I’ve been trying to wean myself off commenting on the vacuous and vacant kefuffles that erupt and pass for news. And failing. (As it says to the right, I find that “Resistance is futile”.)
But bad behavior by ‘journalists’ in the ‘liberal media’ is always on my list. And now, bad unprofessional behavior by two in 2008, criticized as such by fellow journalists at the time, has been redrawn as proof that not only is the media liberal but they conspire to protect Obama.
The outrage of the last week or so has centered on a ‘list serve’ called Journolist, begun by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. He created it as a place for journalists to discuss and tangle with the stuff they were reporting about. List serves are common in industries – hell, I belong to one and am about to try to start another. But they’re not public – although anything with hundreds of members is not very secret.
The way this became an outrage is just too long for me to recount. Go google it.
Now over the last 48 hours, there’s a new twist which has inspired hours of radio time, the usual FOX treatment and an explosion of right wing outrage in the blogshpere. The indignity – the thing which has set them off – has to do with comments on the list serve following the 2008 Presidential debates, where George Stephanopolous had asked Obama about Rev. Wright and also why he didnt’ wear a flag pin. At the time, a number of media critics and list serve participants – took issue with that – charging the two moderators with a failure to address or ask about the pressing issues of the day.
This old and sorry and not particularly substantive story is what’s set our right wing friends afire. They’ve interpreted it to mean that liberal journalists conspired to protect Obama from hard questions and the criticism following the debate was because anything re Rev. Wright was a hard question so that proves conspiracy. Follow that?
My head hurts.
This 2008 column from Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher pretty much describes what the list serve thread was criticizing:
“In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.
“Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent “bitter” gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright and not wearing a flag pin — while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.
“Then it was back to Obama to defend his slim association with a former ’60s radical [Bill Ayers] — a question that came out of right-wing talk radio and Sean Hannity on TV, but was delivered by former Bill Clinton aide Stephanopoulos. This approach led to a claim that Clinton’s husband pardoned two other ’60s radicals. And so on. The travesty continued.
“More time was spent on all of this than segments on getting out of Iraq and keeping people from losing their homes and — you name it. Gibson only got excited complaining that someone might raise his capital gains tax. Yet neither candidate had the courage to ask the moderators to turn to those far more important issues. Talking heads on other networks followed up by not pressing that point either. The crowd booed Gibson near the end. Why didn’t every other responsible journalist on TV?” [emphasis mine]