By only moderating the conventional news presentation models slightly, Fox became tremendously attractive to right wing viewers. It’s little wonder that it took so long for someone to try the same thing on the left. Of course, getting to the left of the other networks required more extreme behavior, but that’s a challenge Olbermann has more than met. In doing so, his show has become a major success story, especially among those desirable young viewers.
Fox’s and Olbermann’s success will provide encouragement for other news organizations. The New York Times today published a remarkably obtuse editorial that merits some attention. Writing about the Hamdan trial in an essay risibly titled “Guilty as Ordered,” the editors observed:
Now that was a real nail-biter. The court designed by the White House and its Congressional enablers to guarantee convictions of high-profile detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba–using evidence obtained by torture and secret evidence as desired–has held its first trial. It produced … a guilty verdict.
The military commission of six senior officers (whose names have not been made public) found Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who worked as one of Osama bin Laden’s drivers until 2001, guilty of one count of providing material support for terrorism.
The rules of justice on Guantanamo are so stacked against defendants that the only surprise was that Mr. Hamdan was actually acquitted on the more serious count of conspiring (it was unclear with whom) to kill Americans during the invasion of Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.
The charge on which Mr. Hamdan was convicted seemed logical since he did work as Mr. bin Laden’s driver.
Naturally, the Times rushed this editorial into print before Hamdan was sentenced to a mere 5 1/2 years in jail. The editorial also acknowledges that he was found not guilty of the more serious charge, and was indeed guilty of the charge that he was convicted of. And yet the editors ludicrously wrote, “Guilty as ordered.”
This is fever swamp stuff. What’s more, it’s intellectually lazy/supremely idiotic fever swamp stuff. Take it from someone who reads the Daily Kos–something so intellectually incoherent and factually sloppy would never make it on to the Kos front page. And yet there it was, the lead editorial for America’s paper of record this morning.
I have difficulty in believing that the Times editors have all been simultaneously beaten with a stupid stick. Instead, it’s more likely that the Times, whether consciously or unconsciously, is trying to follow the new news paradigm of looking for an audience among partisans.