Tribune Editor defends refusal to publish police report, as story explodes.
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There isn’t enough room in this piece to go through all the reasons for this. Is technology responsible for some of the problems faced by newspapers, for example? Sure.
But suffice to say there are millions of Americans who believe — and have held this belief for decades — that there is a vivid double-standard in what we now call the Old Media. Here’s a link to an earlier piece in this space that does go into some detail, for those who are interested.:
Only this week Andrew Breitbart of Big Journalism.com has offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who would step forward with the archives of a site called JournoList 400. The site is in the news as a result of some leaked e-mails from then-Washington Post reporter David Weigel.
Charged with covering conservatives, Weigel it turned out had an axe to grind against the very people he was supposedly covering. Assigned to report facts, his work presented by the paper as that of an impartial journalist, Mr. Weigel was otherwise. As confirmed with e-mails scorching Rush Limbaugh, various conservatives and conservatism in general and so on. Once he was outed, the Post accepted Weigel’s resignation — and news is Weigel has just accepted a position at the leftward MSNBC.
What a shocker!
The news with JournoList — that some 400 liberal journalists conspire regularly behind the scenes to set the mainstream media news narrative — is explosive. Breitbart, who played a key role in the ACORN revelations, is no fool in quickly identifying this allegation as the real issue behind l’affair Weigel and characteristically doing something about it.
The revelation confirms precisely what conservatives have said for decades. A formalized group that goes out of its way in the day of the Internet to set a narrative of events. A narrative that winds up producing or not producing stories depending on the politics of the news story subject. That this alleged media cabal exists in a fashion that wasn’t simply possible technically pre-Internet. It is precisely this kind of thing that conservatives have long believed before there was any ability to coordinate. That a general set of liberal beliefs by mainstream journalists, documented in poll after poll over the decades, results in, say, the New York Times doing a front-page story on a bogus John McCain mistress in the 2008 campaign. Yet somehow the same paper can’t seem to report a word about the quite disturbingly true John Edwards story with Rielle Hunter and her Edwards love-child.
In another recent example, Obama White House aide Van Jones exists to be celebrated in the liberal media — yet news of the controversy surrounding his multiple far-left speeches and passionately expressed views on being a Communist keep him invisible. Not a peep from the media until Glenn Beck’s spotlight results in a midnight holiday resignation. Then — and only then — does news of Van Jones’ problems belatedly appear. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.
There is one example (there are an endless number, actually, but one will suffice) worth mentioning, since the issue we are discussing here involves Al Gore and a police report.
On November 2, 2000, five days before then-Vice President Gore would face then-Texas Governor George W. Bush in what was already seen as a potentially very close election, suddenly, very suddenly, there was news. A bombshell. As Bush was eking out a narrow lead in the polls, a 24-year-old police report — say again, a 24-year old police report — from Kennebunkport, Maine, abruptly surfaced in the national media.
Like the Gore police report of today, the report accurately recorded several facts, the central one being that in September 1976 a 30-year old private citizen named George W. Bush had been charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence. In a hastily called evening press conference, with all media focused, presidential nominee Governor Bush admitted to the facts listed on the report. There are those today who believe this story contributed to the historic closeness of the 2000 election.
Should this report have been held? No. In fact, the Bush team made a mistake in not releasing this news when the campaign began. As with the existence of the Gore police report, the Bush police report was a fact.
But the fact of the matter is that this was one more incident that said to millions of Americans the media simply could not be trusted. The handling of today’s Gore police report issue and the 2000 handling of a Bush police report issue — from almost a quarter century — a quarter century earlier! — are all by themselves seen as a very potent symbol of media abuse. One standard for Bush (as there was for Nixon or Reagan or Quayle before him or Palin or McCain after him) and another for Gore (as there was for JFK, Carter, Mondale, Ted Kennedy, and Clinton before him and today Barack Obama after him.)
This is why Rush Limbaugh can very accurately call himself “America’s real anchorman.” This is why millions listen to Hannity or Levin or watch Beck, O’Reilly and the Fox crew. It explains the success of Mr. Breitbart and Matt Drudge and the Internet itself.
Simply put, millions of Americans believe the Establishment media — the liberal media — is willing to do anything that has to be done to skew a story and produce — or protect — a specific political agenda. This includes ignoring a story, investigating a story, leaving out facts, making up facts, constructing a narrative or ignoring a narrative. Whatever it takes.