Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hyman and the Glass House

In his latest commentary, Mark Hyman falsely suggests that the story of George W. Bush’s shirking of his National Guard duties has been “discredited” by conflating the issue of journalistic practices at CBS with the much larger story about the president’s past.

Taking USA Today to task for chiding CBS for the ”60 Minutes” episode but not acknowledging its own reporting of the Bush/Guard story, Hyman implies that the charges against Bush were based only on the sources used in the now infamous “60 Minutes” piece. Certainly, the folks at “60 Minutes” didn’t thoroughly review their sources, and whether or not the documents in question were real or the information in them valid, the public needs journalists to thoroughly investigate sources they use.

Having said that, let’s keep in mind that the White House itself saw the CBS memos and did not challenge their veracity. Moreover, there are
plenty of sources that confirm what the CBS memos allege: Bush didn’t fulfill his commitments to the Guard, yet received an honorable discharge. U.S News and World Report and the Boston Globe both did independent investigations that show Bush reneged on his commitments. And despite the promise of a significant cash payout to any member of Bush’s National Guard unit in Alabama who can verify that he actually showed up for duty, not a single piece of evidence has emerged that proves Bush served there.

And its more than a little ridiculous for anyone at Sinclair to pontificate on the sin of not vetting sources. After all, Sinclair Broadcasting planned to air a propaganda piece called “Stolen Honor” that was filled with unsubstantiated and demonstrably false allegations against John Kerry. When met with resistance, Sinclair backpedaled and aired a slightly watered down version of the hit piece which was still
riddled with inaccuracies.

As long as we’re addressing the issue of unsubstantiated claims, let us not forget the ongoing story based on false information: the war in Iraq. As important as it is for journalists to be sure about sources before going to press, it’s infinitely more important for the government to be sure about the necessity to go to war before sending young Americans to fight and die halfway around the world. Oddly enough, though, we haven’t heard Hyman say a single word to condemn the use of suspect sources and sketchy intelligence that has led to the deaths of more than a thousand Americans and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians, with no end in sight.

Why do you suppose that is?

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted, thanks for all that you are doing. I have been fighting the 'Sinclair Propaganda Machine' for quite some time now. I am in the viewing area of their Asheville NC station, WLOS 13, the ABC affiliate. I have written several letters to Mark, to the station and to the FCC complaining about their Provda-style coverage of Republican views and this shameless, secretive and corrupt administration that has replaced democracy in this country with a Neo-Facist Corporacracy. While Sinclair is certainly the worst abuser of the TV spectrum of the airwaves, Fox is the worst on cable and satelite, and Clear Channel covers the radio spectrum. The other so-called mainstream media, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CBS, ABC and now even PBS are skewing their coverage to the right as well. If we are not able to reverse this shift, all hope for the survival of American Democracy will disappear with the muting of the last Liberal/Progressive voice on the air. If the internet was not here at this point in time it would already be over! Don't give up the cause - Media Is The Issue! Please add to your list of links. They are doing some very good work in this area such as offering Media Reform Toolkits to help the people regain control of their own airwaves. By the way, I heard about your site from the segment on Air America Radio and I will be checking in often. Thanks again for all that you are doing. Mike B. in SC.


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