Beginning with the arrival of the Swift Vets in the summer of 2004, we’ve noticed a pattern in the MSM of their opinion and editorial journalists referencing stories that they assume their readers are entirely familiar with — even though they were never reported initially by the MSM’s hard news division, but only via Drudge, the Blogosphere, talk radio, and other “alternative,” but these days absolutely essential news sources.
The latest example is CBS and the F-bombs the president received this past week from the self-styled gentry class “progressives” in his own party. Noel Sheppard writes at Newsbusters:
It only took three days, but someone at CBS News finally realized that at least one House Democrat on Thursday vulgarly referred to the President of the United States.
Unlike most of his colleagues in the media, Bob Schieffer was so disturbed by this revelation that he asked two different Democrat guests about it on the most recent installment of “Face the Nation” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
But of course, as always, the role of the MSM is to play gatekeeper to the negative news about their party, rather than actually disseminate it. That strategy worked remarkably well until the arrival of alternative media in the wake of 9/11. Or as Tony Blankley wrote in 2004:
Mark the calendar. August 2004 is the first time that the major mainline media — CBSNBCABCNEWYORKTIMESWASHINGTONPOST
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.”
August of 2004 would be the first time, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last, as Van Jones and other scandals involving MSM sacred cows reminded us long before this latest example. Or as Andy Levy of Fox News’ Red Eye show quipped on Twitter immediately after Van went under the Obama bus, “Won’t it be weird when people who don’t get their news from the Internet or FNC have no idea who the guy who resigned is?”