Murdoch on the Pajamas Factor
Rupert Murdoch says the mainstream media has become contemptuous of its audience: Murdoch to media: You dug yourself a huge hole.
To make his point, Murdoch criticized the media reaction after bloggers debunked a “60 Minutes” report by former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, that President Bush had evaded service during his days in the National Guard.
“Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively. During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. ‘60 Minutes,’ he said, was a professional organization with ‘multiple layers of checks and balances.’ By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as ‘a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.’ But eventually it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Mr. Rather and his producer to resign.
“Mr. Rather and his defenders are not alone,” he continued. “A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let’s be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves.”
The media are still defensive about this incident. Not a single major news source has unequivocally admitted that those Rathergate documents were obvious, proven fakes; when they refer to the incident, it’s always phrased like this: “Right-wing bloggers alleged that the memos were forged,” or “Conservative pundits cast doubt on the authenticity of the documents.”
Bush Guard Documents: Forged
UPDATE at 11/17/08 10:20:21 am:
Sure enough, along comes the New York Times to prove my point: Rather’s Lawsuit Shows Role of G.O.P. in Inquiry at CBS.
Mr. Rather attracted the ire of Republican bloggers and talk radio in particular after the segment, which was broadcast on a weekday edition of “60 Minutes” in September 2004. It purported to have unearthed evidence about favorable treatment extended to President Bush during his Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard.
The network eventually responded to its critics by saying it could no longer vouch for the authenticity of the documents on which the report had been based. The network also commissioned an investigation led by Dick Thornburgh, a prominent Republican and former United States attorney general, and Louis D. Boccardi, a former chief executive of The Associated Press, not so much to verify the documents, but to determine how the segment got on the air.
“Not so much to verify the documents!” Because, hey! Who really cares whether a major news organization was part of an attempt to skew a presidential election with fraudulent documents? Let’s focus on the important stuff, like “the ire of Republican bloggers.”
(Hat tip: Soccer Dad.)