Monday, November 11, 2013

CBS: Cronkite's Bastard Sons

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

     What we ought to be talking about is not what a bad two weeks President Obama and the ACA just endured but what a bad fortnight CBS had had.
     Within a week, CBS issued two reports that, in a sane universe, should've completely erased any middling credibility they'd earned by finally getting rid of eye candy Katie Couric and installing Scott Pelley in the Evening News chair. Let's start with the recently-revived Benghazi "scandal" on 60 Minutes.
     David Rhodes, a former Fox "News" operative, was made President of CBS News nearly three years ago despite being at the helm at Fox during some of their most notorious hoaxes. And it goes without saying that, as head honcho of CBS News, he'd personally signed off on this thinly-disguised hit job. As Newscorpse points out:
What this tells us is that Rhodes was a top executive at Fox News during the hotly contested 2000 presidential election where Fox mistakenly called the state of Florida (and thus the nation) for George W. Bush. He was there when Fox News was cheerleading for the U.S. to invade Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and did not pose any threat to America. He was there when Fox was defending Bush’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. He was there during the economic meltdown of 2008 to make sure that it was blamed on poor people buying homes and the Democrats in Congress. He was there when Fox was hyping electoral attacks against candidate Obama that included maligning ACORN, advancing associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, and of course, the everlasting nonsense of birtherism.
In short, Rhodes was one of the principal architects of the Fox News slant toward far-right extremism and brazen conservative partisanship.
     In other words, Rhodes had been there from the beginning and was therefore front and center for much of the Obama administration and Fox "News'" countless lies about the President and virtually everyone who's ever worked in his administration. So it doesn't strike me as surprising that, with a former Fox operative pulling the levers behind the curtain, Rhodes' former employers would cheer 60 Minutes' report hoax then remain silent when CBS would, after defending the segment, then admit they'd been Curveballed.
     At first, CBS, in their arrogant defense of one of the worst and sloppiest pieces of journalism in this or any decade, allowed a tiny mea culpa by admitting that, "Well, yes, maybe we could've disclosed that our main witness has a pending book deal with Threshold, a right wing Simon and Schuster imprint that we just happen to own and could, coincidentally benefit by pimping Morgan Jones' upcoming book."
     (Sidebar: About the only sign we've gotten so far of any comeuppance for all concerned parties is the news that the CBS-owned Threshold Editions pulled the book from their catalog.)
     In CBS's ersatz apology last night, Lara Logan couldn't help but get in one more lie about Dylan Davies when she claimed (emphasis mine),
After our report aired, questions arose about whether his account was true when an incident report surfaced. It told a different story about what he did the night of the attack. Davies denied having anything to do with that incident report and insisted that the story he told us was not only accurate it was the same story that he told the FBI when they interviewed him.
     That's simply not true, as Lee Stranahan points out. As we all now know, Dylan "Morgan Jones" Davies struck while the iron was hot, punked a right wing sewer and CBS News and nearly pulled it off until revealed as a fraud by, as usual, citizen journalists.
     CBS has also done more than its fair share of trashing Obamacare by allowing Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats to spout their own conspiracy theories and lies about the ACA without any challenges or fact-checking whatsoever. The network rolled out Jan Crawford and Dianne Barrette as proof that Obamacare is the worst bit of legislation to come out ever. The problem with that segment is, while it wasn't entirely made up of falsehoods, it certainly played fast and loose with the truth. In fact, days after the segment aired, Jonathan Cohn showed her a few alternate plans CBS never bothered to find for her in their plainly partisan report and Barrette later told Cohn Obamacare "was a blessing in disguise."
     More officially, last month Fox's Greta Van Susteren, of all people, showed up CBS and embarrassed Jan Crawford by revealing a misconception about her Obamacare horror story. And when one of Fox's most viciously partisan hacks has to correct CBS on their facts, you know it's a sad day for American journalism.
     So, what we've seen over the last couple of weeks, CBS used either fraudulent or clueless witnesses to advance an undeclared political agenda, refused to disclose their own president of news was a former Fox partisan who'd been with Roger Ailes from the start and owns a right wing publishing imprint who was about to publish a "tell-all" book by the very guy they'd interviewed.
     It would be extremely interesting to hear what Walter Cronkite, "America's Most Trusted Man", would've said about the dishonest, partisan and misleading right wing shenanigans of his former employer. And while CBS ought to have scorn and jeers heaped on its arrogant head from now until Doomsday, one has to wonder why Fox "News", which cheered the Benghazi report from the rafters, is held to a much lower standard and suffered not one tenth of the fallout to which they should've been subjected after the countless lies they've told over the last 17 years about the Clinton and Obama administrations and the water-carrying they did for eight years during Bush.
     One also must wonder why CBS is also seemingly immune. They feel the tremors from the blowup and have adjusted accordingly but thus far have not suffered the damage they had after the infamous 2004 National Guard report that saw the firing of four producers, the ouster of their anchor Dan Rather and the immediate cancellation of 60 Minutes II.
     Despite getting that story right, in which right wing citizen journalists were carping about fonts in Bush's National Guard records, a huge part of CBS' earth was salted in a way we cannot reasonably expect to see in light of their shamelessly bad reportage on Benghazi and the new health care law.


At November 13, 2013 at 7:55 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"Despite getting that story right, in which right wing citizen journalists were carping about fonts in Bush's National Guard records, "

Yep, that was the end of CBS as a reputable news outlet, when they fell all over themselves to appease the radical extremists on the far-right.


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