Thursday, January 13, 2005

Pyongyang on the Potomac: III

Cliff Schecter, the "liberal half" of Sinclair Broadcasting’s on-air pundit duo, is “pretty pissed” that his conservative counterpart, Armstrong Williams, got to take a limo to Sinclair HQ on election night “while I drove there with my wife in our dirt-caked Subaru.” Now, Schecter knows why. "Armstrong and [Sinclair CEO] David Smith are very close," a former Sinclair employee tells Eric Boehlert. "He's a huge Armstrong fan and he made him a priority at News Central.”

The Williams case -- combined with the Monday release of the CBS "Memogate" report and, to a lesser extent, MediaChannel's revelation that the New York Times is buying into a racist corporate culture in its dealings with Boston Metro -- makes this one of mainstream media's bloodiest weeks, with its stock in the public trust falling to an all-time low. Still, Kathleen Parker writes, this proves that journalists are held to a higher standard than bloggers, politicians, businesspeople and the like:

For all their flaws, mainstream (institutional) journalists are accountable where others are not. When they mess up, consequences are real and ruthless, as Williams and the CBS folks can attest. That much consumers can rely upon.
Joanne Hostrow echoes Parker's view. In her Thursady Denver Post column, Hostrow warns that this low point for media could be just the ammunition the White House needs to further blast what President Bush has called "the filter" of American journalism. Still, Hostrow concludes:
How striking the difference in ethical standards: When Bush administration honchos failed to produce weapons of mass destruction, they left office with medals.
For David Harsanyi, it's the bloggers who are helping keep journalists in line. Harsanyi welcomes the emergence of the fact-checking wing of the blogosphere:
. . .the rise of new media give the public more options. That's always positive. It doesn't diminish the work of journalists - unless they're sloppy or on the take.


Anonymous said...

Remember that offensive and racist label "Tom"? In this case maybe not so offensive?

Anonymous said...

What a deal: Sell your soul AND pass "jail" AND collect almost $1/4M. Ain't America grand? Anybody home?

Anonymous said...

I saw the 60 Minutes episode that is now causing "heads to roll". Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't one of those people interviewed the secretary of the base commander who also had doubts about the memos' authenticity, but who simultaneously had NO doubts as to the gist of the memos themselves: That Bush was irresponsible, insubordinate, AWOL, etc.?