Monday, October 09, 2006

How many reporters can you buy for a pack of smokes?

Glenn Greenwald raises an important point today, why are the major media outlets that cover government and politics such bitches for the GOP?

I want to return to what I think is an extremely important incident that occurred late in the day last Friday, when events typically get lost in the news cycle. As Think Progress documented, at some point during the day on Friday, the GOP decided to go on television and tell an outright lie -- namely, that when Denny Hastert learned the previous Friday about the IMs exchanged between Mark Foley and Congressional pages (as a result of the ABC story), Hastert delivered an ultimatum to Foley: either resign or be expelled. Thereafter, so the new GOP mythology claimed, Foley resigned.

This story is complete fiction. It never happened. It was just made up by Republican operatives in order to defend Denny Hastert and make him look like some sort of hard-nosed, no-nonsense tough guy who took extraordinary steps against Mark Foley. But there is no doubt that this never happened, and anyone who is saying that it did is, by definition, lying -- and is lying clearly and demonstrably.

Now, to be fair, they have told so many lies that keeping track of them is a full time job. Last time I checked though, most reporters are full-time. But this isn't some backbench CHUD on afternoon MSNBC drooling out lies to a few thousand viewers. This is the CHAIRMAN of the RNC, offering up a bold faced lie that anyone following the story knows, or can easily find out, is a lie. The appropriate response is to hold him accountable every time he is interviewed. They won't though. No one will confront the Chairman on this. When did this become acceptable behavior?

Seriously, Jouranimalists everywhere, you are the GOP's bitch. They are lying to your faces, and you are incapable or lack the stones to confront them. Your readers and viewers deserve better than to be lied to by their elected leaders and then have you not report it. And don't even play the bury the facts game 400 paragraphs into your story behind less important details on page A26. That isn't cutting it. If the public is being deceived, that demands front page above the fold. Yes, you cynical pricks, lying to the public is not "typical" behavior that should be shrugged off. It should be highlighted by you so the public can evaluate the facts. So don't even hand me your insider whatever attitude.

Another thing, if you lack the juevos to call the GOP out on lying to you and treating you like a worthless punk, then I don't EVEN want to read anymore of your "GOP sucks, but Dems are pussies" stories that you people churn out on a daily basis. Feel free not to do the GOP's job for them. Jesus, why is this so freakin hard. The Chairman lied to you. REPORT IT! Stop writing process stories to prove how smart you think you are and do YOUR DAMN JOBS!.

I'm not asking the Media to pimp for my side. If my side lies, fine, call them out. But the quantity of the false statements by the GOP, and the lack of accountability by the press covering the Foley story makes it clear the GOP believes they can get away with it. And they're right, they do get away with it. They will continue to do it unless you stop them. Don't blame Democrats for this, they don't publish the New York Times or produces stories on CNN. Democrats have been screaming this to the cold and uncaring stars for years now. It's hard to be heard when every Dem statement goes unreported or is "qualified" by a he said/she said story where some anonymous GOP hack is quoted alongside without further context. NO Mr. Broder, quoting Dick Morris anonymously is not equivalent to quoting Nancy Pelosi on the record. What do they teach you jerkoffs at Journalism school?

I know I'm painting the whole profession with a broad brush here. Look, I like journalists and I respect what the professions mission supposedly is. Our fellow editor Mojo is a recovering journalist. And he is quick to point out the many process and market reasons otherwise decent reporters end up producing this debased product. And in general, he's right, the marketplace has created a work enviroment that is enabling this. But this is beyond explanation by work conditions and market demands, this is directly contributing to dangerous policy outcomes that threaten the Republic. There are a lot of A-list beltway reporters who manage to do their jobs. Dana Priest and Sy Hersh immediately leap to mind. But their work is becoming the exception, not the norm. The Political media needs to start doing it's job, or we are all fucked.

NOTE: There is a valid argument we are already fucked. The premise of this piece is that on the odd chance that is not inevitiable, the press needs to find or borrow a pair for us to come through on the other side with our Democracy intact.

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