You just have to love this kind of thing.
The story so far.
Sean Hannity anchors a superb hour last Friday detailing liberal bias in the media.
Included in the legion of examples presented (there’s literally decades of this stuff out there, how Hannity and his editors narrowed this down to a mere hour’s worth is surely a story in itself) was a clip from CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting on the Valerie Plame–Joe Wilson episode.
Mr. Cooper has stepped forward to cry foul, which you can find here over at Mediaite. The essence of Cooper’s beef is that he, Cooper, was selectively edited, although he is careful not to accuse Hannity of doing it personally and deliberately, of which there is no evidence. Mediaite writer Jon Bershad is practically chortling in his white wine over the idea of nailing Hannity.
Take a very careful look at the clip Mr. Cooper submits to exonerate himself. Cooper presents himself as saying this, adding more after showing what he views as the correct version of what he said in his Wilson report for CNN:
COOPER: A former US diplomat who investigated Africa’s suspected link to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program now says he is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign. Administration officials say former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s report on Niger last year supported the now discredited claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
Wilson said that is not true. He spoke exclusively to TIME magazine today. He accuses the Administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
Having presented the clip that he sees as correcting Hannity’s charge of bias, Cooper adds this:
COOPER: So, see the difference? I was relaying what Valerie Plame’s husband was now claiming, I wasn’t saying it was true. Anyway, I try to choose my words very carefully and I don’t like it when someone cuts around them to make it seem like I’m saying something I’m not. I’m going to assume that Mr. Hannity had no idea what his editors were up to. I would hate to think that he would knowingly falsely edit something to make a point. After all, that would be biased.”
He then adds Hannity to his segment’s “Ridiculist.” Gleefully (but of course) Mediaite‘s Bershad piles on, mocking, Hannity and in that wonderfully familiar tone of… what are the words… oh yes… liberal bias writes admiringly that “Cooper, for his part, was incredibly forgiving in the correction.”
As they say in the trade: stop the tape.
Let’s go back to the piece of tape Mr. Cooper presents to defend himself, a piece of tape Cooper selects himself. Listen to it again and what does one hear? One hears these words, and I have taken the liberty of putting the key words in bold print:
Administration officials say former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s report on Niger last year supported the now discredited claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
What would Perry Mason say here? He would call your attention to this article by Stephen Spruiell over at National Review. The title?
Joe Wilson, Imbedded
His fibs have infiltrated the media, and the media should know better
As you can see, Mr. Spruiell goes on at very detailed length to illustrate just how what he terms Mr. Wilson’s fibs (take note Messrs. Cooper and Bershad — fibs is the colloquial for “lie” or “deliberate untruth”) have become embedded in the liberal media narrative of the Valerie Plame affair.
Quite specifically, after noting the journalistic fraud that exploded over the New York Times Jayson Blair episode, Spruiell says this:
Other journalistic frauds are more subtle — that is, the fraud occurs through the endless repetition of false information in the background paragraphs that supplement breaking news reports on a constantly developing story. These frauds are much more harmful to the public’s knowledge of a particular incident than the big frauds, because the repetition of the false information gives it the appearance of fact.
And among the chapter-and-verse details Spruiell uses to illustrate journalistic fraud is that the story that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Africa was in fact — then and right to this minute — true.
Two key sentences from Spruiell:
But Wilson had confirmed that Baghdad had sought to buy uranium from Niger. […]
The British government continues to vouch for the intelligence report Bush cited in the 2003 State of the Union, declaring it “well-founded”…
So put all this together and here’s what we have.
• Hannity does show on liberal bias, citing Cooper’s reporting on Wilson.
• Cooper strikes back, says he was selectively edited — and shows his version.
• Cooper’s own version shows him referring quite clearly to the “now discredited claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.”
• Stephen Spruiell, whose piece was published before Cooper’s Hannity charge, quite specifically documents that what Cooper is alleging is now gospel in the liberal narrative of the Plame Affair — and, quite specifically, he calls the idea that the uranium charge has been “discredited” as… mark this down… “journalistic fraud.”
• And Anderson Cooper, after showing himself uttering this story line… in his defense, no less… says “I try to choose my words very carefully”
• Finally, there’s reporter Bershad at Mediaite who simply doesn’t even bother to do anything but present Cooper’s unanalyzed story in yet another example of — yes — liberal bias.
I don’t know Anderson Cooper, or Jon Bershad.
But I do know Sean Hannity. One can disagree with him all day long (and as a conservative, I must admit that doesn’t happen with me!) but his integrity — journalistically and otherwise — is untouchable.
The irony here is that in defending himself — and Anderson Cooper is, let’s say for the record, presumably an honorable guy — Cooper has provided a small but extremely pointed example of what Mr. Spruiell calls “journalistic fraud…the fraud occurs through the endless repetition of false information in the background paragraphs that supplement breaking news reports on a constantly developing story
That is precisely what Anderson Cooper has done here.
I have to assume Cooper did this unintentionally. But without doubt Anderson Cooper has provided yet another “Exhibit A” of just how bias in the world of the liberal media works. Precisely as Sean Hannity said it did.
Will Anderson Cooper correct his mistake? Will Jon Bershad at Mediaite investigate?
What do you think?
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