Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Gloating and Trembling over Rather's fallout

I don't remember where I read things, and so my linkage to the deserving blogs is dreadful. I'm sorry about that . . .

Anyway, this post is about the tremblings of Big, Old, hardened-artery Media and the gloating of New, Fresh, little zippy Bloggers. Zippy Bloggers have been singing thusly:

Rather, Burkett and Mape
had a story taking shape!
They'd stab their prez right in the back and Bush would not escape!
AAAAnnnd their ratings would be greeeaat AASSSS all their viewers gaped!

So Rather jumped through hoops
to push ahead his scoop
But bloggers saw right through his poop and now Dan RAAAAther's head's in a loop!

Ding Dong Old Media's Dead
Which Old Media?
The Big Old Media!
Ding Dong the Big Old Media's dead!
It's goooonnne where the goblins go
below . .


and Big Old Media responded with numerous snarky comments and articles about pajamas and [snort, chuckle] blogger's lack of checks and balances.

But, if not for big old media, the best of bloggers wouldn't have much to talk about. And, if not for new, zippy bloggers, big old media would continue to suck.

Imagine if the forged media story had been shorter and more honest. What if Rather & co. had posted the documents without the trumped up story? What if they'd included all the expert opinions, as well as all the interviews? Then sat back and watched the blogosphere examine it?

Well, there's always the possiblity that it wouldn't have been examined if it had been reported properly. But assuming it was examined? Rather & co could have sat back, let the blogosphere done the legwork, verified the conclusions, then come back with a real story: "Somebody out there is so willing to drag this president through the mud that they were willing to forge documents and risk prison." They could have served up a warning to us all - to be careful and cynical. They coulda come up smelling like a rose.

Well, maybe next time. For now, old media could remember this little axion:

1) Say what you mean.
2) Mean what you say.
3) Shut up.

Old media also has to remember that the meaning of news reporting is to report, dammit! I don't need their opinions; I have plenty of my own. So we'll revise that axiom:

1) Report what you know.
2) Know what you report.
3) Shut up.

BTW, you can't 'know' an opinion. You can have one, believe one, and feel one, but you can't know one. You can reach conclusions based on facts, but you can't know a conclusion either. You can only know facts.

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