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Ed Driscoll

Help Us Obi-Dan Kenobi, You’re Our Only Hope!

September 8th, 2009 - 7:44 pm

Over on Accuracy In Media’s Weblog, Cliff Kincaid writes, “Progressives Look to Dan Rather for Salvation.”

Wow. Good luck with that:

If you want some indication of the disarray that the “progressives” find themselves in, consider that disgraced broadcaster Dan Rather will be keynoting a September 23 event sponsored by The Nation magazine on “What Will Become of the News?” The Nation calls Rather “legendary,” ignoring how he was put out to pasture by CBS News after he used fake documents in 2004 to smear then-President Bush. Tickets to hear and see Rather are $200 each.

Rather is a legend in his own mind-and apparently the minds of those left-wingers who appreciate his effort to defeat Bush’s re-election bid and throw the election to Senator John Kerry. However, the effort backfired, thanks to conservative bloggers who exposed Rather’s anti-Bush documents as fake. If liberals want to understand “What Will Become of the News?,” they first have to understand what Rather & Company did to it. They seem ignorant.

Similarly, there are many “progressives” who pretend not to understand why Van Jones had to resign.

One is John Nichols, writing on The Nation website, who says that Jones’ signature on a 9/11 truth statement is comparable to a Republican congressman speaking at a teabagger rally with controversial signs in the audience or a talk-show host agreeing with callers claiming Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.

Liberal blogger Jane Hamsher is mystified as well by the Jones exit, saying she remembers only about a year ago going to a Campaign for America’s Future conference and noticing how Jones “was being swarmed by all of the liberal institutional elite…” But now, “he’s being thrown under the bus…” There are photos of Jones posing with such luminaries as Bono, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

On the left-wing website AlterNet, Adele Stan insists that Jones was done in by oil interests. A variation on this theme was offered by Harvey Wasserman on the Rag Blog website, who claims Jones was a victim of “King CONG,” standing for coal, oil, nukes, and gas.

Don Hazen and Arianna Huffington, who, it turns out, once employed Jones, are trying to put a happy face on his ouster, saying that he’ll do better on the outside of government than on the inside. Huffington, who acquired her wealth from her ex-husband, Michael Huffington, who turned out to be a secret homosexual, was one of those whose endorsements had been featured on the back of Jones’ book. She’s got egg all over her face.

(We still need to find out how a sister company of Fox News published the Jones book, The Green Collar Economy).

Nichols and Carl Davidson, also writing on the Rag Blog site, insist that “McCarthyism” did Jones in, which only serves to prove that the left finally understands that Senator Joseph McCarthy did go after real communists. [It's also a reminder of how the definition of the word "McCarthyism" has morphed over the years, amongst the left -- Ed]

Jones was a real communist, which makes White House flak Robert Gibbs’ statement to ABC News that Obama “thanks him for his service” very troubling but revealing.

The media’s silence on the Van Jones story leads Lorie Byrd to ponder at Town Hall if the right is slowly Becoming the Mainstream Media”:

What is happening now is something those in the conservative movement might not have ever dreamed possible. Although the goal of reforming the mainstream media has not been achieved, something more amazing has. In some ways the outlets conservatives hoped would provide balance to the mainstream media, are becoming the mainstream.

Something happened last week that underscored this phenomenon. News outlets like the New York Times and NBC and ABC evening newscasts refused to cover the revelations surrounding President Obama’s “green jobs” czar, Van Jones. When those revelations of Jones signing a 911 “Truther” petition, calling Republicans a—holes and claiming white polluters were poisoning black communities reached the point that Jones was forced to resign, some of those news outlets had to cover the resignation. What should cause them embarrassment and damage any shred of credibility they have left as reliable news sources is that many of them had neglected to inform their audiences of any of the events leading up to the resignation.

As Andrew Breitbart put it, “For most people in this country, the resignation was the first they had heard of Van Jones. For this sin of journalistic omission, there’s institutional media blame. Bias is too tame a word for the utter shamelessness on display: Only Republican scandals – real and imagined – matter.”

Blogger Kim Priestap said that since Fox News was the only media outlet to cover Van Jones’ radicalism, some in the conservative community say that shows Fox is the mainstream media and the other broadcast outlets are the fringe. The numbers certainly point to that.

Fox News regularly beats its cable news competitors. Glenn Beck’s show on Fox (which heavily covered the Van Jones story) recently saw its audience exceed 3 million viewers – and that is for a show that airs at 5 p.m. EST when most viewers are still at work.

Beck repeatedly draws more viewers than all his cable news competitors combined. Keith Olbermann of MSNBC was so outraged by Beck’s coverage of Van Jones’ past that Olbermann put out a plea to readers of the liberal Daily Kos blog to dig up dirt on Glenn Beck, his producer, and Fox News President Roger Ailes. I guess when Olbermann’s attempt to claim Fox News was not the top rated cable news channel because they were not a real news channel didn’t work, and since beating Fox in the ratings by actually reporting the news to viewers is not an option for the truth-challenged Olbermann and his colleagues at MSNBC, hoping to dig up some dirt on the competition must be the last, best option.

Refusing to report news about the background of a man in charge of billions of taxpayer dollars was bad, and made even worse since that news was already appearing all over the internet and on the highest rated cable news channel in the country. But when leading cable news pseudo-journalists like Olbermann, and even respected news legends like Tom Brokaw, attacked those who dared to tell the truth about Jones’ past, they furthered the idea that Fox is the mainstream and they are the fringe.

Fox News, talk radio and internet news sources are not just in competition with CNN and MSNBC. They are still vastly outnumbered by not only national newspapers and network news, but also even some content that appears in non-news programming. In that respect, Fox and alternative media are still in the minority, but a trend is growing at record speed. That trend is for those seeking news to head to sources like Fox News, talk radio and the internet. That would make those sources the mainstream. It almost boggles the mind. Conservative thought has always been the mainstream. Maybe the country’s choice of where they get their news is finally following.

Maybe — but as somebody who’s also watched from the trenches the rise of the starboard half of the Blogosphere, let’s wait for the end of 2010 and — especially — 2012, before deciding the playing field has been leveled. (See also Jonah Goldberg’s take from 2003.) But yeah, increasing numbers of the American public are waking up to the fact that (a) media have two sets of standards, and (b) trutherism is alive and well on the left.

To bring this post full circle, Stephen Spruiell provides his own state of The Nation address:

From The Nation‘s defense of Van Jones, linked below:

Those heirs to Joe McCarthy who have been waging a campaign to discredit and dismiss high-ranking African-American appointees of the Obama administration have highlighted the fact that Jones’ name appeared on a petition calling for an aggressive inquiry into whether Bush-Cheney administration aides failed to take necessary steps to prevent the 9/11 attacks. [e.a.]

That’s a lie, John Nichols of The Nation. The petition Jones signed called for, quote: “[an] immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur.

Progressives are choosing to make Van Jones a symbol of everything that has gone wrong for them this summer. Cap and trade has stalled. The public option appears to be dead. The stimulus has become a punchline. And now a true believer in their causes has been driven from the White House by, in their telling, a racist, McCarthyite, right-wing mob. In all of these cases, the administration has disappointed them — by being too eager to compromise, too quick to surrender, or too meek in the scope of its ambition. The Van Jones resignation has brought all those frustrations to a boil, leading some otherwise-respectable voices on the left to say some very dumb things in his defense.

One thing I did not expect to see in the fallout from the Jones resignation was excuses for 9/11 conspiracy-mongering from TNR, the Huffington Post, and The Nation. Keep it up, guys. By all means, keep it up.

Glenn Reynolds explores another old media blackout, here.

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