Rathergate anniversary - 39 days and counting - Judge Posner, New York Times miss the point
In an otherwise biased article that misses the point, the following appears in the New York Times today:
The conventional news media are embattled. Attacked by both left and right in book after book, rocked by scandals, challenged by upstart bloggers, they have become a focus of controversy and concern. Their audience is in decline, their credibility with the public in shreds. In a recent poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 65 percent of the respondents thought that most news organizations, if they discover they've made a mistake, try to ignore it or cover it up, and 79 percent opined that a media company would hesitate to carry negative stories about a corporation from which it received substantial advertising revenues.
The MSM/DNC will never understand the forces that undermine its power and credibility as long as it pretends to be "attacked by both left and right." The MSM/DNC will never "get it" as long as it focuses on "advertising" instead of leftist ideology as the source of its credibility decline.
The article is useful notwithstanding its errors, as it details the MSM/DNC's decline. [See also this post and Chapter 5 of Hugh Hewitt's book, "Blog."].
The poll referenced by the NYT article chronicles the MSM/DNC decline only through 2000, so it fails to note the impact of Rathergate. But the poll and the article demonstrate that Rathergate was a result, more than a cause, of the MSM/DNC decline. Years of lies and biased coverage made Rathergate inevitable. The climate was ripe for a scandal in which a major MSM/DNC unit like CBS would be caught red-handed. Had 60 minutes elected to pass on the national guard story, some other MSM/DNC unit would have been caught in some major lie sooner or later. [See the 2005 list for some examples.] And that lie would have rocketed the blogosphere into the major national prominence that it enjoys today. As one who knows how to connect dots can glean from the NYT article, years of bias had so eroded MSM/DNC credibility with the public that one major lie just as the election campaign was heating up was all that it took to push the MSM/DNC over the edge.
If I worked at the New York Times, I would stop trying to demonize the Swift Boat Vets and update my polling information to reflect the continued MSM/DNC decline following September 8, 2004.
Click here for previous posts on the significance of Rathergate.