Thursday, February 17, 2005

Daily Shows on Blogging, Brit Hume and the Republican Echo Chamber

Today, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (AKA Ted Hitler) did a did a segment on internet bloggers. The segment was refreshingly favorable in favor of the blogosphere, calling the old media out on their effort to discredit the blogosphere as a reputable news source, while failing to act as a reputable news source themselves.

On the surface, the blogosphere must be a threat to the vast array of pundits that have taken over news coverage in the past few years. Bloggers have been attacked for repeating allegations, covering stories without proper fact-checking, and writing biased stories.

It is true that many internet bloggers are uncredentialed, and do not have the training and education of professional journalists. I don't claim to be unbiased, but I do make an effort to only cover fact-checked stories, and to avoid propagating unverified rumors.

In reality, the accusations of bloggers made by traditional media can just as easily be pointed back at the old media. Fox News, the New York Post, the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh, and the vast majority of the right wing radio network have made a living of biased news coverage, propagating unverified rumors, and failing to fact-check their stories:

  • Several years ago, Rush Limbaugh was caught directly quoting a feed from the Media Research Center which ended up being an Aprils Fool's Day joke.
  • Jeff Gannon, the uncredentialed Bush Administration Shill recently exposed by the blogosphere, was caught reproducing press briefings from the Whitehouse verbatim on his website, Talon News. This was actually among the less objectionable of Gannon's offenses, as the drama playing out in the mainstream media is currently revealing.
  • Day after Day, continues to expose lies produced by the Republican Echo Chamber. Instead of exposing the daily follies and lies of the Bush Administration, the so-called liberal media continues to focus on the actions of those that dare oppose the administration.
In one of the most egregious offenses of the past few months, Brit Hume, anchor of the Fox News Channel, misquoted former president Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, claiming that FDR was in favor of eventually privatizing social security. This was a complete lie on the part of Hume. Even after being called on the lie, Hume has refused to publicly apologize for the incident, or even offer a correction, instead claiming that he was misquoted. A growing movement has been calling for Brit Hume to either resign, or to at least offer a public apology to Hume's viewers.

This action by Hume goes beyond being just a disservice to America -- This level of intellectual dishonesty is negligent and demonstrates contempt for the truth and for the American Public. The worst is that, in a clear demonstration of exactly how the Republican Noise Machine functions -- the lies of Hume have been repeated by William J. Bennet, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, FOX News Live anchor David Asman, and CBS News Sunday Morning anchor and CBS Radio Network host Charles Osgood.

This offence is now bordering on the criminally negligent. Misrepresenting a former president of the United States in a direct effort to advance to agenda of the current administration is propaganda, which is a direct threat to the democracy and freedom of the United States.

The mass media has become far to complacent for far too long. The new media - the blogosphere - has stepped in to fill in the gap left by a lax media, unwilling to make the effort and sacrifice required by those that wish to aspire to a lofty slogan like "Real Journalism, Fair and Balanced".