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In an altogether bizarre and illogical rant on NPR that atrios found, a person named Amy Alexander, rendered this criticism of blogs:

[O]ne of the biggest lessons I took away from the many years I've spent in newsrooms is this: Without editors, you are dead, specifically without a copy desk. You might as well be standing in your living room, ranting away, facts be damned. That brings me back to my point about blogs. Not all blog readers know the difference between pure unfiltered, unedited opinion and good old-fashioned solidly reported news.

Well, and some blogs do. And some "media critics" don't. Take this example of the "invaluable editing" done by the ABC newsroom, as exposed by Keith Olberman:

[Scooter Libby's attorney Ted] Wells released a beautiful hunk of "chaff" -- the stuff submarine captains expel to try to throw off enemy torpedoes -- in his claim about Woodward's announcement that someone at the White House told him about Valerie Plame in June, 2003. Wells made it seem as if Woodward had just proved that Libby was not the first to leak Plame's name and/or job to a reporter, and that in so doing, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case had just tumbled to the ground.

But he did it only by altering the truth. Wells issued a statement at midday, the key passage of which concludes that Woodward's "disclosure shows that Mr. Fitzgerald's statement at his press conference of October 28, 2005 that Mr. Libby was the first government official to tell a reporter about Mr. Wilson's wife was totally inaccurate."

But Fitzgerald never said that. The transcript of Fitzgerald's news conference is not disputed -- nobody from his office has called up trying to get it altered after the fact. On October 28, Fitzgerald actually said: "Mr. Libby was the first government official known to have told a reporter" about Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife.

"The first government official known to have told..." is a huge difference from "The first government official to tell..." . . . This is no one-word parsing nonsense. Not only does that meaning of "known" change entirely the meaning of Fitzgerald's statement, but its related root words (know, knowing, knowingly etc) have been the keys to whether or not anybody was indicted for revealing Plame's covert status at the CIA.

The problem, of course, is that such subtlety can shoot right past those who either want to miss it, or are in too much of a hurry to check the transcript. I read Wells' quote and thought `that doesn't sound right.' The producers of ABC's World News Tonight read Wells' quote and evidently didn't hear any such alarm bells. The transcript is not yet out, but at 6:30 ET tonight, Elizabeth Vargas stated -- and I am paraphrasing -- that the Woodward revelations were important because they contradicted Patrick Fitzgerald's statement that Libby was the first to leak.

Besides failing at doing the most basic of fact checking, ABC News also missed a basic point, as Olberman points out -- it matters not one whit to the case against Libby whether he was the first leaker or not. How in blazes is it "important" to Libby's case? One reason, according to ABC - because Libby's lawyer said so.

Now, if Amy Alexander wants to absorb another difference between the Media and some blogs - another one has been demonstrated - bloggers THINK for themselves. All last night and all day, some bloggers had not just been stenographers, they reached their own conclusions based on a review of the facts.

Apparently, having "editors" means never actually using your brain.

Update [2005-11-17 7:37:46 by Armando]: And blackfrancis points out that the AP and its "editors" made the exact same mistake. How bad is the Media? That bad.

Update [2005-11-17 7:44:7 by Armando]: the OTHER rasmussen reports that Tim Russert, Keith Olberman's NBC colleague, just repeated the exact same mistake on the Today Show.

And we blog readers know this happens ALL the time.

Update [2005-11-17 7:53:27 by Armando]: the OTHER rasmussen is on the case, and reports that CNN is also making this mistake.

Here's my question, have news organizations eliminated "editors" since Amy Alexander's heyday?

Update [2005-11-17 8:0:10 by Armando]: Josh Marshall points out that the genesis of this error starts with the original Washington Post story. Oh, to have editors.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:29 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Olbermann rocks, that's a fact. (4.00)
    Howard Stern played clips of Olberman taking on the religious right and naming Limbaugh "World's Worst Person" for suckering people into buying his shit "for the troops".  Howard said he is switching to Olbermann's show because he dared to tell the truth and take on groups most MSM is too pantywaisted to take on.

    I agree with Howard.  Olbermann is the shiznit.

    --Liberate your radio--

    by Sam Loomis on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:28:31 AM PST

    •  that segment was great (none)
      i hope the Stern plug helps ratings....
      •  Two years ago (none)
        I used to listen to Stern religiously then all of a sudden one morning I woke up and bam no more Stern.  It was about a month after janet jackson exposed her breast.  

        I was so depressed I would look for any news coverage about Clear Channel and how they give all this money to Bush and how Howard's opinion of Bush had gone south right about the time his show was pulled.  

        Suprise, surprise, no one was covering it except Keith O that is how I was first exposed to Countdown.  He covered the story closely even updating us when Howard got thousands of his fans to complain to the FCC about Oprah's "sex tips" show and how nothing happened but Howard was pulled becuase of TWO complaints.

        Its not easy being a Floridian.

        by lawstudent922 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:45:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Let's see... (4.00)
      Olbermann -- a member of the press who also blogs -- checks his facts; Russert -- no blog -- doesn't.  So, the problem with bloggers is...what again??

      Seems to me that those who blog take the time to make sure it's right -- no news deadline to meet, no ratings to worry about, no sponsors to please.

      So, who are the responsible reporters -- the bloggers like Olbermann who check, or the "reporters" like Russert who read what's on the teleprompter?

      Stay strong!

      "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a Party that ignores her sex." -- Susan B. Anthony

      by Yellow Dog Dem Woman on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:13:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Russert was sneaky- (none)
        He said- Libby's lawyer he could later have deniability.  But in the driveby news- (7-7:30 on Today Show is ANYTHING political short of a funeral- they yammer all day about any important dead person) Russert gets 3 minutes and he wastes it spinning pro Libby crap without really lying.  I read Olbermann last night so I listened carefully.

        He is hedging though- admitted subtly that the republicans are maounting a big offense and saying their insiders have been asking for 3 weeks when it would come.

        They were waiting for a break in the dying in Iraq.  Anyone else notice now they are breaking the dead announcements into soldiers and marines- 3 and 1 yesterday, 1 and 5 today.  Is this to make us do math?  Or to take away from 4 and 6 as the numbers.  Or could the families have asked to clarify?  Do soldiers and marines really not want to be lumped together THAT much?  I know they care somewhat, but really, for separate death announcements.  This is last two days on CNN.

        "At the very least, we should see to it that no one who works hard all week has to live in poverty and without access to good health care." William Raspberry

        by murrayewv on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:31:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is an AP story by TONI LOCY and PETE YOST (none)
        that claims, in the first paragraph that,
        Bob Woodward's version of when and where he learned the identity of a CIA operative contradicts a special prosecutor's contention that Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide was the first to make the disclosure to reporters.

        Please take a moment to contact the reports via AP, as I did, to comment on their shoddy leg work.  The email address, according to the AP FAQ, "How do I contact a reporter or editor?" Unfortunately, there is no email contact address for the specific reporters.  You are instructed to send an email to, and they will get your message to the appropriate reporter.  Maybe if they hear from enough of us...

        Stay strong!  Stay vocal!!!

        "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a Party that ignores her sex." -- Susan B. Anthony

        by Yellow Dog Dem Woman on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:45:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I sent them an email yesterday (4.00)
          Dear Toni and Pete:

          Your first paragraph is incorrect and misleading:

          Bob Woodward's version of when and where he learned the identity of a CIA operative contradicts a special prosecutor's contention that Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide was the first to make the disclosure to reporters.

          Bob Woodward's version in no way contradicts Fitzgerald's statement, which was (in part):

          "But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson's wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told."

          In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson."

          Link to Fitzgerald transcript

          Fitzgerald made no assertion that Libby was the first official to have told a reporter, or in your words that Libby "was the first to make the disclosure to reporters", only that he was the first official known to have done so.  A HUGE difference, in my opinion, and in no way contradictory.

          It would be helpful if you and other reporters wouldn't simply pen the spin of Mr. Wells as fact. I expect more accuracy from you than from a lawyer looking out for the interest of his client.

          Thank you,

          The email I sent it to was:
      •  The problem with blogs is... (4.00)
        The problem for the MSM is that in an era where they are expected to garner eye balls and spend as little money as possible doing it, they are getting outdone by the blogs.  It baffles me how all of these members of the press come out and attack blogs for not holding to the basic standards of journalism that the MSM abandoned at least a decade ago.  Do not judge lest you be judged.

        If you want well researched and fact checked information are you better off going to cable news or to a blog?  If you even have to think about that question for a moment the MSM has a serious problem.  Clearly if I want a bunch of biased diatribe I can already get that in far greater supply on-line than I can on even Fox News.  

        So they are screwed.  They talk like the press is still holding to a standard Murrow would be proud of.  No, they are exactly what he warned us about.  

        --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

        by sterno on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:24:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't get me wrong... (none)
      I like Keith Olbermann, a lot.  However, at the risk of nitpicking, it would be better if he used the correct analogies.

      Chaff has nothing to do with submarines:

      Chaff (radar countermeasure)
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

      Chaff is a radar countermeasure in which aircraft or other targets spread a cloud of small, thin bits of aluminum or plastic, which appears as a cluster of secondary targets on radar screens.

      Modern armed forces use chaff (often deployed with short-ranged SRBOC rockets) to distract radar-guided missiles from their targets. Most military aircraft and warships have chaff dispensing systems for self-defense. An intercontinental ballistic missile may release in its midcourse phase several independent warheads, a large number of decoys, and chaff.

      Chaff can also be used to signal distress by an aircraft when communications are not functional. This has the same effect as an SOS, and can be picked up on radar. It is done by dropping chaff every 2 minutes.

      •  Olbermann got chaff wrong? (none)
        Looks like he could have used a good editor.
      •  But the difference is (none)
        KO will C O R R E C T a mistake or a miss-spoken statement if he becomes aware of it before any editor catches it.

        Great Diary

        "I'm not going to be your monkey"

        by gabie on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:32:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chaffing (none)
        Thank You.  You saved me a reply.  That's one problem most Liberals have when they talk about anything military. They don't know beans about the military or its technology.
      •  chaff talk (none)
        Before it was a military countermeasure, "chaff" was the word used to describe the hull surrounding grain.  The term "separating the wheat from the chaff" refers to the process of sorting those two parts of the plant after harvest. It has come to mean separating that which is valuable from that which is not. In this case, KO might have done well to stay with the original meaning for his analogy. But you gotta love the guy anyway...
    •  Yay!! (none)
      I love Stern and I love Oblerman.  (sometimes the naked girls gets boringon HS)

      Its not easy being a Floridian.

      by lawstudent922 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:25:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amy probably thinks (4.00)
    Judy Miller and Bob Woodward have tons of credibility, too.

    I mean, they had editors, right?  So what they said was factual, right?

    •  Extending the Press Pretense? (none)
      No thanks.

      At least with blogs there is no pretense as to fact or fiction and it is left solely up to the beholder to determine the strength or validity of what it written.

      "The press" on the other hand still enjoys the pretense of being factual.

      Enjoys? Yeah. Enjoys.
      Takes advantage of.
      Trades on.

      The editing profession has been redefined, instead of answering up to fact, clarity, and truth, editors are made to enable messages and those who spew them.

    •  Furthermore (none)
      Who REALLY believes that their editors were totally in the dark.  Not me.

      It gives the institution plausible deniability to give the impression that Miller and Woodward are lone rangers, out there doing their thing without ever talking to the editors about what they know or what they've found out.

      Bullshit.  Does anyone really believe no one at the Post knew what Woodward knew until recently?  Woodward is just protecting his editors and publishers, in the same way that Ollie North protected Reagan and Libby is protecting Cheney.

      They're all fucking liars.

      The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

      by daveriegel on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:30:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Copy editors aren't valued (4.00)
    in the news and publishing fields anymore, and they're being laid off left and right. These days there are probably more copy editors outside the news industry than in it. So who's to say that yesterday's copy editors aren't today's bloggers?

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:32:31 AM PST

    •  Let's not leave out news producers (4.00)
      I just watched another example of CNN hacktackularity.  "Hard-hitting journalist" Soledad O'Brien gave us a generous minute or so of Dick Cheney calling Democrats "dishonest and reprehensible."  Leaving aside the obvious irony of the remarks, in a segment labeled "War of Words," she offered an interview with leading opponent of the Administration ... Chris Shays.  Who of course spouted Republican lies leavened only with the mildest off-topic criticism.

      What producer thought Chris Shays was the ideal choice to speak for the Democratic position in the "War of Words"?  Oh yeah, one in the employ of Time Warner.

      God knows editors suck, but many print editors look like Ed Murrow beside producers like those on World News Tonight and CNN.

      To initiate a war of aggression is ... the supreme international crime. ---Nuremberg Tribunal -4.50, -5.85

      by Dallasdoc on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:47:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Spell check and grammar check? (none)
      Sounds like copy needs fact check and spin check.

      "At the very least, we should see to it that no one who works hard all week has to live in poverty and without access to good health care." William Raspberry

      by murrayewv on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:32:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Copy editors (4.00)
      Not to denigrate the important job of copy editors, but they do not do the reporting or writing.  And they are not responsible for policy.

      The work of the Millers and Woodwards of the world is encouraged or allowed by the publishers and senior editors.  

      Furthermore, even when it's an issue for a copy editor, like everyone in the newsroom they feel the pressure from above, even if it's not overt.

  •  "facts be damned"? (none)
    Does this woman have a television? Or maybe the big news outlets hiding from facts is more acceptable to her... Sheesh.
  •  Message for Amy Alexander (none)
    This is how you spell "jealousy".

    It begins with a "J".  Then there's an "e".  Then go look up "J'accuse!".  


    "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

    by LithiumCola on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:34:35 AM PST

  •  Today Show did the exact same thing (4.00)
    Russert read what libby's lawyers said as if it was fact.   However it was clear that Russert WANTED to leave the impression that Fitzgerald's statement has now been contradicted, as he was very careful to say that 'Libby's lawyers said..." without, of course, setting the record straight.

    This is going to go on all day and we need to be on guard to let the media outlets know when they're engaging in this type of hackery.

    A simple e-mail might say:

    "From the NY Times Transcript of the Fitzgerald press conference:

    'But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson's wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told.

    In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official KNOWN to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.'  (Emph. added)

    It might have been nice, or at least fair, for (insert media name here) to state exactly what Fitzgerald claimed instead of just parroting the words of Libby's lawyers."

    Don't let them get away with it    

    •  New York Times did it too (none)
      This morning's front page story on the Woodward testimony and Welles' response fails to point out the difference between "first" and "first known." Although towards the end of the article they do quote "some lawyers" who say Woodhead's testimony does not help Libby on the perjury charge. NYT also says the 2d of the 3 officials Woodhead talked to was Card. Can't. Link to story at the moment because I am on a Blackberry.

      "Mommy, did people know that Bush was stupid when they voted for him?" (-3.00, -5.49)

      by litigatormom on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:58:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Before writing too many emails (none)
      Check my post out below.

      Bare in mind I am not saying Russert and all these other idiots are right- I'm just pointing to another Fitzgerald quote from the press conference.  

      The point, of course is that it doesn't matter whether Libby was first or not, that is what you need to be reminding them of...

  •  As an occasional writer (4.00)
    for my profession,
    I value editors highly to correct how I convey my expertise. I would never rely on an editor to correct my expertise.

    Perhaps in the news industry this is different. But please tell me how the "behind the desk" editor is going to have the expertise (specific knowledge) of the "on the front line" reporter?


    •  You're right. (none)
      Editors handle the "big picture" for the story. You want to have the right person writing it, too -- someone you can trust and who has the expertise you're looking for. Then the fact-checkers make sure the expert's facts in the article are indeed correct. Then the Copy Editors make sure no typos appear in the magazine. That's the process we use, and it works 99% of the time.

      -- Editor for national magazine

    •  The catch is .. (none)
      The catch is that reporters almost never have any 'expertise'.

      Remember, for many of them, their education is in Journalism.  Its usually not in History or Political Science or the Science fields, etc.  Instead of becoming and expert in an area and then learning how to report on it, they spent years learning in school how to compose the lead paragraph of a story.  I know that's not true of all of them, but its disturbingly true of many of them.  Its why Judy Miller could report ridiculous things about Iraq's WMD's.  She had no expertise of her own.  She's not a Chemical Engineer, nor a Chemist, nor a Biologist, nor a Physicist, nor a Nuclear Engineer.  So all she could do is uncritically transmit what the neocons were feeding her.

      My own degree is in Nuclear Engineering.  I don't work in that field, but that's what I studied in college.  I personally find it a complete riot when there is a nuclear story in the 'news'.  You can tell none of the reporters have a clue about what they are reporting.  You can tell they talked to someone who did know, and usually they've got all the correct buzzwords.  But frequently they use the buzzwords wrong.  Either in the wrong context, or just all mixed up in a sentence that is meaningless to someone who actually knows the field.  For someone who knows something about Nuclear Engineering, watching a reporter try to report on a nuclear accident is hilariously funny.  

      This is probably one of the advantages the bloggers have.  Most bloggers tend to write about areas they know well.  

  •  Great posts... (none)
    It seems some people don't like the scutiny of active people checking there BS....
  •  Exlusive club - no entry to outsiders (4.00)
    Well, we all know how important editors were to avoiding the fictions peddled by Judy Miller and Jayson Blair, for example.

    The sad thing is that the "profession" of journalism seems far too interested in protecting their sense of an elite club to which they belong than in enforcing fairness, accuracy, and balance, those three pillars of good journalism.

    I work with student journalists. I'm shocked at how many people in my profession dismiss bloggers without ever reading them. I was in a room of 40 colleagues recently and I was one of only two people in the room who knew who Glenn Reynolds is (not that I'm saying he's a journalist.) Mostly they've "heard" of blogs, but don't deign to read them to see what all the fuss is about. And these are some of the people most influential on our future journalists.

    Vice harms the doer ~ Socrates

    by kdub on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:38:41 AM PST

  •  Jaun Cole Nailed it. (none)
    Jaun Cole:
    In order to grasp this absurdity, you have to understand that for attorneys, any proposition may be put forward as long as it has not been explicitly rejected by the relevant court. That is, lawyers would be perfectly happy to argue that water is dry, and has not been ruled wet by any court of law, and that moreover anyone who criticizes them for so alleging is guilty of copyright infringement and very possibly also of sodomy, until those allegations are ruled on in court.
  •  Pumpkin head needs an editor (none)
    Fat Tim either needs an editor or a fact checker or Big Russ to correct his distortion of Fitgerald's words. He was claiming on the Today show that Fitzgerald said Libby was the 1st official to discloseplame, not the 1st known official. He claimed Fitz wasn't very thorough in his investigation. Ha!

    The spin about Fitz being too thorough in his investigation is no longer operative. Considering that NBC has the fricking footage of Fitz's presser at their fingertips, it's too bad editorless Timmeh is too lazy to check for an accurate Fitz quote before he runs his yap.

    Fat Tim also spoke of himself in the Bob Dole 3rd person voice & declined to mention Woodward commenting upon a story as if he wasn't part of the story. Can't blame him for that lapse--it hits too close to home.

    •  Keep our focus (4.00)
      Let's not lose sight of the fact that Libby wasn't indicted for leaking her identity - rather, it was for lying, obstruction of the investigation, etc.  Woodward's revalations change none of that.
    •  He can't point the finger (none)
      because three are pointing back at him.  He actually offended me this morning.  I stopped watching after the big Today show push for Schwartzenagger, when Maria Shriver was still onboard at NBC.  Looks like I am back off watching again.

      "At the very least, we should see to it that no one who works hard all week has to live in poverty and without access to good health care." William Raspberry

      by murrayewv on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:36:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You caught a great one, (4.00)
  •  Thanks Armando (4.00)
    When I sent the e-mail to the Today show I added that little tidbit that you bourght up about Olbermann and asked why the newsrooms don't speak to each other.

    Meanwhile, CNN is reporting in general that the Woodward 'bombshell' is contradicting Fitzgerald and then putting on Bay at the moon Buchanan with a rant about him.  Time for another e-mail

  •  Kudos! (none)
      The main point is the investigation is obviously not over!

    I have a lot more faith in Patrick Fitzgerald than I do in any of these partisan hacks that call themselves reporters.

    And a HUGE kudos to Keith O! He in fact does think!

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:47:00 AM PST

  •  You Can Smell The Difference (3.57)
    ePluribus Media often posts on blogs, we fact check and edit and copyedit.  The critical difference between ePluribus (along with many of our e-cousins) and Mr. & Mrs. RunAMok is that we have ethics that guide and motivate us, and no stinkin' special interests  making us sing "I'm Your Puppet".  It has a different smell than the smell of money.
  •  While you're at it, is anybody following (none)
    up on the assertion made here yesterday that Libby is actually identified as Assistant to the President on the White House roster?  

    Is the continual link to Cheney intentional?

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:53:56 AM PST

  •  Coordination? (4.00)
    I may need to search out my tinfoil hat, but I find the timing of the Woodward revelation and the Cheney speech (followed this morning by Bush and Republican senators chiming in) just a bit suspicious.  I mean, wasn't Woodward forced to come clean because somebody in the Administration reported to Fitz that Woodward knew - when did that happen?  Doesn't this all seem a bit orchestrated that we get the Woodward story the same day as Cheney goes on the offensive, and starts rallying his troops against the Dems?  

    Clearly even moderate Republicans are running scared about losing their majority, as I heard Chris Shays this morning echoing Cheney and Bush on the "they had the same intelligence we did, wah,wah, wah..."  I hope Reid can get some coverage for a counterattack - this shit cannot remain unanswered.

    •  NPR did an ok job on the 8 & 9a news (none)
      this morning by playing tape of Reid rebutting Cheney & Bush - biased as I am, Reid sounded great & made Cheney/Bush out to be full of it - which of course they are.

      Democracy is a contact sport...

      by jsmagid on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:40:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Countdown with Kieth is a great show! (none)
    And Thanks to Armando for the early morning thread.

    The east coast is too used to waiting till 9am for Dailykos to get going.

    I start work at 6am, so that is a long wait.

    Thanks Armando!

    •  Agreed. I (none)
      am totally blown away that every main stream media outlet thus far, that I've listened to and read, except Olberman clarified for the public what Mr. Fitzgerald said in his statement.

      I was waiting this morning for Tim Russert to come on the Today show to make the same point that Keith had made -- instead he comes on there and spins the same line.

      What is wrong with these people?

      A couple of things here: Did we not hear Wells say that he did not want this case tried in the media. Yesterday, we see him marching in the rain to tell the world that the prosecution had literally misfired. What gives.

      On Olberman last night a former special prosecutor who worked with Ken Starr, I believe said that all of this bombshell talk is much ado about nothing. Libby's was indicted for obstruction of justice, not for being the first one to out the agent.

      Then we have the vice president come out there and talk about "dishonesty." What's wrong with this picture that not one person in the media is turning that statement on its head. More than half of the American people believe that the administration did not tell the truth to the American people, yet he can come out and make such a statement and no one sees the conflict here.

      The media is moving on, once again. Folks are glorifying the administration for fighting back.

      On what grounds?

      Five Marines and I soldier died yesterday. Nobody is talking about this. This is the reality.

  •  As a non-journalist (4.00)
    (as if that wasn't painfully apparent to anyone reading my posts on this site) I am amused at the reactions of some journalists to blogs and bloggers.  

    They simply don't seem to understand the medium.

    And - statements such as this:

    Not all blog readers know the difference between pure unfiltered, unedited opinion and good old-fashioned solidly reported news.

    are simply staggering.  Is Ms. Alexander so enamored with romantic notions about her honorable profession that she cannot see its tatters?  Has she been asleep for the past decade?  The abomination of the Clinton impeachment; the George W. Bush presidency, and all it has done to undermine this nation, could never (in my opinion) have come to pass had journalists done their job.

    As anyone who has intimate familiarity with a topic or incident that has been reported by the media knows, reporters almost always make errors in their reporting.  Sometimes the errors are trivial.  Sometimes they are huge.  But I'll tell you this -- even though you have to wade through a fair amount of detritus and you have to constantly assess reliability -- blogs and bloggers are an amazing experiment in "citizen journalism" that is generating some of the most timely and penetrating  reporting on current political events out there.  I think we all know by reading this and other blogs, we are easily 12, 24, or even 72 hours ahead of the mainstream media on key information.  In some cases, as we've all observed, the media misses key information entirely.

    Ms. Alexander should learn more about blogs and bloggers.  Who knows where all this will lead?

    •  I've been a journalist for 25 years (none)
      And Amy Akexander is correct that not all blog readers can tell the difference between crap and real reporting. She could have added that not all newspaper readers can tell the difference either.

      What she was apparently trying to say is that newspapers and broadcast make more of an effort to fact-check and edit stories before publishing them than blogs do.

      And that is true to a certain extent. Here at DKos (and at other blogs as well), anybody can start a thread alleging virtually anything. There are policing mechanisms and self-policing mechanisms that inhibit that -- trolls eventually get ignored or banned -- but a lot of crap makes it through, a lot of unsubstantied stuff gets picked up from dubious sources and passed along before it is eventually debunked. That doesn't mean that crap doesn't make it into the MSM. It surely does. But the MSM has far more infrastructure (i.e. line editors) whose job it is to try to prevent that. Most of the time they succeed. Sometimes they don't.

      But I would agree that a lot of people in newsrooms are ignorant of and don't appreciate the value of the blogosphere. I would have thought that journalists would flock to the blogs, relishing in the opportunity to join in, to be their own publishers. But apparently old ways die hard. It's a generational thing, I think. Younger reporters and editors are more inclined to explore the blogosphere. Hell, I've worked with writers who absolutely refused to write their stories on a computer and continued to type them out on a typewriter (forcing someone else to then type them into the computer). A lot of journalists are completely clueless when it comes to computers. They can turn it on and they've figured out how to use Word and that's about it -- just enough to get by.

      Many newspapers had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the web. Many resisted putting anything on websites as some type of threat to their existence. Many still consider it a necessary evil. There are still a lot of dinosaurs out there awaiting extinction.

      •  Agree to a point (none)
        I thought the same thing - that "all" consumers of traditional journalism aren't real sharp at separating wheat from chaff, either.

        And I also agree, to a point, that traditional journalism is supposed to have a more rigorous fact checking process.  But, sadly, with cases such as Judith Miller and journalistic malignancies such as Fox News and the Washington Times, this quaint concept appears no longer to be -- how do they say it -- oh yes - operative.

  •  Judith Miller (none)
    Her editors should be fired
  •  He's baaaack -- Scheer's up and running again (4.00)
    Not sure why the forum in which a fact-check appears diminishes the quality of the information itself, if the facts themselves are demonstrably irrefutable. "Reliable" sources of news are rife with the tendency to advance the Smirk & Sneer line that Facts are Bad. Hooey is Good. The administration's Department of Hooey said so again:

    On Leaving the LA Times by Robert Scheer
    On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. The publisher, Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.
    Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point, but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher. Starting Wednesday morning, my column will be appearing here on the Huffington Post. (11/11/05 HuffiPo / Scheer)

    And here's Scheer doing what he does best: speaking truth to power while docile media sources continue to cower to it and abandon their duty to craft and the public trust:

    At a time when approximately 57 percent of Americans polled believe that President Bush deceived them on the reasons for the war in Iraq, it does seem a bit redundant to deconstruct the president's recent speeches on that subject. Yet, to fail to do so would be to passively accept the Big Lie technique -- which is how we as a nation got into this horrible mess in the first place.
    The basic claim of the president's desperate and strident attack on the war's critics this past week is that he was acting as a consensus president when intelligence information left him no choice but to invade Iraq as a preventive action to deter a terrorist attack on America. This is flatly wrong. (More where that came from ...) (11/16/05 HuffiPo / Scheer)

    Treason's Greetings to terrorist sympathizer and national disgrace Bill O'Reilly

    by Peanut on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:00:11 AM PST

  •  My question is why does it matter? (none)
    If Libby was the second person to "leak" Plame's identity to the press, he's still sharing classified information, which is illegal. At the time Libby was leaking, there had been no public announcement of Plame;s identity, and if recent reports are true, the ony non-cleared person with the information was Woodward, who didn't expose anything until the other day.

    Whether or not Bob Woodward heard it from another source prior to Libby leaking is irrelevant. We know Libby told Matt Cooper at a time when Libby knew Plame's assignment was covert. Isn't that enough to hang the man?

    Check out ePM's great new tool: Timelines!

    by Timroff on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:07:36 AM PST

  •  I'm going to revise her quote on flip it around (none)
    on her...oh unethical blogger that I am, "rewriting history":

       Not all journalists know the difference between pure unfiltered, unedited propaganda and good old-fashioned solidly reported news.

    Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

    by missreporter on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:11:24 AM PST

  •  The commerical media... (none)
     ...doesn't even get stories right by accident.

       I'm sure everyone's noticed how these "factual errors" always seem to help the Republican side. Always.

       The Washington Post is the Diebold of news.

    Republicans oppose abortion -- it happens eighteen years too early.

    by Buzzer on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:12:02 AM PST

  •  The New York Times (none)
    Decided to do it both ways

    They started out right:

    Mr. Woodward's account of his surprise testimony to Mr. Fitzgerald - reported by The Post in Wednesday's issue and elaborated on in a first-person statement - now makes it apparent that he was the first journalist known to have learned the C.I.A. identity of Valerie Wilson...

    I thought, yay, New York Times...but then:

    On Wednesday, Mr. Libby's lawyer, Theodore Wells, pronounced Mr. Woodward's revelation a "bombshell" that contradicted Mr. Fitzgerald's assertion that Mr. Libby was the first government official to discuss Ms. Wilson's C.I.A. connection with a journalist, Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times, on June 23, 2003.

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:12:58 AM PST

    •  NYT really only has it one way (none)
      They never make clear that Fitz said that Libby was the "first KNOWN" at the time of the indictments to have leaked.  They just repeat Welles' statement without making clear that he is spinning.  

      After yesterday's terrific editorial, I was quite disappointed in the "editing" of this story.

      "Mommy, did people know that Bush was stupid when they voted for him?" (-3.00, -5.49)

      by litigatormom on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:32:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hardball (none)
    Showed a clip of Fitzgerald's new conference and I didn't hear him say the word "known".  It was something like "he was at the front end, the first to tell a reporter"

    The sigificance is not the precise words, Libby did not get indicted instead of Rove because he was first.  It was not a race.  

    IMHO, the fault with all these media outlets is not their failure to check Fitzgerald's transcript for accuracy, but a complete lack of understanding of the law and the case he is bringing.

    •  I make that point (none)
      in the post and I made that point the night before.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:15:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  From my post (none)
      Besides failing at doing the most basic of fact checking, ABC News also missed a basic point, as Olberman points out -- it matters not one whit to the case against Libby whether he was the first leaker or not. How in blazes is it "important" to Libby's case? One reason, according to ABC - because Libby's lawyer said so.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:16:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's another quote from the press conference (none)
        FITZGERALD: At the end of the day what appears is that Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true.

        It was false. He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter. And then he lied about it afterwards, under oath and repeatedly.

        So this quote has Fitzgerald saying it more definitively at the press conference- though of course he uses the word "appears" in the first graf.  

        What this says to me is that the major story here is not about the media failing to fact check the transcript of the press conference, it is their inability to comprehend the indictment.  

        Yes- you have pointed that out, but Olberman, Josh and everyone else seems to have their panty's in a wad over the word "known" and the failure of MSM fact checkers.  They are right, just not for all the right reasons.

        •  This is from the WaPo transcript (none)
          But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson's wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told.

          In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson. (Emphasis added.)

          Link to the transcript is here.

          "Mommy, did people know that Bush was stupid when they voted for him?" (-3.00, -5.49)

          by litigatormom on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:41:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Armando (none)
          With all due respect, I think you should update the front page.  This second Fitzgerald quote changes the primary point that most are making- that the media is mindlessly repeating something Libby's lawyer falsely said about Fitzgerald's statement.

          No- Fitzgerald said it.  The media is just mindlessly repeating the fact that it matters from a legal standpoint.  They are confusing the conversational tones of a press conference from the legal particulars of an indictment.  I am on your side, but we are the reality based community here.    

        •  And where Wells neglected (none)
          the all important word is here near the top, 11th paragraph:
          In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.
          •  Missing the point (none)
            Wells said this:

            "...disclosure shows that Mr. Fitzgerald's statement at his press conference of October 28, 2005 that Mr. Libby was the first government official to tell a reporter about Mr. Wilson's wife was totally inaccurate."

            And Fitzgerald, in addition to the "known" quote, did say this:

            "He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter.

            Which quote would you expect the defendants lawyer to use to his advantage?  

            What is the big deal?  Why can't anyone admit they missed the second quote and go on to the points that matter?

            •  I'm not missing the point (none)
              My only point was to quote the first instance, in the press conference, where Fitz uses the word known and Wells omits it.  Nothing more, nothing less.
              •  Thanks (none)
                didn't mean to get snippy, but the whole point of Armando's and Olberman's post revolves around the word "known".  I had previously said in several posts that I was not disputing that quote.  It just seemed pretty obvious they missed the other quote.  Armando in his new diary is now calling it the "big lie swallowed whole by the media"  I think he is undermining his argument by failing to acknowledge the second quote.  

                If the people here don't acknowledge that Fitzgerald did actually say that Libby was the first, the freepers will be more than happy enough to point it out soon enough..  

                My other posts explain it pretty clearly, I think.

                •  It's all about context (none)
                  The informal comments by Fitzy to the press must be taken in the context of the actual words in the indictment.  The main important point is that Woodward's revelations do nothing to undermine the indictment.

                  The media on the other hand, ignore any investigation of the actual context in their rush to run with Libby's lawyer's talking points.

  •  Credit where it is due (none)
    Matthews was hammering on the WaPo executive editor about the convenience of this Woodward revelation right now too, trying to discredit Fitzgerald.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:15:33 AM PST

  •  I am a blogging journalist (none)
    I wrote a story earlier this week for ePluribus Media. This story was fact checked by one member, edited by two -- not one, but two -- others, then uploaded to dKos and other sites.

    Our work is more rigorously checked than most newspapers or TV stations, because we want to get it right. Too bad Ann isn't aware of this. That tar brush she's wielding is spreading it on thick, and I prefer to remain clean.

    Check out ePM's great new tool: Timelines!

    by Timroff on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:16:27 AM PST

  •  the reason the media is reacting this way (none)
    is because they thought fitzgerald was "done."  Fitzgerald made quite clear that he was not done.  But for some reason those in the pundit aristocracy (Toobin, Isikoff, Brokaw, Brooks, Pete Williams, Kormblut, etc.) somehow got the impression that Fitzgerald was "done" based on his "body language."  

    The media is stunned that the investigation remains so active, three weeks after they were boasting that it was over so they are trying to come up with some sort of theory that explains why Fitzgerald's investigation continues.  

  •  We all know blogs (none)
    that haven't discovered fact checking yet.  I can think of several off the top of my head.  Drudge, Malkin, Red State, Free Republic, etc.  To paint all blogs with this same brush is as irresponsible as us saying all mass media have rid themselves of their fact checkers.  Watching and reading many of them certainly can make you think so, anyway.

    "My job is to protect the American people." George W. Bush. Did he?

    by PAprogressive on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:21:14 AM PST

  •  Curious (none)
    Will/do these media outlets have a clue they are slaughtering "accuracy"?   Would it be to the benefit of our wonderful bloggers to point it out, or are they reading our bloggers and will thus find it out?  All I can say is that since I found DailyKos, Americablog, Sirotablog, MYDD - the list goes on and on; they have become my sole source of information.   I don't know how often any of you get thanked, but thank you I do.    
  •  Ummm ... Isn't Woodward an editor? (4.00)
    And doesn't that kind of belie how great editors are, since the original error appeared in the Post?

    (Not to mention it was Woodward who put himself in this ethical conundrum in the first place.)

    How's an editor going to help if he's withholding information from reporters?

    I don't get her emphasis on copy editors, either. Usually they clean up syntax, puncutation, etc. The problem of leaving out the "known" part of the "known official" seems to me to lie with the story editor. It would have been nice if the copy desk had caught it, but really ... on such an important story about its own dealings with the Bush administration, every editor in the food chain should have been going over it.

    •  Let's face it (none)
      She seems a pretty dim bulb.

      She rants about blogs being beholden to advertisers, instead of editors! My Gawd, how stupid is that?

      And then say she would never write for free.

      The atrios thread is a hilarious takedown of her.

      I had never heard of her before. And, I imagine that her lack of notoriety is based on merit.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:29:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Frankly, I don't trust anybody ... (none)
        who wouldn't write for free.

        You write either because you can't NOT write (you're driven to expressing yourself), or you write because something is important enough to you to get your words out there to persuade or tell a truth.

        I think that's the most appalling part of her dim bulb rant -- that she wouldn't write for free. My God.

        So all it takes is money in your pocket, Amy dear, and you'll start spewing like a kewpie doll? Thanks for the heads up.

        •  OT: If writers were reliably paid (none)
          they'd produce more excellent work, and rely less on hack work.  Orwell wrote an impassioned plea to the public to buy just a few books per month, add books to one's budget, so that independent voices could be available.  If he'd made a few more bucks he might not have died so young.

          The copyright guys have a point on that.  Actors, writers, artists, musicians really need to get paid.

          This little point in no way exonerates any of Ms. Alexander's silly comments.

          Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

          by soyinkafan on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:39:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sir Run-Amok Woodward is an asst. managing ed (none)
      Oh, and he apologized for being an enabling criminal douchebag his so very negligible and tiny omission:

      Bob Woodward apologized to The Washington Post yesterday for failing to reveal for more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of who disclosed her identity mushroomed into a national scandal.
      Woodward, an assistant managing editor and best-selling author, said he told Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. that he held back the information because he was worried about being subpoenaed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel leading the investigation.
      "I apologized because I should have told him about this much sooner," Woodward, who testified in the CIA leak investigation Monday, said in an interview. "I explained in detail that I was trying to protect my sources. That's job number one in a case like this. (11/16/05 WaPo Reliable Sources / Kurtz)

      Treason's Greetings to terrorist sympathizer and national disgrace Bill O'Reilly

      by Peanut on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:54:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vox Populi Vox Dei (none)
    "News managers" fear the effective transmission of popular opinion via blogs, because they believe thry get paid to tell the public what they say the public thinks or ought to think, echoing opinions these pundits, editors, and so on, are paid to preserve and promote.

    If we continue to think and speak for ourselves, they will lose their positions as paid opinion arbiters voicing what the establishment wants to have seem so, rather than what people actually think.

  •  Seems that Ms. Alexander... (none)
    Ranted without explaining how a copy editor assists in any way. Corrects her grammar for her rant? Checks her sources? Checks anything?

    Doesn't seem to me that the copy editor's have been doing jack shit (pardon my French) for that last 5 years. Remember when Osama Bin Forgotten had an underground fortress that rivaled anything that James Bond could have come up against?)  or that we went to Iraq for WMD's or that Bush said he would never use the troops for nation building?

    Amy Alexander is ranting. She is a bloody fool who can't stand someone might be held in higher esteem - after all isn't she reporting The TruthTM (Note that some restrictions may apply; not valid in all 50 states or surrounding countries)?!?!

    Or is she just mad they aren't buying her rants like they used to?

    This post was run by a copy editor who spilled coffee on it before rubberstamping his approval

    "Regarding the 700 Club: I realized that 700 is just 666 rounded up."

    by feloneouscat on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:32:35 AM PST

  •  and this too linked, from Josh Marshall's site (none)
  •  Responsible political bloggers (none)
    check their facts, cross-check their references, qualify assertions based on attributions, and offer well-informed opinions using substantive arguments.

    News "presenters," like Russert, Matthews, Vargas, and the rest of this crowd read the script that was prepared by others for others to read and is endlessly repeated until a blogger usually corrects the record.

    Wait, .  .  . that's the same procedure the WH uses.

    Political Cortex: Brain Food for the Body Politic

    by btyarbro on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:33:39 AM PST

  •  Isn't Bob Woodward an Asst. Managing Ed. at WaPo? (none)
    Would he have had editorial control over the article?

    Reality is just... a point of view - Philip K. Dick; Beautiful thing, the destruction of words. (from Orwell's 1984)

    by LionelEHutz on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:36:08 AM PST

  •  What is really hillarious (none)
    about this is that it was just a couple of weeks ago when all of the same Heathers were all in a tizzy chattering about how horrible it was that Fitzgerald didn't indict Libby for the leak itself.  He indicted Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice.  The fact that someone else may have leaked to Woodward earlier has absolutely no bearing on whether or not Libby committed these crimes.
  •  The Media stenographers and the new spin (none)
    All I heard on the news today about how the President  is "lashing" out against his "opponents" and how he's "talking tough". I just see a weaknened politician on the ropes, fighting for his life. The reporters don't seem to get it, though; they don't seem to understand the context that this is an administration whose credibility with the public is shot.
    •  I love the language too (none)
      The press are so lazy - they pump whatever they are handed

      'Acting Out' is more like it with this Pres

      To paraphrase Steely Dan..

       If you're trying to exchange Truth with this bunch,

      you're talking to a Ghost

      "And he who made kittens put snakes in the grass. He's a lover of life but a player of pawns" - Bungle in the Jungle (Ian Andersen)

      by biobit on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:50:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Armando, you brute, this was counterproductive (none)
    You've just demonstrated, with the pendant "update" gems of this media "choker," that the MSM are functionless without a copier and clueless with one.
    Now they'll all have to commit journalistic seppuku. Those well-deserved professional funerals will be distracting..

    At least.. That's how it worked where and when I grew up.

  •  It's all about filling the 24 hour news cycle (none)
    If it weren't for all the errors in the initial reporting, what would the MSM have to talk about tomorrow?  Concise accuracy is not your friend when you've got so much time to fill or so many column-inches to fill.
  •  $$$money$$$ (none)
    The truth came out at the end of the transcript when she claimed that she also doesn't blog because there is no money in it.

    If you take yourself too seriously, no one else will.

    by Yoshimi on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:43:13 AM PST

  •  On this editor thing (none)
    When I first read her comment, I kind of agreed, because I once worked for some really good editors -- and I mean fact-checkers like you've never seen (we were mostly doing translations of Soviet journal and newspaper articles back in the early 60's, mainly for the CIA but other people read us, too).  It gave me a real sense of how a newspaper ought to work.  And then, later I benefited from having a good editor for my own work, though it's always painful to see your hard-worked prose tossed down the toilet for what it is.

    So I thought at first it was o.k., but as I kept reading and thinking, I realized she doesn't know what's she's talking about.  Some one over at Atrios made what I think is the basic point. Blogging is a meritocracy.  You go where you find talent, and it's all there at a finger-touch.  I love it.

  •  none (none)
    Why does it matter who the first to leak was anyway.  If someone leaks classified info that they know they shouldn't, it shouldn't matter that someone before them already has.
  •  Alexander's Absolutely Correct (none)

     Kosniacs, you need to tone it down and remember:  were it not for copy editors and managing editors we would have never  gained the insight,  learned the truth,  gotten into the heart of the story of -

     > The Hindenburg Distaster, wherein WLS reporter uttered those famous, edited words, "Oh this is disappointing."

     > The American Revolution, wherein Tom Paine touched a spark with those immortal, edited words, "These are the times that are challanging."

     > Safety and Health Issues in the American meat packing industry, where Upton Sinclair, through a series of journalistically correct editors made sure the citizens learned how cool it is to have those little 'windows' on the back of bacon packages.

     > The Iraq War, where unembedded photo journalists, through heavily managed and edited blogs, gave the world startling photos of puppies and children frolicking in dewey meadows.

     From the heavily managed and edited pamphleteers of the American Revolution, to the heavily managed and edited "zine's" of the 1980s and 1990s, we have all learned that to get outside the control  and through the spin of bloated government or ossified industry, we have to rely on the heavy hand of Credentialed Editors.

     Now, sit quietly and wait.  And, after all, if you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!



    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:51:32 AM PST

  •  If they really want respect (none)
    If the professional journalists really want to deal a blow to the bloggers, then instead of carping about standards or fact-checking, they should do their jobs.  If the mainstream media had good, strong investigative reporting instead of stenography they blogosphere would not be some important.  As it is, the failure of journalists to actually practice journalism makes citizens turn to blogs to get their information.

    Of course, if the journalists tried to actually do real journalism they would probably get fired.  Ultimately it is our responsibility as citizens to fill the Congress and the White House with people who will act to break up the media conglomerates.  (Where we will find such courageous politicians is an open question.)

  •  diversions (none)
    Someone pointed out that even "if" Fitzgerald said that Libby was the first to leak the name, what the hell does that have to do with the price of tea in China.  It's a red herring that some of the media seem to be buying in to.  What I think is hilarious is...that type of diversion tactic seems to work in politics, but this is a judicial case where that type of crap won't really have an effect on a judge or a grand jury who hears it.  Libby was charged because of hie lies not anything having to do with being the first to leak.  So if they are trying to sway public opinion by using these tactics, I think they are just singing to the wind.

    Hit them where it hurts!

    by LibMan on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:52:45 AM PST

  •  I remember (none)
    reading that an editor is an authors best friend.

    A FICTION author.

    With that in mind, I'd say the editors of america are doing a fine job...

    I'm NOT in Detroit. Unless you count mentally, in which case I'm also 1000 years in the future.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:56:38 AM PST

  •  The Original "Washington Post" Story.... (none)
    How curiously convenient--WaPo Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward pops up to insert himself into the story, and the Washington Post misleads on the significance of it. Walter Pincus agrees--per Woodies request--to keep his Asst Managing editor OUT of the story. All point to how this new revelation exonerates Libby...It's patently pathetic.

    Now, Amy, tell the truth--You've just got your panties in a twist because JOURNALISM is being exposed as a bunch of sycophantic courtiers of the powerful, without an ounce of integrity, just an extension of their corporate bottom line.

    ENTERTAINERS, not journalists. The Delta Force of Dumbing Down.

    In truth, blogs are the reconstitution of the journalism of another era, another "gilded" era in fact, when the new journalism was similarly derided--as "Muckrakers." The Blog effect--and affect--is similarly wild, unrestrained, and noisy. But, in the chaotic cacophony, a "terrible beauty is born." (with apologies to Yeats).

    Olbermann "gets it."

  •  anybody got a media e-mail list? (none)
    I misplaced mine. Thanks.

    Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

    by missreporter on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:08:02 AM PST

  •  Armando (none)
    If I was ever in legal trouble, I hope my defense attorney gets to rewrite the prosecution's case. Of course, what the press reports and what it means to Fitzgerald's investigation are meaningless. Noise and static that will provide a day of relief to Scooter, but with potential for blow back to the credibility of ABC, NBC and other media.

    There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you. -- Sherlock Holmes

    by Carnacki on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:08:52 AM PST

  •  Well, if they're all doing it, then it isn't (none)
    a "mistake" is it?

    Meaning, they are doing some concerted, in-league-with-the-White-House, distortion of evidence here.  Deliberate.  No mistake at all.

    I really feel as though we were in one of these stretches of time that will be looked back on as a cultural watershed.  A time during which old technologies are left behind, but it takes a while for the accustomed users of those technologies to leave off using the words and habits they'd grown accustomed to around those technologies.

    Case in point:  the notion of an "editor".  Linked indelibly to a culture and technologies of print, and printing-press mass-distributed meat-life news.  And the concomitant notion that the "editor" is an objective defender of something called truth.  Because in the original mass-culture printing-press technology circuit, the guys who set the type and ran the presses didn't necessarily know what the truth was, not having been "educated" the way editors were.  And those reporters!  Their job was to capture the data and rapid-fire it into articles.  But they couldn't always be expected to take charge of lofty matters such as style.  Oh yes, those editors, what essential elements they were in the printing-press newsroom processes.

    So when you've got bloggers who are educated or at least raised in a culture of etherspace text-and-image messaging, and who know how to google, and how to think critically, and who have the technology of spell check to help them, and "review this post," etc., etc.--- do you even need "editors" anymore for the revelation and publishing of the "truth"?  

    And even more to the point re: this period of technological change:  When you've got news corporations owned by multinational companies that don't want their subsidiary news organs to print or announce or investigate anything that would negatively affect the bottom line of any of their business or political interests--- can you possibly even utilize corporate-payrolled editors for the revelation and publishing of the "truth"?

  •  for the record... (none)
    as I confess I noticed the very same mischaracterization on ABC World News Tonight last night, the transcript will show (I trust) that Vargas did not merely parrot Wells' contention that Woodward's testimony somehow undermined Fitzgerald's case, she actually used the word "accused" - that is, that Fitzgerald had "accused" Libby of being the first to disclose the name.  That's what perked up my ears.  I wasn't aware of the "known" part that Olberman picked up on, but I did think to myself, "'accused'?  Why, if one did know better, one would think that's what the case is about?'  And that, of course, is when I changed the channel...
  •  Amy Alexander is right about the value of editors (none)
    Any reporter/writer who thinks he/she doesn't need one is a fool.
  •  I hate to beat a dead horse....however (none)
    in today's WaPo, in an analysis entitled "Woodward Could Be a Boon to Libby" is the following quote:

    "Woodward testified Monday that contrary to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's public statements, a senior government official -- not Libby -- was the first Bush administration official to tell a reporter about Plame and her role at the CIA"  (Emph. Added)

    The entire article is here

    I bring this up because one of the co-authors of the article is Jim Venderhei who was on Olbermann's show discussing the very error

    I draw no conclusions.  Res Ipsa Loquitur

  •  For a working journalist, her comment (none)
    is asinine. Does she not understand that the journalist has the first line of responsibility for ascertaining and reporting "the facts"? She apparently thinks that the journalist is out of control but for the copy editor reminding her of the facts. I thought the copy editor checked punctuation, spelling, and grammar? Maybe a copy editor also helps with factchecking, but it seems to me the journalist is first and foremost obliged to get the story right.

    I understand that she is trying to say that this is how blogs and "real" journalism differ -- the latter have editors. This seems to be a rather significant misunderstanding of the complex nature of bias, whether it is in blogs or in newspapers or in TV news.

    I realize she is also referring to more than the copy editor. For a grown woman and experienced journalist, she does not seem to understand that the editorial policies of newsrooms are not neutral ever, even if they are committed to the highest standards of journalism (as we used to see CBS doing in the past). They can be biased in crude and obvious ways (Fox) or in more complicated ways that require considerable deconstruction (the other networks, who seem to be committed to not offending the Bush administration and making sure their business before Congress gets taken care of more than anything else).

    If there are working "serious" journalists walking around who do not understand the place of news production within this economic system and institutional and corporate bias, then they better revamp the education of journalism schools immediately.

    Republicans: Strong on corruption, cronyism, and weapon systems that don't work.

    by lecsmith on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:25:58 AM PST

    •  Copy editors write headlines, check grammar, etc. (none)
      Line editors determine whether the reporter has done enough reporting. Did he/she talk to enough people? Does the story make sense? Did the reporter bother to talk to the other side on the issue?

      A good line editor can spot slpoppy reporting a mile away. What a line editor cannot do is ascertain the truthfulness of what the reporter is saying. The editor wasn't sitting in on the interview. So you have to make judgments based on the reporter's history of getting things right.

      Many reporters who have established reputations don't get the kind of scrutiny that young reporters are subjected to. Editors trust their judgment. And line editors don't question them as often because they know that editors higher up the food chain like and protect those star reporters. But sometimes those star reporters abuse that trust. Judy Miller is a classic example of that.

  •  MSM is not journalism at all (none)
    Right now, the biggest difference between bloggers and MSM is this:  When a pentagon spokeman or the president's press secretary or somebody's lawyer tells a lie, the MSM simply repeats the lie. The bloggers identify the lie, link to the evidence demonstrating that it was a lie, call the liar a liar, and then allow a debate over whether it was a Big Lie or a Little Fib or possibly even a misunderstanding.

    Which is to say, the bloggers are journalists and the MSM are ... well, actually, I don't know what they are. Court stenographers?

  •  Of opinion and news... (none)
    >>Not all blog readers know the difference between pure unfiltered, unedited opinion and good old-fashioned solidly reported news.

    No, but in recent years, they seem to have a better grasp on it than the corporate-shilling fluff infotainment talking-points-spouting bubbleheads on the major news networks.

    The old style of reporters, the mythical chain-smoking hard-drinking bulldogs with a press-pass in their hat, the ones who pursued scandal with all-nighters poring through papers and days chasing public figures with insistent TOUGH questions... are likely all spinning in their graves.

  •  You misspelled Olbermann's name three times (4.00)
    It should end in a double n.

    I hope you'll find the three occurrences and fix them. It kind of looks bad, given the subject matter and front-page status of the diary.

    --a longtime guess what

  •  My letter to the NYT (none)
    This went to both the Letters to the Editor and to the Public Editor:

    I was surprised and disappointed that the New York Times on November 17, 2005 ("New Disclosure Could Prolong Inquiry on Leak" (front page)) uncritically printed the following assertion by Scooter Libby's lawyer concerning Bob Woodward's testimony:

    On Wednesday, Mr. Libby's lawyer, Theodore Wells, pronounced Mr. Woodward's revelation a "bombshell" that contradicted Mr. Fitzgerald's assertion that Mr. Libby was the first government official to discuss Ms. Wilson's C.I.A. connection with a journalist, Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times, on June 23, 2003. (Emphasis added.)

    The Times failed to point out that the "contradiction" asserted by Mr. Welles is no contradiction at all: Mr. Fitzgerald never asserted that Mr. Libby was the "first official to discuss" Ms. Wilson's CIA status.  Instead, as the transcript of his October 28, 2005 press conference shows, Mr. Fitzgerald simply stated that

    ...Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson. (Emphasis added.)

    (A link to the transcript of the press conference can be found at )

    The difference is significant.  Mr. Fitzgerald indicted Mr. Libby, and may yet indict others, for obstructing his investigation by lying about their contacts with the press concerning Ms. Wilson's CIA status.  Because neither Mr. Woodward, nor  Mr. Woodward's unnamed "senior administration official" source, had previously come forward about their conversation about Ms. Wilson, Mr. Fitzgerald did not know about it on October 28, 2005.  (Indeed, if Mr. Woodward's source had previously testified to the grand jury or had been deposed or interviewed by Mr. Fitzgerald without disclosing his or her conversation with Mr. Woodward, he or she may now be vulnerable to prosecution for false statements or obstruction.)  Nothing about the fact that Mr. Libby turns out to have had a predecessor in leaking Ms. Wilson's identity to the press exonerates him from having lied about his own press contacts to Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury.  Mr. Libby's lawyers may be fulfilling their obligation to "zealously represent" Mr. Libby by trying to spin the newly disclosed facts in Mr. Libby's favor, but the Times has no obligation to spin on Mr. Libby's behalf.  To the contrary, it should be pointing out the spin to its readers.

    "Mommy, did people know that Bush was stupid when they voted for him?" (-3.00, -5.49)

    by litigatormom on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:08:22 AM PST

  •  This is amazing (none)
    I am in "editor" for my law school's law review and we have to take every sentence, compare it to the source whether it's a direct quote, paraphrase or indirectly supported.  We would be in HUGE trouble if we left out a word that changed the entire meaning of the sentence, and this is just a student publication in a third tier law school.  

    I do not think this is lazyness or oversite.  It is either intentional or at best reckless disregard for the truth.

    Its not easy being a Floridian.

    by lawstudent922 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:24:11 AM PST

  •  Not being an American (none)
    Sometimes seems like a gift. And I am ashamed to say that I hide behind it every now and then, because it's easier for me to rationalize that I have very limited opportunities to change things in America.

    But there are things which can be done. Blogging here is obviously one of them; and lest any Americans think we Canadians aren't "plugged in", let me say that many of us believe the results of your elections are today almost as important to us as our own. So it's not just pure altruistic Canadian niceness.

    But I do know this: if our government and media were as warped as yours, many of us would be wondering when the revolution was going to happen. As I digest the incessant misdirection coming from your media, I am simply shocked that it is allowed to happen at all. And while I know it's not as simple as wishing it to happen, you need a gigantic media overhaul, not just some fine tuning.

    And throw in an electoral overhaul while you're at it. I'm serious--anyone who doesn't recognize the radical nature of change required is going to be "disappointed" by the results of any incremental approach to change.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:44:47 AM PST

  •  First known (none)

    If you're careful about English, which an editor should be, then "First known to have revealed" means the "first we know to have revealed." It doesn't mean "the first to have revealed -- as far as we know" much less "the first to have revealed."

    This is a far reach.

  •  They correct typos (none)
    I find editors useful for finding the occasion Fingerfehler and for bouncing around ideas. Blogs are raw sources. There will be plenty of errors but, with dilligent mining, plenty of truth to be discovered.  More truth then in the edited news.
  •  Amy who?....who cares........ (none)
    Many journalists in the MSM focus on articles that read well for the everyday consumer: information that appears knowledgeable, but when dissected, is superficial. Amy Alexander has just presented us with one. To me, David Brooks is the King of political pseudo-reporting.

    Blogs that allow the reading peers to rate up and relentlessly critique the information presented are the future trend in journalism and add the most credibility to the articles written.

    He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.

    by Patrizio on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:23:00 AM PST

  •  I used to say the same thing, (none)
    and I still believe that "editing" is important. But I'm now of the opinion that "editing" of blogs -- or, should I say, the process that makes editing less important -- is buzz.

    Blogs that routinely get facts wrong don't get much attention. Blogs that get it right, gain a following, even nakedly partisan blogs like DKos. This seems to suggest that, even sans editor, well-known blogs can be relied on to report facts with at least the same frequency as edited media. One added advantage is, you know coming in what kind of bias you're going to get -- DKos has never made a pretense of being unbiased, as newspaper editors routinely do.

  •  skippy (none)
    was on this yesterday.




    Dan in Baltimore

    •  don't know (none)
      I don't know if its direct payments to pundits and reporters.  Although after Amstrong Williams, who can be sure.

      I think the system works more subtlely than that.  For instance, notice how smoothly the careers of the right-wing pundits progress.  It seems like all you have to do is to be willing to express right-wing, pro-corporate views, and suddenly you have a job to write a regular column and you are being invited to be a pundit on TV.  And talent doesn't seem to have a lot to do with it.

      Take Chris Mathews for example.  Once upon a time, he was a congressional aide to Tip O'Neil (a Democrat who was Speaker of the House for you youngsters out there).  To me, because he was willing to shift to the right and be a Clinton basher, he got a TV show on GE/Microsoft/NBC TV.

      If he'd stayed dyed in the wool liberal, he'd be lucky to have a slot on Air America.

      The flip-side is Phil Donahue.  Impeccable credentials as the man who invented the type of show that Oprah excels in these days.  Truly one of the giants of TV history.  But he gets on MSNBC, and he starts to express views that aren't right-wing enough and maybe ever aren't pro-corporate enough.  Next thing he knows, his show is cancelled.  And this is despite the fact that he was pulling in ratings numbers better than any show in that 8pm ET time-slot than any show MSNBC has had before or after.  That's a very key indicator that the content of the message being delivered is more important to the GE/Microsoft/NBC corporate masters than the money they can make  from a higher rated show.

      Or ask Richard Scheer, formerly of the LA Times about this right now.

      Some people get fired and their shows get cancelled.  Some people get promotions, raises, and speaking engagements at the American Enterprise Institute for $25,000 a pop.

      So the whole system subtlely works to reward those who express the right-wing, pro-corporate views, and to punish those that might challenge those views.  I doubt most of the time this is openly stated.  I'd guess most of the time its up to the reporters in these news organizations to note that Judy Miller becomes a star reporter for the NY Times by repeating neocon drivel, while other reporters that try to do work more critical to talking about issues our society needs to know either get laid off or get pushed to some backwater assignment.  When that's happening, there doesn't need to be a memo from management explaining the type of reporting they want.  The lesson is there and obvious to everyone in the organization just by the actions of management.

      So yes, I do believe the system is highly corrupt.  I personally reached the point a few years ago where I basically don't read, don't listen, don't watch and don't trust any American corporate media.  Period.  And I feel I'm a better informed person because of it.  

      But I'm not sure that claiming that everyone is paid off directly in cash is the right way to make the case.  Our opponents are smarter than that and more subtle than that.  Because of that, a direct attack like the one above is more easily discredited and dismissed.  And the real point that our corporate media is highly corrupt and what they say cannot be trusted can be lost in the fight over a false claim that they are blatantly corrupt in ways we can't prove.

  •  Woodward's role utterly appalling (none)
    I cannot understand why so many people just seem to view this affair in the context of whether it helps Libby or not; whether it places Fitzgerald in a bad light etc. This is totally irrelevant. What is appalling is that Woodward has sat on this for over two years, made bald-faced biased statements all over the media about Fitzgerald being a junkyard dog and said the story was unimportant.  The real story is that whoever it was who told him about Mrs. Wilson, if indeed he/she was the `first' to release the information is the one who outed Mrs Wilson. If this person has already testified to the grand jury and did not reveal this conversation, then he/she lied. If he/she was not interviewed then it is possible that Fitzgerald fell down on the job, but we do not know any of that. Either the source lied or did not, told or did not and his/her coming forward now is a calculated ploy to help Libby that hopefully will cause serious blowback. In any even it does not in anyway mitigate Woodward's extraordinary devious behaviour. This is not what protecting confidential source laws or philosophy is for - this is pure Woodward's protecting his ability to make money writing books.He is a disgrace to the journalist profession and everyone in the media who is spinning differently also disgraceful, starting with his editor Len Downie.
  •  our email to the asspress: (none)
    your reporters, tony locy and pete yost, do journalism, the american public and your own organization a disservice by mischaracterizing what special prosecuter patrick fitzgerald said upon indicting scooter libby for lying to the grand jury.

    in their story, they said "special prosecutor patrick fitzgerald, in announcing the charges, portrayed libby as the first high-level government official to reveal plame's identity to reporters in summer 2003."

    when actually, what patrick fitzgerald said (and you can check the transcript;  i would think that as journalists, maybe that's something you would have done before publishing the story), was "in fact, mr. libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to judith miller in june of 2003 about valerie wilson." (emphasis mine)

    so, now, we know something different.  and, as mr. libby is charged not charged with "outing" ms. plame, but lying, i fail to see how this matter contradicts fitzgerald or even helps libby's defense, except in confusing the main stream media (which, i am beginning to believe, is pretty darn easy, because apparently nobody bothers to fact-check any more).

  •  Tucker (none)
    Fucker Carlson did the same thing last night on MSNBC in his discussion with Racheal.  She did not correct him.  How sad...

    Liberals and conservatives are two gangs who have intimidated rational, normal thinking beings into not having a voice on television or in the culture.

    by Dave B on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:06:27 AM PST

  •  Editors (none)
    Here's my question, have news organizations eliminated "editors" since Amy Alexander's heyday?

    The answer is yes, big time. News rooms throughout the business have been massively downsized over the last 20 years. There are fewer reporters and fewer editors with a fuckload more work and less time to do it in than their predecessors had. That's definitely part of the picture. Much of what we blast as laziness or bias on the part of the news media is probably due to news room staffs stretched to the breaking point. The downsizings have little to do with performance (witness deep cuts being made at the LA Times and Knight Ridder). Morale suffers, and that makes people even less likely to give a shit about getting it right when there's totally unrealistic workloads being foistered thanklessly on their shoulders.

    But of course, there's also a lot of rightwing or 'centrist' bias, for ideological or access reasons, coming down from the publishers and owners.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    by Septic Tank on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:35:57 AM PST

  •  This is only important to Libby's case (none)
    if Libby already knew that the information had already been leaked. In that case he would not be releasing information that was not already made public. If Cheney told Woodward, then I'm pretty sure that Libby would have known about it. After all Libby was Cheney's Chief of Staff and security advisor. If Libby knew that Cheney had already leaked to Woodward, it would have been possible for him to assert that he heard about Plame from a reporter. And in fact, Woodward may have mentioned it to him. However, rather than proving Libby's innocence, it may prove that he was part of a conspiracy to cover up for the Vice President.
  •  But we *do* have editors: each other! (none)
    In the world of Free Media(tm) -- please can some progressive blogger trademark that term in a hurry before the winguts grab it?-- we absolutely do have editors: we are the editors.

    Linus Torvalds is attributed to having said that in the world of Free Software, where there are many eyes looking at your code, all bugs are shallow.

    That is exactly the case for Free Media. There are thousands-- perhaps hundreds of thousands-- of people reading blogs and commenting on them. No factual error can survive even a few seconds in the blogosphere without being pounced upon by at least a dozen pedantic nitpicky blog fact-checkers.

    This is a significant advantage of Free Media: progressive sites like Kos and Atrios who have open comment policies. The lockstep, authortarian astroturf "Open Source Media" sites like Instahack do not.

    With a many eyes, all factual errors are caught and corrected.

    This is the beauty of Free Media.

  •  Shadow of doubt? (none)
    CNN is now reporting that their "legal experts" are claiming that this "at the very least casts a shadow of doubt" on the prosecutions case against Libby.

    Um, who are these legal experts?

    •  I think they meant to say (none)
      that their "cliche experts" are claiming that at the very least this casts a shadow of a doubt on the innocent until proven guilty, gone but not forgotten, there but for the grace of God, I. Lewis Scooter Libby.
  •  Its not a 'mistake' (none)
    People keep calling these 'mistakes'.

    Personally, I've reached the point where I'm not willing to give the media that benefit of the doubt.  I don't think these are 'mistakes'.

    Instead, we've seen for at least a decade now where on almost any issue, its the wording and phrasing and the framing of the Republicans that gets adopted by the corporate media.  It happens far too frequently to call these 'mistakes'.

    I think its important for us to recognize this.  We keep acting like the media is 'sloppy' or makes 'mistakes'.  But how often do they make mistakes in our favor?

    We keep acting like if we point out these 'mistakes' nicely, then the mistakes will be corrected.  Yet, even that rarely happens.  The media rarely if ever even runs a correction notice on these sorts of 'mistakes'.  If they do , the damage is already done and some fine print and the bottom of a page inside the paper doesn't undo that damage.

    And you never, ever see any corporate media outfit make institutional changes to make sure these 'mistakes' don't happen again.

    In addition, in the last few weeks, we've gotten some very close-up looks at how closely intertwined the reporters and editors of the corporate media are with the Republicans.  We now know of Judy Miller's 'entanglements' with the neocons, and today's big story is how Woodward had a scoop on the Plamegate affair, but never reported it in order to maintain his relationships with Republicans that allow him to write his books.  

    These are not 'mistakes'.  And if we are going to operate effectively in today's political environment, then we have to acknowledge that they are not mistakes.  From what I see on the front page of this topic, multiple major corporate media outfits all made exactly the same 'mistake'.  And in each case, the 'mistake' amounted to adopting unchallenged the Republicans wording of the issue.

    The word 'mistake' implies that well-meaning people just screwed up a bit.  But watching this happen over the years, over and over and over again, I think if we feel that this is the case, we are deluding ourselves.  If we want to compete in today's political environment, then we have to acknowledge that environment for what it is.  And a big part of that is that the media is institutionally structured such that it is going to favor the Repbulican point of view.  We have to acknowledge that before we can start to counter that.

    Our goal has to be to discredit these media corporations and their reporters and personalities.  We have to stop treating them as if they are some well-meaning, non-partisan group that just makes 'mistakes'.  A key part of our strategy has to be to work hard to convince the public that these companies and these media personalities simply can not be trusted.  When we succeed in that, then we won't care what 'mistakes' they make, as we'll have convinced large segments of the population not to trust them, not to read them, not to listen to them and not to watch them.  That's how we have to compete in this environment.

  •  I'm getting a little fed up (none)
    Not with the press, but with this Web site. Frankly, it gets a little frustrating to visit this place and watch my profession get abused on a daily basis.

    Guess what, I'm a newspaper copy editor. I actually know what editors do. I know what the process of collecting and disseminating news involves.

    Here's an ugly secret. It's kind of messy. Stuff gets passed through the editorial process quickly because that's what the system demands.

    Fact check? Who the fuck has time? If something's obviously wrong, maybe I can get it back to the reporter for a clarification. Most of the time, Ihave to trust that the facts are right and move on. Besides, not only do I have to make sure the articles are written in something that resembles English, I also get to put them down on the page. It's a new trend in the business, seems newspapers believe people with language skills are also good at spatial relations.
    So when do I have time to make sure every statement made is accurate and doesn't contradict something said before? When do the reporters I work with have the time? We don't. ABC has far more resources than my company does, and the medium is different, but the process is the same. News is put out constantly and as quickly as possible.
    I'm sure everyone would love to double check everything, but guess what? The show airs at 6:30 p.m. The paper goes to press at midnight. That's the bottom line.

    Yeah, ABC goofed. Which is more important? That Ted Wells lied about a liar, or the fact that some  kid died today far from home because of an even bigger lie?

  •  Let's not forget the negatives... (none)
    Editors can also play a decidedly negative role, such as when the reporters in Vietnam sent the facts forward, and the editors in New York Bowldlerized them so that the stories were unrecognizable to the very people who reported them.
      Editors can have a tendency to stick with the totally antiseptic formula of recording "on the one hand X, on the other hand Y," as though all debates should have exactly equal weight. Reporting is not the equivalent of a pharmacist's desk, where the function is to grind up the active ingredients, and combine them in a predetermined formula.
       What I do not miss about being under the editorial thumb is the artifical requirments to grind out stories like so many pills, to fill up the space around all the advertising that the sales staff managed to secure over booze and blue plate specials at lunch time.
       The Society of Professional Journalists has a nice code of ethics. You're supposed to fully investigate a story, and tell it in its proper context. No more, no less. Put that SPJ code up against the Judy Miller stories, and you'll begin to understand the position of those of us that think that editors can often have a substantial negative influence. Take it from one who lived through the Vietnam era. Many of the results of that negative editorial influence can be found carved in stone, about 56,000 times, just on the wall of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. Including 20 that went to Basic with me.
       The scars of experience force me to disagree with you.

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