Monday's Washington Post op-ed page has a debate of sorts between Post columnists on the Dan Rather lawsuit against CBS. Eugene Robinson takes up the pro-Rather side, barely acknowledging Rather's phony documents en route to suggesting Rather "makes a valid argument about the larger issue," that CBS was cowardly in defending the story because corporations don't challenge the government like they used to, as in the golden days of the "Pentagon Papers." Recent experience doesn't exactly suggest the media is unwilling to expose national-security programs the ACLU wants exposed.
The anti-Rather side is taken up by Charles Lane, who's not buying any of Rather's bluster. (For the record, Lane was editor of The New Republic when Stephen Glass loaded that magazine with phony quotes and stories, so that either makes him the voice of experience, or a strange scold.) But his fake letter of Rather's is definitely fun to read:
"Dear CBS News:
"My new career at HDNet is keeping me busier than a bordello at Mardis Gras.
Earlier today I noted that in her HuffPo column, ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes continues to cling to the delusion that the Memogate documents were authentic. In an inteview on "Morning Joe," Dan Rather has now made a comparable reality-defying claim.
In a post-Don Imus world, one would think journalists would be on their guard to not say or write anything that could be in any way perceived as racist.
Yet, just days after CBS's Andy Rooney made a racial slur concerning Hispanic baseball players, NBC's Matt Lauer actually called outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a "piñata."
Certainly, given Gonzales's ethnic background, and the context of the discussion, mightn't "whipping boy" or "punching bag" have been more appropriate?
Unfortunately, as he was speaking to Democrat strategist James Carville, this is what Lauer said on Tuesday's "Today" show (h/t Steve Hill of Target Rich Environment):
So, did you hear that Andy Rooney made a racial slur last week about baseball players all being named "Rodriguez?"
Well, how could you, for it appears that virtually nobody reported it.
To bring you up to speed, the CBS "60 Minutes" commentator wrote a column about America's national pastime last Thursday, and stated the following (emphasis added):
The story of Immaculée Ilibagiza is nothing short of remarkable. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Immaculée and six other women hid in a tiny bathroom in the house of a Protestant minister as rival tribesmen searched to kill them. They hid under unimaginable conditions for three months as the threat of a gruesome death lurked outside.
How did Immaculée survive such a brutal ordeal? Through the power of prayer. She tells us in her amazing book Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust:
During my waking hours I was in constant communication with God, praying and meditating for 15 to 20 hours every day. I even dreamed of Jesus and the Virgin Mary during the few hours I slept. (page 107)
Yet when 60 Minutes profiled Ms. Ilibagiza's story last night (Sun., 7/1/07), no mention at all was made of her persistent prayer, even though this is absolutely a central component throughout her amazing story. Her prayers seemed to result in miracles during her confinement. (Read the book. I have, and it's unbelievable.)
Put aside for a minute the chuckles over a leftist magazine, dedicated to the poor of the earth and the worship of Mother Earth, holding a cruise for the rich on a big, polluting cruise ship. Guess who's coming to dinner on The Nation's Tenth Annual Seminar Cruise?
The May 13 edition of "60 Minutes" ran a generally positive piece on former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Correspondent Mike Wallace’s toughest questions were on topics where conservatives expressed concern, such as Romney’s inconsistent stances on social issues. However, one aspect of the interview involved Wallace’s question of Mitt Romney’s five sons with a less than subtle implication.
In February, CBS’ “60 Minutes” did a segment gushing over an anti-Iraq war petition called “Appeal For Redress” signed by about a thousand members of the military.
On Wednesday, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars presented Congress a petition signed by 2,700 current and former service members expressing support of the nation’s actions in Iraq.
As this movement was in direct response to "Appeal For Redress," it is safe to assume that “60 Minutes” will be interviewing some of these brave souls in an upcoming program, right?
Regardless of the answer, Stars and Stripes reported Friday (h/t NB member rx4music):
When Dobbs confirmed he's “not a fan” of Bush -- “No, I'm not. Whether it’s outsourcing, the war in Iraq, just disregard for our middle class” -- Stahl jumped in: “I'm sitting here saying to myself, 'This man runs a news show?' And you can just tell me you don’t like the President. Woo.” Yes, she really said “woo.” Dobbs explained: “I, matter of fact, insist that the audience know where I come from.” To which Stahl, an advocacy journalist long before Dobbs (see this 1991 MediaWatch critique), wondered: “What about fair and balanced?”
Back in January of 1989, when Reagan was still in office, Stahl told NBC's Bob Costas: “I predict historians are going to be totally baffled by how the American people fell in love with this man [Ronald Reagan] and followed him the way we did.” Five years later, on the old America's Talking cable channel, in an interview with Roger Ailes, she was appalled by how people were fooled by Reagan: “Here's a guy who fooled most of the people most of the time....He was a person who didn't understand the issues at all, and we know that for a fact....It's scary, because he led us off in the wrong direction.”
Days after Reagan died in 2004, on CNN'sLarry King Live, her 60 Minutes colleague Mike Wallace was curious about “when was the last time we had a President Americans loved?” Stahl doused the admiration of Reagan: “And of course, not all Americans loved him, Mike.”