Fisking Michael StandaertT
he LA Times' review
of Hugh Hewitt's new book Blog
is enlightening. The Times
selected a person named Michael Standaert, with whom I am unfamiliar. I do know this... he has literally set the standard for left-leaning MSM shills to follow. He will be hard to top.
I hereby call him out for a brisk fisking.
|...this book is a sustained effort of partisan hackery aimed at further eroding trust in what the author Hugh Hewitt calls "mainstream liberal media," which for him means anything to the left of Rush Limbaugh. This regurgitated mantra, in the hands of skilled marketers, can be applied to the latest hot brand — in this case anything to do with blogs...|
In a non-subjective, academic, and peer-reviewed study
Tim Grose-Close and Jeff Milyo, of the University of Chicago and Stanford University, meticulously vetted the mainstream media. Their conclusion?
|...Although we expected to find that most media lean left, we were astounded by the degree...|
Michael, Stanford and U. of Chicago are hardly bastions of conservative thought. Methinks there is a rather large problem in asserting that the mainstream media is anything but biased. Unless, of course, you can provide a peer-reviewed study that mainstream media is biased to the right. I won't hold my breath.
|[Hewitt is] ...a sort of right-wing Robin Hood stealing from the rich liberal mainstream media and giving back the correct information to the hinterlands...|
Right wing Robin Hood? I can hardly detect even a scintilla of biased sarcasm there, can you? Standaert's agenda couldn't be more clear than if he electronically scrolled it over Times Square during rush hour.
|...Hewitt has chosen the Protestant Reformation as a mirror on how blogging is leading a reformation against the mainstream media. He focuses largely on the case of "Rathergate" at CBS and how blogs were the first to point out the discrepancies in the documents CBS anchor Dan Rather said alleged that President Bush received preferential treatment during his National Guard service...|
The lynchpin analogy of the book is startlingly accurate. And I've noticed that you, Mr. Standaert, have no answer to Hewitt's assertions. The Rathergate affair is, well, rather well-documented. Born in the bowels of the Free Republic
message board, it resonated through the blogs at speeds the MSM could only dream of achieving.
|[Hewitt's] ...fanatical fervor leads him down the path of triumphalist bombast...|
When the entire world of the mainstream media has been demonstrably upended, such a statement is neither accurate nor even responsible. The only bombast I have detected thus far, is yours, Mr. Standaert: the imprimatur of the LA Times
is hardly a substitute for common sense. As experts have, on multiple occasions, already demonstrated
|...Without traditional media to feed off of, there would be little for most political bloggers to link to and comment on... |
Ah, the centerpiece of the review. And amazingly, shockingly, startlingly wrong... as even the events of the last several days have demonstrated
. The blogosphere first reported upon
and then proliferated the story of the Eason Jordan affair
in a manner reminiscent of... Genghis Kahn (sorry, couldn't help myself)... an uncontrollable wildfire, thanks to people like Mr. Hewitt.
|...Lott's and Rather's own miscues and ethical lapses were what ultimately brought them down — not bloggers...|
Hardly. One is left simply to wonder how many Rathergates and Easongates have occurred, unreported, over the years. It is an unsettling thought.
|...It was up to USA Today, part of that liberal mainstream media, to uncover the scandal that journalist Armstrong Williams was being paid by the Department of Education to talk up the federal "No Child Left Behind" program — not bloggers...|
Ah, the proverbial victory for the MSM over the new media. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time. The MSM has its place, but there is little question -- especially after the Jordan affair -- that the blogosphere now holds the leash on the poodle.
|...The other fallacy is that blogging will supplant mainstream media and that the emergence of blogs will be similar to the outcome the invention of the printing press had on furthering the Reformation by giving common folk access to the Bible in their own languages. There are cases to be made about how the blogging revolution will change mainstream media habits and dissemination, but unfortunately Hewitt's "independent" position advocates right-wing, corporate or advertisement blogging...|
Once again, reality intrudes into Mr. Standaert's artificially constructed world. The blogosphere is already leading the MSM around by the nose. One only need look at the circulation woes
of the LA Times and its owners or the catastrophic ratings slide of CNN
. Stories like the Swiftboat Vets
and Eason Jordan burst from the blogosphere to Fox, not the other way around.
|...Hewitt is a bit more forthcoming about the ethical dilemma faced among the top tier of political bloggers who may or may not get paid to advocate for causes, saying "bloggers should disclose — prominently and repeatedly — when they are receiving payments from individuals or organizations about whom or which they are blogging." But in the book, Hewitt describes how blogs should be used by opinion makers to get their points across through directly influencing the most prominent bloggers...|
Because their credibility, the foundation of trust, is at stake. It's called accountability
, and its a concept that has been foreign to the MSM... until now.
|What Hewitt fails to see is that there already is a growing infrastructure of litblogs available that are independent, not beholden to a single publisher and not taking payola to promote or trash competitors' books.|
Talk about a non-sequiter. Litblogs? You mean litblogs like this
? That happen to be the tiny fiefdoms of one Michael Standaert? Outstanding, my friend. It's lovely that you've been able to embrace, even for just a few minutes (which this review could hardly have occupied), altruism and resist pitching your tiny genre of the blogosphere. Oh wait, you couldn't... and didn't.
and its brethren (the AJC and CNN
among them) are still in denial, hoping that the good old days will return and that the importance of the blogosphere will somehow magically dissipate. Bad news, boys. It won't.
Attempting to tar bloggers like Hugh Hewitt in an attempt to win back credibility is not only pathetic. It's laughable. The circulation numbers and Nielsen ratings are cold, hard reminders that there's a new sheriff in town
. Better get used to the idea.