mother Jones and have no idea of who Jeffrey Klein is or what his credibility level is. But if what he says is true, this only confirms my worst suspicions about the media: that they believe there role is solely as dictation machines. They seem to believe that they can't cover a story suggesting that Bush cheated in the debate. For them, the only unbiased story would be a story about Kerry suggesting that Bush cheated in the debate. Rather than a headline of "Bush Wore Earpiece", it can only be "Kerry Blasts Bush for Earpiece". And that's insane.
But that's how it is with almost all media coverage. You can't say that Bush is lying. You can only say that Dems say Bush is lying. And that is insane. Facts are verifiable by definition, and therefore intrinsically unbiased. There should be nothing wrong with reporting facts about Social Security or WMD's or Bush's tax plans, or anything. And if Bush misstates any verifiable thing, then it is entirely within the realm of objectivism to report that. In fact, NOT reporting it is biased and subjective.
And this is entirely the reason why conservatives attack the media; to get them to be overly concerned with bias. And it serves a double-effect. The first is that the media won't objectively say that Bush's lies are lies, allowing him free reign to lie. But it also serves to paint Democrats negatively, by always writing stories about them "blasting" or "accusing" Bush and makes both sides look equally at fault. And if Dems want to avoid such headlines, then they aren't allowed to say anything about it and so the media will believe that they don't need to cover the story...which is exactly what happened here.
And that is the main reason for the myth of the liberal bias. And the media really believes it. And the only thing we can do to stop this is to confront newspapers and news sources for their absurd dictation model of news coverage and demand that they stop it.