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Ed Driscoll

Everybody’s Working for the Weekend

August 30th, 2011 - 3:40 pm

Hey, is it Friday already? Saturday night? Sunday afternoon? From Van Jones’ trip to the undercarriage of the Magical Misery Tour bus, to the passing of ObamaCare, to the lowering of America’s debt rating, bad news for this administration has invariably happened on weekends, far from the madding crowd of news anchors.

Until today:

First, remember that Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson met with congressional investigators Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley last July 4 to discuss Fast and Furious, against DOJ recommendations. In a letter to Eric Holder, they noted that his “cooperation was extremely helpful to our investigation.”

Next, remember that two ATF agents who were less than forthcoming during a congressional hearing were recently promoted.

Now, understand that Melson wasn’t “fired.” He was “reassigned” from running the ATF “to the position of senior adviser on forensic science in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Programs.”

Or as the Datechguy quips, “ATF chief resigns and nobody knows why – at least nobody who follows the MSM:”

Politico actually has given the scandal a fair amount of coverage yet unlike other stories on the site the networks, particularly MSNBC which normally feeds off it, took little or no interest in Fast and Furious or gunrunner or any of the other names the ATF scandal has adopted.

So for the second time in this administration (the first being Van Jones) a figure has resigned and the section of the public who doesn’t read conservative blogs or watch Fox news do not know who the person is or why he resigned or any background of the scandal.

This isn’t all that new a development; as Tony Blankley wrote in 2004:

Mark the calendar. August 2004 is the first time that the major mainline media — CBSNBCABCNEWYORKTIMESWASHINGTONPOST
L.A.TIMESNEWSWEEKTIMEMAGAZINEASSOCIATED
PRESSETC. — ignored a news story that nonetheless became known by two-thirds of the country within two weeks of it being mentioned by the “marginal” press.

It was only after a CBS poll showed that Kerry had lost a net 14 percent of the veteran’s vote to Bush — without aid of major media coverage or substantial national advertising — that the major media outlets began to lumber, resentfully, in the vague direction of the story. And even then, they hardly engaged themselves in the spirit of objective journalism.

According to Editor and Publisher, the respected voice of official big-time journalism: “Chicago Tribune managing editor James O’Shea tells Joe Strupp the Swift Boat controversy may be an instance of a growing problem for newspapers in the expanding media world — being forced to follow a questionable story because non-print outlets have made it an issue. “There are too many places for people to get information,” says O’Shea. “I don’t think newspapers can be gatekeepers anymore — to say this is wrong, and we will ignore it. Now we have to say this is wrong, and here is why.”

Now, there are two revealing statements there. First, it is odd to see Mr. O’Shea, an official, credentialed seeker of truth, complaining about “too many places for people to get information.” He sounds like a resentful old apparatchik glaring at a Xerox machine in the dying days of the Soviet Union.

The second noteworthy statement is the hilarious complaint that they can no longer merely think a story is wrong and ignore it: “Now we have to say this is wrong, and here is why.” It apparently escaped his thought process that if he hadn’t yet investigated the story, it might not be “wrong.” A seeker of truth in a competitive environment might have phrased the sentence: “Now we will have to report it to determine if it is right or wrong.”

When Van Jones was fired/resigned in September of 2009, Mickey Kaus wrote:

Mickey Kaus asks, “Where’s the New York Times?”

Noah Silverman notes:

Readers of the print edition will never have heard of the presidential appointee so controversial the President had to dump him. Is this a milestone in the decline of the NYT?

I’ve been waiting for the day when a prominent pol resigns and for print MSM readers it appears to be out-of-the-blue, though everyone on the Web knows the whole story.  But for WaPo’Franke-Ruta and Kornblut, this would be that case. … In any case, more evidence that you can’t find out whats going on by reading the Times.

Hopefully the Times has added plenty of reinforcement to the walls of the cocoon — they’re going to get quite a workout between now and November of 2012.

Related: Ron Radosh on “Two Major Examples of Why We Can’t Trust the Mainstream Media.” Or to put it another way, “No editors on the Review will ever know whether any given editor was selected on the basis of grades, writing competition, or affirmative action, and no editors who were selected with affirmative action in mind.“

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