Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mitch Wagner's feeble apologia for the New York Times

Mitch Wagner, writing at InformationWeek's PoliticalTech blog, has an interesting job. Last week, he wrote about the odd interplay between blogs and the mainstream media.

In this case, an Internet site reported that the child Sarah Palin claimed was her own was actually her teen-aged daughter's, and the elder Palin was lying to cover up her daughter's pregnancy. Journalists started digging into the report to find out whether it was true, which led to the McCain campaign issuing a statement: The child is, indeed, the elder Palin's.

Bob Evans, a senior vice president at TechWeb (and Wagner's "boss's boss's boss") complimented the coverage but added:

...it was okay for the drive-by media to savage a 17-year-old because...well...why was that okay again? And then, several paragraphs later, you mention that the very same drive-by media ignored reports--for eight months!--that a Presidential candidate had impregnated a staffer while having an affair with her. I would think, Mitch, that your analysis of this complex situation would have touched on the stunningly different approaches taken by the drive-by media in these two cases. Why did they immediately and brutally and relentlessly tear into the life and behavior of a 17-year-old who had only a marginal connection to the presidential campaign, yet totally ignore for eight months---eight months!---the lies and deceit and *relevant* story involving John Edwards? ... Why did the NY Times run three --- THREE!! --- cover stories on Tuesday about Bristol Palin, but has said next to nothing about Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, or Barack Obama and Tony Rezko, or Barack Obama and how he’ll make the oceans fall and the sick heal?

Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the blog Daily Kos, which drove the Bristol Palin story into the national spotlight, "addresses that point pretty well" (at least according to Wagner):

Her daughter's pregnancy *is* relevant in the context of her mother's opposition to sex education and her vetoing of funding for a shelter for pregnant teens. And, Republicans can't complain about families being drug into the national debate when they've been virtually pimping their Iraq-bound son. Either family is all in, or all out.

Put in polite terms: horses***. Furthermore, Kos actually erased diaries and banned authors from its site when they mentioned the Edwards affair. Free speech, eh?

As for "her mother's opposition to sex education"? An utter and complete fabrication as reported by the Los Angeles Times: "The Republican vice presidential candidate says students should be taught about condoms."

Wagner goes on to offer a feeble apology for the Times', eh, selective coverage.

...The Times screwed up by failing to report the Edwards story. They admit it. And now, faced with another story of how a candidate in the Presidential election handles a family-values issue, should the Times have backed off of that story? ...Bob also wants to know why mainstream journalists have given Obama a free ride on his links to Ayers and Rezko.

Here, Mitch puts words in Evans' mouth. Bob didn't ask why mainstream journalists had ignored Ayers and Rezko; he asked why The New York Times had suppressed the story. After all, the Times represents the sine qua non of the print media.

The Times gave up the ghost years ago. That's why it's stock chart looks like a ski jump ramp.

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