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The New York Times is Concerned About Ethics

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The New York Times’ Adam Cohen is the latest in a long line of mainstream journalists who simply don’t get it: The Latest Rumbling in the Blogosphere: Questions About Ethics.

The most outrageous section:

The blogs that demanded Dan Rather’s ouster accused him of old-school offenses: not sufficiently checking the facts about President Bush’s National Guard service, refusing to admit and correct errors, and having undisclosed political views that shaded the journalism. Eason Jordan, CNN’s chief news executive, resigned this year after a blogmob attacked him for a reported statement at the World Economic Forum at Davos that the military had aimed at journalists in Iraq and killed 12 of them. Their complaint was even more basic than in Mr. Rather’s case: they were upset that Mr. Jordan said something they believed to be untrue.

But Mr. Rather’s and Mr. Jordan’s misdeeds would most likely not have landed them in trouble in the world of bloggers, where few rules apply.

This is so completely wrong, it seems like a deliberate attempt at misdirection. Dan Rather’s (and more importantly, CBS News’) “offense” was not “failing to check facts about the President’s National Guard service,” or “having undisclosed political views.”

The real “old-school” offense that CBS News, Mapes, and Rather committed: using phony documents in a blatant attempt to tilt the election against Bush. Adam Cohen is simply trying to muddy the waters with his vague and misleading summary.

And to claim that a blogger who tried to pass off similarly faked documents would “not land in trouble” is just, well, stupid. The blogosphere is merciless in such cases, and any well-known blogger who tried such a stunt would be discredited, probably within minutes, and never trusted again.

There’s a lot more wrong with this article, and I’ll direct you to some other blogs who have already done a terrific job of pointing out the other fallacies and double standards at work:

Right Wing Nut House: The Future of Blogs (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Wonkette)

Tim Worstall: Blog Ethics From the NYT

Mudville Gazette: Welcome to the Monkey House

UPDATE at 5/8/05 12:33:46 pm:

Patterico: The New York Times’s Adam Cohen Lectures Bloggers

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