Friday, February 22, 2008

NYT - Just Make It Up!

This is a statement from a recent offering in this corner: "Newspapers don't – or at least aren't supposed to except in rare circumstances – lobby legislators; therefore, they can be said to be lobbying their readers if they push an agenda, which nearly all newspapers do." A lobbyist represents a constituency in the interest of achieving an objective. Constituency is defined as: "a group or body that patronizes, supports, or offers representation; the people involved in or served by an organization (as a business or institution)."

A newspaper is a lobbyist representing its constituency, the editors/managers/political-apparatchiks, in an effort to achieve the objective of making its position convincing to its readers in an effort to get them to think as it does and act accordingly, including in their voting. This is what's so ironic in the recent New York Times hatchet-job on John McCain – using a lobbyist as its tool to destroy the man's reputation. Dan Rather used a military angle to attempt to destroy Bush in 2004, but the "swift-boaters" did the same thing to destroy JohnKerry.

There's a huge difference, of course. The NYT and Rather/CBS used outright lies – allegations with absolutely no corroboration, proof, reliable sources, etc. – while the "swift-boaters" used profoundly well-documented information, i.e., the unvarnished truth. In other words, the newspaper, using no sources at all, and Rather/CBS "made-up" stuff to obtain their objective, figuring the public to be too dumb to recognize their shenanigans for fraud, while the "swift-boaters" just told it like it was.

This, of course, will amount to media-suicide, its collective credibility already almost non-existent, at least with regard to the high-profile biggies like the NYT and the Washington Post. People are not actually stupid enough not to see through being not only lobbied but lobbied by folks who have only their self-proclaimed integrity to commend them while being almost pathologically unable to print the truth…maybe even to recognize it.

The media-corruption inherent in the Rather/CBS exercise in fraud (forgeries of Air Guard documents, for starters) and the sordid attempt by the NYT to waylay a presidential contender through subterfuge (only anonymous sources – meaning made-up sources) are not exceptions to journalistic purity, but more the rule, at least with the east- and west-coast biggies. They have their agendas, at the top of which lists is the effort to smear anybody and anything representative of the current administration and any republican aspiring to head it.

In the noxious Rather/CBS affair, the NYT added its part to the scheme by interviewing Marian Carr Knox, the 86-year-old who denied categorically that she typed the infamous memos back in the 1970s that Rather passed off as authentic, but remembered conversations along certain lines. Egad! In a January 1988 (another election year) interview, Dan Rather tried in vain to implicate George H.W. Bush in the Iran-Contra affair and became so incensed that he ended the interview right on the air. The CBS agenda was plain – eliminate Bush 41 from the presidency – but its effort failed.

It's always dicey to try to ascribe to people or institutions attributes which may or may not be accurate, but one has to wonder about a media "event" that is plainly without merit because it is based on lies, whether intentionally so or simply through negligence. The infamous "Koran flushed down the toilet at Gitmo" caper by Newsweek magazine in May 2005 is a case in point. While Americans would not bat an eye if a gaggle of atheists flushed a million Bibles down a sewer manhole, 16 Muslims in Afghanistan sort of committed hara-kiri over that incident, one perhaps designed to embarrass the Bush administration, then in its second-term-first-year. Newsweek, of course, is owned by the Washington Post, an avowed Bush-hater, whose candidate had just been beaten a few months before.

According to Free Republic, which has them cited on its Web site, the NYT ran front-page stories on Abu Ghraib on 32 successive days in 2004, including the entire month of May. Given that this episode lacked beauty, it's also true that no one was even injured, much less killed, at Abu Ghraib. Coincidentally, 2004 was also a presidential election year, with an absolute NYT-must being the defeat of George Bush, which, of course, didn't happen, even though the war was not popular. The public is not as dumb as the media elite thinks it is.

So…should anyone be surprised that the liberal Big Apple rag would stoop to denigrating an individual – any individual – with a made-up yarn if to do so satisfied its agenda? Strangely, before breaking this "story," but after sitting on it for months (actually years, apparently, since the incident dates to 2000), the newspaper endorsed McCain as the best republican. The pooh-bahs running the paper apparently didn't realize they were endorsing a candidate they considered guilty of moral turpitude, thus exponentially enhancing a public perception of the paper as being…well, sort of crazy, certainly not to be taken seriously.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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