When the Swiftboat story first surfaced in early August 2004, John Kerry ignored it on the advice of his staff. For that he blames his loss.
Why did his advisors take this tack? Most likely because they had confidence the story would be “ignored” by the old media. And it was. That is until talk radio and Fox news made it an issue. The rest is history.
The new bias of the established media is not the phony story or the coordinated regurgitation of DNC talking points. It is the blackout of major news stories that reflect badly on Democrats. But the curtain of obscurity is being peeled back by Andrew Breitbart. The NEA scandal was exposed by Breitbart’s Big Hollywood website and the more recent ACORN exposé was the blockbuster to launch his Big Government site. But he doesn’t stop there. Breitbart is challenging the old media. He challenged them on September 7, two days before the O’Keefe and Giles tapes were made public. He knew the media would jointly ignore the story. He was setting them up. And they took the bait.
Here is his challenge from the Sept 21 Washington Times (emphasis added), read it all:
Everything you needed to know about the unorthodox roll out of the now-notorious ACORN sting videos was hidden in plain sight in my Sept. 7 column, "Katie Couric, Look in the Mirror."
ACORN was not the only target of those videos; so were Katie, Brian, Charlie and every other mainstream media pooh-bah. They were not going to report this blockbuster unless they were forced to. And they were. What's more, it ain't over yet. Not every hint I dropped in that piece about what was to come has played itself out yet. Stay tuned.
Thus was born a multimedia, multiplatform strategy designed to force the reluctant hands of ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post. Videos of five different ACORN offices in five separate cities would be released on five consecutive weekdays over a full week - Baltimore, Washington, New York, San Bernadino and San Diego. By dripping the videos out, we exposed to anyone paying attention that ACORN was lying through its teeth and that the media would look imbecilic continuing to trot out their hapless spokespeople.
If the media, as expected, pretended that the story didn't exist, they'd have another debacle on their hands comparable to the failure to report the shocking views of the White House's "green jobs czar," Van Jones. If they invested in the story, I told Mr. O'Keefe, they would do ACORN's defense work. I told him the focus needed to be on the message, not the messenger. Otherwise, the mainstream media would attempt to direct attention away from the damaging video evidence.
The best example of this came from ABC's anchor, Charlie Gibson. "I don't even know about it. So you've got me at a loss," he told WLS radio when asked about it. "But my goodness, if it's got everything, including sleaziness in it, we should talk about it in the morning." But he also said that what was seen on these videos was best left for the "cables."
Is this not malevolent arrogance?
In his September 25 column at wsj.com ever delightful James Taranto takes direct aim at the New York Times for burying news that doesn’t suit its taste. It’s a humorous but stinging rebuke of the Times for its failure to report, entitled ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Journalism. Again, emphasis added.
If you're young enough to have read those "Where's Waldo?" books as a kid, you are well-prepared to read the New York Times. On Wednesday the Times finally took note of the NEA scandal, in a story of slightly over 350 words that appeared on page 21: “The White House on Tuesday instructed government agencies to keep politics away from the awarding of federal grants, a step taken as the administration sought to minimize the fallout after an official at the National Endowment for the Arts urged artists to advance President Obama's agenda.”
“The new guidelines were issued at a meeting between White House officials and chiefs of staff across the executive branch, following the disclosure of a conference call last month in which artists were asked to work with the Corporation for Public Service to promote Mr. Obama's health care, education and environmental proposals.”
This is the first time the paper has mentioned the scandal, first reported 29 days earlier on Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood and 22 days earlier by Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck. This follows the same pattern as the Times's coverage of the Van Jones and Acorn scandals, both of which the paper did not mention at all until the Obama administration had taken some remedial action, and then reported only in brief stories on inside pages (though in fairness, a full-length front-page story about Jones's hypovehiculation appeared on the second day). Trying to find information about the Obama scandals in the Times can be a fun challenge, just like the "Where's Waldo?" books. But if your taste in puzzles runs more to crosswords or sudoku and you want the news delivered straight, there are plenty of better sources.
Howard Kurtz, media critic at the Washington Post attempts to marginalize the O’Keefe/Giles ACORN story by questioning whether it is journalism. In a column called Guerrilla Journalism he demeans the piece, calling it unbalanced. What he misses is the fact it was news and the Post failed to report it for over a week. Sorry Howard, that won’t work. I responded with a comment which I will share here (minor corrections made):
Whether the O'Keefe/Giles ACORN story was journalism or not, it was valid news. And most of the media ignored it. The Post ignored it, the NY Times ignored it, the LA Times ignored it, the Chicago Tribune ignored it. And Breitbart knew all of you would ignore it. That was the setup. In a Washington Times column he said the media was also the target and that’s why the tapes ran on 5 consecutive weekdays. He knew the story would be red hot before the media (other than Fox) would touch it. The first tape ran Wednesday, 9/9, and the last Tuesday 9/15. By Saturday 9/12, the Senate had defunded ACORN in one appropriations bill. Now that was in your backyard and it WAS news. The Post didn’t touch the story until it was 9 days old. Now that’s not good journalism.
Why did he think you wouldn’t cover it? Well, you didn’t cover the NEA/Sargent story which was and still is valid news. You didn’t cover the Edwards/Rielle Hunter story last year. Not even a mention of it until the National Enquirer blew it wide open and he dropped out of the race. He was a legitimate contender for the VP slot according to the pundits and the Vegas odds at the time. Non-liberals question why stories embarrassing to Democrats seem to be blacked out in the old media. I wonder too. Breitbart wondered but structured a blockbuster story to smoke the media out. He succeeded. That’s the real story.
It’s time for the old media to mend their ways. They have alienated half their audience, yet they wonder why Fox News ratings are skyrocketing and network news is tanking. They wonder why they can’t sell papers.
Integrity sells papers.