Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Public editor slimes Swift Boat Vets, hurts N&O

This past Sunday Raleigh News & Observer public editor Ted Vaden, “the readers advocate,” tried his best to justify the N&O’s outrageously biased “anything for Obama” campaign “reporting.”

That’s to be expected. Vaden isn’t really “the readers advocate.” He’s an N&O organization man paid to minimize, rationalize, and in other ways obscure the N&O’s most biased and sometimes outright false reporting, while hyping anything decent the paper does.

So I wasn’t surprised Vaden’s column tried to minimize and fog over the N&O’s Obama bias.

But like other readers I was disgusted when Vaden went out of his way to use a false claim to take a cheap shot at a group of veterans who served America with courage and honor.

According to Vaden:

[Political] coverage . . . balancing positive and negative [stories] produces false balances that don't reflect truth -- as when the press gave "balanced" attention to the Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry in 2004.
Vaden’s repeating the standard MSM lie that the Swift Boat veterans smeared Sen. John Kerry.

The truth is what the Swiftees said that could be verified was almost entirely confirmed. For instance, even Kerry today no longer claims he spent that Christmas in Cambodia.

Some things the Swiftees said couldn’t be confirmed because Kerry then as now won’t sign a simple form allowing public access to all his military records, something he’d promised to do well before the campaign began.

The following is from Bruce Kesler at Democracy Project:
The Left created a new verb, “swiftboating,” to represent false political charges that are, again a term endlessly repeated in the media, “unsubstantiated” in reference to the case presented by the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth against John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The Swift Boat veterans presented much corroborated evidence and witness reports, and other researchers confirmed many elements. Largely due to the unwillingness of John Kerry to come clean about his record, however, there are elements that have not been firmly tied down. The major media, then till now, have mostly failed to investigate the charges or press Kerry for his claims or records, and some major venues collaborated with Kerry to squelch the charges.

So, that works to leave those still defending John Kerry’s record with leeway and ink to quibble or to besmirch the Swift Boat veterans. But, Kerry dares not to reveal his full records or go into court. Instead, he relies upon allies in the media to evade, obfuscate and to smear. ...
Ted Vaden is no advocate for those who want the N&O to be a paper that provides reliable news reporting as free of bias and falsehoods as possible, and is quick to recognize, admit and correct bias and error when they do occur.

A lot of what Vaden writes makes things harder for those at the N&O trying to stop the steady drift of readers (and advertisers) away from the liberal/leftist N&O to more trustworthy news and commentary sources.

I’ll end this post with a comment by SpocksBrain on the thread of Vaden’s column:
Vaden said "The N&O endorsed Obama last Sunday. Editorial endorsements are made separately from the news coverage, and news reporters and editors don't know in advance whom the paper will endorse."

LOL! Come on, Ted! Everybody in North Carolina knew six months ago who the N&O would endorse for president.

See this is why your circulation keeps going down the toilet. You people actually believe your readers are stupid.

In the same vein, you imply that reporting on Swift Boat "attack" ads was a misguided attempt at fairness. Why is reporting on fact based ads wrong?

Remember, no one has ever collected the $1 million reward for disproving any facts in those ads.


Anonymous said...

John, I don't know how else to alert you to this post at Newsbusters, but this is very telling. Note the "hooker lines."

Imagine if a speechwriter for John McCain had switched sides and announced she was going to vote for Barack Obama. Would she not be featured bigtime in the mainstream media complete with new thrills running up Chris Matthews leg? Well, this did happen except that it was an Obama speechwriter, Wendy Button, who became disillusioned with The One and switched supporting McCain. Here are the highlights of Wendy Button's explanation of why she made the switch:

[big][i]Since I started writing speeches more than ten years ago, I have always believed in the Democratic Party. Not anymore. Not after the election of 2008. This transformation has been swift and complete and since I’m a woman writing in the election of 2008, “very emotional."

Young lady, only when the switch is made from Republican to Democrat will it be mentioned in the MSM. They search the country for "lifelong Republicans" who are going to vote for Obama but when an Obama speechwriter switches over to the "Dark Side," all you will hear from the MSM is the sound of crickets chirping.

[big][i]When we first met, Obama and I had a nice conversation about speeches and writing, and at the end of the meeting I handed him a pocket-sized bottle of Grey Poupon mustard so he wouldn’t have to ask staff if it was okay to put it on his hamburger. At the bottom of the bottle was the logo for “The South Beach Diet” and he snapped, “Oh so you read People magazine.” He seemed to think that I was commenting on his bathing suit picture.

I helped with his announcement speech and others. I worked in the Senate when he was in D.C. One day after a hearing on Darfur, we were walking back to the office. I was still hobbling from a very bad ankle injury and in a very kind and gentle way he offered his arm when we approached the stairs. But later in debate preps and phone conversations and meetings, I realized that I had made a mistake. I didn’t belong. No matter how hard I tried, my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

...The final straw came the other week when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (a.k.a Joe the Plumber) asked a question about higher taxes for small businesses. Instead of celebrating his aspirations, they were mocked. He wasn’t “a real plumber,” and “They’re fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund manager,” and the patronizing, “I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the Plumber.”

Having worked in politics, I know that absolutely none of this is on the level. This back and forth is posturing, a charade, and a political game. These lines are what I refer to as “hooker lines”—a sure thing to get applause and the press to scribble as if they’re reporting meaningful news.

As the nation slouches toward disaster, the level of political discourse is unworthy of this moment in history. We have Republicans raising Ayers and Democrats fostering ageism with “erratic” and jokes about Depends. Sexism. Racism. Ageism and maybe some Socialism have all made their ugly cameos in election 2008. It’s not inspiring. Perhaps this is why I found the initial mocking of Joe so offensive and I realized an old line applied: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.

The party I believed in wouldn’t look down on working people under any circumstance. And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations.

...Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign from Joe the Plumber to the bitter comments, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. At first, certain Democrats and the press called Senator Clinton “dishonest.” They went after her cleavage. They said her experience as First Lady consisted of having tea parties. There was no outrage over “Bros before Hoes” or “Iron My Shirt.” Did Senator Clinton make mistakes? Of course. She’s human.

But here we are about a week out and it’s déjà vu all over again. Really, front-page news is how the Republican National Committee paid for Governor Sarah Palin’s wardrobe? Where’s the op-ed about how Obama tucks in his shirt when he plays basketball or how Senator Biden buttons the top button on his golf shirt?

...Governor Palin and I don’t agree on a lot of things, mostly social issues. But I have grown to appreciate the Governor. I was one of those initial skeptics and would laugh at the pictures. Not anymore. When someone takes on a corrupt political machine and a sitting governor, that is not done by someone with a low I.Q. or a moral core made of tissue paper. When someone fights her way to get scholarships and work her way through college even in a jagged line, that shows determination and humility you can’t learn from reading Reinhold Niebuhr. When a mother brings her son with special needs onto the national stage with love, honesty, and pride, that gives hope to families like mine as my older brother lives with a mental disability. And when someone can sit on a stage during the Sarah Palin rap on Saturday Night Live, put her hands in the air and watch someone in a moose costume get shot—that’s a sign of both humor and humanity.

Has she made mistakes? Of course, she’s human too. But the attention paid to her mistakes has been unprecedented compared to Senator Obama’s “57 states” remarks or Senator Biden using a version of the Samuel Johnson quote, “There’s nothing like a hanging in the morning to focus a man’s thoughts.”

...I was dead wrong about the surge and thought it would be a disaster. Senator John McCain led when many of us were ready to quit. Yet we march on as if nothing has changed, wedded to an old plan, and that too is a long way from the Democratic Party.

I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women and working people as just part of the new kind of politics. It’s wrong and someone has to say that. And also say that the Democratic Party’s talking points—that Senator John McCain is just four more years of the same and that he’s President Bush—are now just hooker lines that fit a very effective and perhaps wave-winning political argument…doesn’t mean they’re true. After all, he is the only one who’s worked in a bipartisan way on big challenges.

Wow! Pretty strong stuff. However, Wendy, don't expect any accolades from the MSM for making your political switch in the "wrong direction." Oh, and I highly doubt you will ever again be permitted to post to your Huffington Post blog.

—P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog

Anonymous said...

Kerry probably should not disclose all of his military record. His academic "prowess" got shredded when his Yale transcripts became available and we learned that this putative genius had lower grades than Bush (who attended Yale at about the same time).

By the way, has this year's anointed genius released his transcripts from Columbia or Harvard Law or his SATs or LSATs?

Anonymous said...

I'd say the N&O came out for BHO a long time ago....