The Whiteboarding of History, starring John McCain and CBS
Does Katie Couric deserve to be fired because McCain's real (erroneous) answer as to the timeline of the Anbar Awakening got left on the editing room floor and substituted for another answer that let him look a little less foolish?
Perhaps, perhaps not. Couric, after all, asked McCain a proper question and gave him a chance to answer it in his own words. I have no way of knowing what latitude is within Couric's considerable pay grade and if she has the juice to stand over an editor's shoulder and say, "Cut that."
Couric's only a symptom of the problem with the news media and its cyclical handjobbing of clueless Republican presidential contenders. This is essentially the same media that helped Karl Rove destroy McCain's campaign during the South Carolina primary in 2000. And now, eight years older but hardly eight years wiser, McCain is benefiting from the same media that insist on making this a solid two horse race because it's better for ratings.
Or maybe there's a more sinister motive at work here, something more selfish and sinister than ratings and the promise of future access. Something that is all but obviously delineated in a marked difference between the way the media treat McCain and Barack Obama.
The real problem, as I see it from the standpoint of a news consumer as well as a political/social/media blogger, is an inability to understanding the true meaning of fairness and balance.
The media think fairness and balance means making two candidates look as if they're on an even footing no matter the difference in qualifications for an important job such as the American presidency.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it's transparent, such as the height and intellectual difference between the two candidates in the last general election.
But fairness and balance doesn't mean making two candidates look equally qualified for a high office even to the point of airbrushing from a nationally televised news broadcast an idiotic and misinformed answer. CBS did, indeed, provide on its website a video showing McCain's real answer to Couric as well as a transcript. But you can't tell me the transcript and video were seen by as many eyes as Couric's Orwellian broadcast.
Fairness and balance means letting people do their own speaking on their own behalf, in their own words, and letting people like me form our own conclusions. The MSM have been giving McCain one pass after another when he makes one moronic comment after another.
Such as when he insists that Ahmadinejad is the real leader of Iran and that Barack Obama had pledged to negotiate with President Ahmadinejad.
When he claims, time and again, that Iran is aiding al Qaida.
When he makes repeated mentions, year after year, of a nonexistent Czechoslovakia.
When he jokes about killing Iranian civilians with bombs and lung cancer.
When he insists that he can win the election in January.
When he claims that we have 25,000 less troops in Iraq than we actually had.
When he boasts that he can kick Russia out of the G8.
I literally haven't the time to discover and source every one of the many, many senior moments that McCain has had just since last year. There simply are too many. Unfortunately, our mainstream media feel the same way since none of the above gaffes have been seized on for what they are: Troubling examples of how frighteningly unmoored from reality John McCain is.
If Katie Couric gets shitcanned from CBS by January next year as people are speculating, I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep over it. But firing Couric is not going to change the way the media report, or not report, the news any more than right wing bloggers helping to dump Dan Rather put us in a better-informed position than we're in now.