Thursday, April 29, 2004
Some random musings on the state of the media:
1) Interesting how ABC News -- or, the New York bureau of Al Jazeera, as I like to call them -- chose to devote an entire Nightline to reading a roll call of American war dead. Pity they couldn't devote a similar show to reading the roster of WTC victims, Pentagon victims, or even the gassed Kurds and hundreds of thousands of Saddam's murdered subjects: 'Nightline' plan to read war dead riles some
2) Lots of left-leaning pundits expressed glee and mock consternation over Cheney accompanying Bush to the 9/11 Commission hearings ("...watch, I'll drink a glass of water while President Bush answers your questions..."). But I can't seem to find too many mentions of the fact that Clinton had both Sandy Berger and another White House staff member with him during his testimony. The name escapes me at the moment but, true to form, I can find approximately eighteen quadrillion references to Bush/Cheney's testimony in a Google News search but virtually none mentioning Clinton's posse.
3) During Condy Rice's testimony, a lot of media attention was focused on Bob Kerrey's "swatting a fly" comment. "Kerrey expressed frustration with Rice's references to President Bush being "tired of swatting flies" in dealing with overseas terror outbreaks. "What fly had he swatted?" Kerrey said. "We only swatted a fly once, on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterward. How the hell could he be tired?"... Kerrey said. "After the attack on the (USS) Cole in 2000, it would not have been a swatting of a fly. There were a lot of military plans in place in the Clinton administration."
Hmmm... nice try, Bob. After the USS Cole attack, Kerrey said... let's see... that he did not advocate a military response to that attack... instead, he gave a speech that the best thing the U.S. could do would be to address the threat represented by Iraq's leader, none other than Saddam Hussein. The transcipt (nor the media) does not record the color of Kerrey's face after this fact was pointed out to the commission: Rice delivers tough defense of administration
4) For that matter, the right-leaning Fox News can be overbearing and unbelievably tabloid at times. "Around the world in 80 seconds" is useful if you have the attention span of a parakeet. It's compelling if you're interested in, say, the kangaroo that dragged the tobacco farmer out of a burning barn or the tragicomic drama of a tractor-trailer smashing into a bus loaded with rodeo clowns. But if you're interested in hard news and analysis that is really fair and balanced, I'm not sure where you turn.
Surprisingly, PBS' News Hour with Jim Lehrer might be the closest thing we have to truly thoughtful reporting. Alas, despite Joan Croc's $200 million bequest to PBS, their powers-that-be are still hitting up Washington's Left for their traditional grants while shilling coffee mugs and PBS "flair" for donations from the unwashed masses.
at 10:02 PM