Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 30, 2007

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM....Ken Silverstein wrote a fascinating expose for the July issue of Harper's about DC's lobbying industry. Silverstein wanted to understand how, exactly, these firms operate when approached by an ethically-dubious client, and what lobbyists would/could do for a price.

Of course, if the Washington editor of Harper's Magazine calls up one of these firms, he'll get plenty of spin and very few answers. If "Kenneth Case," a consultant for "The Maldon Group," a mysterious (and fictitious) London-based firm that claimed to have a financial stake in improving the public image of neo-Stalinist Turkmenistan calls up, he'll get a candid assessment of what services are available.

So, Silverstein went undercover, took on a fictitious persona, and gained some fascinating, albeit disturbing, insights.

In some circles, what Silverstein did was unethical. In short, he misrepresented himself -- a journalistic no-no. "No matter how good the story," Howard Kurtz wrote, "lying to get it raises as many questions about journalists as their subjects." Kurtz was hardly alone; the DC media establishment has been less than shy about denouncing Silverstein's tactics.

Silverstein responded today in an LA Times op-ed, arguing that a) this media establishment is far too close to the political establishment; and b) until news outlets start taking investigative journalism seriously again, the public will suffer.

The decline of undercover reporting -- and of investigative reporting in general -- also reflects, in part, the increasing conservatism and cautiousness of the media, especially the smug, high-end Washington press corps. As reporters have grown more socially prominent during the last several decades, they've become part of the very power structure that they're supposed to be tracking and scrutinizing.

Chuck Lewis, a former "60 Minutes" producer and founder of the Center for Public Integrity, once told me: "The values of the news media are the same as those of the elite, and they badly want to be viewed by the elites as acceptable."

I suspect this will make Silverstein even less popular with the media establishment, but he makes a very compelling case.

Steve Benen 2:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Comments

I don't trust the complaints against journalists going undercover. This is the only way we are going to find out lots of things that we really need to know. It's for a worthy cause, and since the government and business and etc. establishments lie every day, let's keep that well-intentioned journalistic "dishonesty" in perspective. There are other things we need to stand up to ...

Posted by: Neil B. on June 30, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

These guys love it when journalists get involved in stings against regular folks, they love hidden camera exposes. Why do they not love it when the targets are PR firms? Is it because those folks are a bit nearer to them? Is it because the press now identifies with PR firms, feels a kindred spirit with them?

Posted by: QrazyQat on June 30, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

"
"No matter how good the story," Howard Kurtz wrote, "lying to get it raises as many questions about journalists as their subjects."
"

So cheerleading a nation to go to war against Iraq, or refusing to track the various malfeasances of the Bush White House, or going on about $400 hair cuts are ethical, but exposing this sort of behavior is unacceptable?
And the newspaper world is surprised that they're despised?

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 30, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"No matter how good the story," Howard Kurtz wrote, "lying to get it raises as many questions about journalists as their subjects."

I call Bullshit.
Or perhaps BS isn't sharp enough: STFU!

Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London would never had been written...

And that's just for starters.
Anybody else want to add more book titles that were totally dependent on the writer going undercover?

You say want to talk about journalism and integrity?

Fine.
I got game:
Let's begin with Chris Matthews (the bitch) going prime time with Ann Coulter (a witch). That has got to be one of the most embarrassing bits of tv journalism in the history of teevee....

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on June 30, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the last part of The Journalist's Creed, written years ago by Walter Williams, first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism:

"I believe that the journalism which succeeds best -- and best deserves success -- fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today's world."

Question: Does that describe ANY news or opinion journal today?

Posted by: onceuponatime on June 30, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

To catch a predator...

Posted by: sunship on June 30, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Of course none of the criticism of the Silverstein's story deals with the substance of the article, that the lobbyists would shill for the antichrist if the fee was right. It's all tut-tutting that a reporter would - ohmygod - lie to get a story.

QrazyQat has it right; if it's not "one of us" who's getting punked it's a great exposé. If it happens to one of the right people, it's just terribly shameful and unfair.

I guess letting today's PR-for-dictators go unmentioned is preferable to having bad manners.

Posted by: jrw on June 30, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly, where is Kurtz's outrage over the poor pedophiles and nigerian email scammers that MSNBC disparages.

Posted by: B on June 30, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Would somebody ask Howie Kurtz why it is OK for a local news reporter to set up an online sting to catch sexual predators on film for the evening news, but its' not ok to catch lobbyist predators for an article in Harpers?

Nah, don't ask him. That wouldn't be cricket.

What the hell ever happened to the journalism of the past. Where are the editors who would send reporters to hell and back for a story. Where are the reporters who would go. Whatever happened to journalists who would call bullshit on anybody, including their own mothers, if it would help them tell an important story.

I guess that kind of journalism went out of style when media consolidation eliminated any need for newspapers to compete. The current media only has room for comfortable Howie Kurtz types.

Posted by: corpus juris on June 30, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

The objections are ridiculous. There are many examples of journalists and writers going undercover to produce great stories, some of which have already been mentioned.

Posted by: harry on June 30, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Ken Silverstein was on Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS on 6/22. Here's the link to the story:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06222007/watch.html

Posted by: Rosali on June 30, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think you have to go undercover to be a great journalist, but you do have to be willing to ask hard questions and be willing to be shunned by the lazy, mainstream media who take garbage off Matt Drudge's piece of shit website and write articles from them.

The best investigative journalists working today, in my opinion, are Greg Palast and Robert Parry. But neither get the credit or the media coverage they deserve.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 30, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Deflator:

Drudge usually is nothing but links to stories from newspapers and other media sources (of varying quality). Not sure anybody COULD write a new article from a "Drudge story."

Now, if you want to make a case for lazy journalists just copying off the wire services...

Posted by: harry on June 30, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I can't wait for Howie Kurtz's blistering takedown of undercover police work.

Posted by: JB on June 30, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

There are two kinds of paralysis in Washington. One is scrutinizing how power aggrandizes more power. The other involves any policy initiative advancing the public interest. This kind of decadence usually precedes revolution or collapse. I don't fear this at all, just the perpetuation of the status quo.

Posted by: walt on June 30, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I got game, too.

Perhaps Howie could explain why we should respect an American media culture that a few weeks ago saw nothing the matter with collectively pre-empting the breaking story about Gen. Peter Pace's ouster at the Pentagon as JCS Chair, in order to instead breathlessly cover the saga of a petulant hotel heiress being led away in tears by L.A. County sheriff's deputies to a return date with a very perturbed district court judge.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 30, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

> If "Kenneth Case," a consultant for "The Maldon
> Group," a mysterious (and fictitious) London-based
> firm that claimed to have a financial stake in
> improving the public image of neo-Stalinist
> Turkmenistan calls up, he'll get a candid
> assessment of what services are available.

If a journalist call he gets non-denial denials, these, when carefully parsed, are quite possibly true.
If a potential "client" calls he gets a sales pitch, which may contains actual lies.

It is very well possible that a company that specializes in selling ideas might go a little overboard in promising the things it can do for a new client that claims to be talking to the competition.

This may be especially the case for groups that sell ideas that have trouble looking serious next to the facts.

I worry this happened in this case. So yeah, undercover journalism has its downsides.

That said I think PR companies have been shown to do disgusting things. Not for smallish new clients but for long time government clients. Like, say, dressing up the cute young daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador in a cute sweater to tell an emotional story about babies being "trown out of incubators" in front of a "congressional committee" thereby manipulating the US into invading Iraq
or setting up a CIA polygraph testimony of a "defector", knowing the guy is likely to fail it and than taking the testimony to Judith "WMD" Miller after watching him fail it thereby... again manipulating the US into another invasion of Iraq.

So the argument that DC press cant be stupid enough not to know what is going on and thus is to cozy with DC players... there is something to that. And undercover journalism looks like a great weapon against this problem.

So after watching the US media cover the story of a Egyptian inspector from Vienna investigation something in Iraq.... based on washington insiders I was struck to see a FOX reporter reporting live on the London gas tank car, live from in front of the capitol building that is.

Selecting stories based on impact is one thing, but then cutting spending to the point of caring not just about political impact but just about party political impact is just sad. It cant even make for appealing TV anymore. It is silly that in the age of "reality tv" tv news should care more about the impact for a guy from the house of representatives than a guy in a big brother house.

Forget the complaining of all volunteer armies leaving the public careless about war. Just make sure the next American idol is in the reserve and all of a sudden lies about a war have impact, TV impact! How does the estate tax play out for Paris Hilton?

Posted by: rty on June 30, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if anyone is doing any undercover work to get the real Paris Hilton story.

Posted by: B on June 30, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

If a potential "client" calls he gets a sales pitch, which may contains actual lies. It is very well possible that a company that specializes in selling ideas might go a little overboard in promising the things it can do for a new client that claims to be talking to the competition

I think this misses the point. The evil perpetuated by lobbyists-for-evil is not that they succeed, but that they are willing to try.

Posted by: jrw on June 30, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Jeebus Benen, this administration's criminal behavoir gets more and more insidious.

Gee, I wonder what exactly the Bushies are really wiretapping??

This administration was doing criminal acts from get go, and when we find evidence of the ugly acts this administration has done - I do not what Bush, Cheney and Rove simply resigning...

I want those man to do time in the federal pen.

This administration gave away unbid contracts,
threatened to fire government analyst Richard Foster if he revealed the true cost of Bush's big Pharma give away drug bill, wiretapped without judical oversight, exposed an CIA agent for purely vendictive reasons, caused Eric Schaeffer to resign because Bush would not enforce enviromental laws, and this administrtion used tortured in it's prisons.

The press has simple let this administration skate as it did one criminal act right after another. Ken Silverstein has bearly touched on what the press simply let the administration get away with.

This administration is the mafia, that move right into the Whitehouse.

Why would anyone NOT consider impeachment Bush, Cheney and Rove and then jailing all three?

Posted by: Me_again on June 30, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I have long wondered about the professionalism of the national media versus the professionalism of the local media and I have come to the conclusion that whatever is being taught in journalism school is either crap or the students are stooges. The local newspaper seems to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for the local government. The paper publishes the puff pieces, a few of the minor derogatory news items, but the bulk of the reporting is positive to the business interests.

I have been in touch with a couple of local reporters on local stories which should have been of interest and one story could eventually result in a multi-million dollar loss to the city, but no one wants to do the digging or the reporting to bring this out. I am beginning to wish that I had gone into journalism many years ago because I am disgusted with the reportage we're saddled with now!

Posted by: Fred on June 30, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

THis is despicable Kevin. Silberstein misrepresented himself, a clearly illegal activity, no less inethical. If a conservative guy did an expose on Micahel More or MoveOn, you guys would be screamin right now.

Posted by: egbert on June 30, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ken Silverstein may be my new hero, after Bob Somerby, for pointing out why David Gregory would interview Eliz. Edwards as if Ann Coulter had a good point. And for pointing out what's wrong with cable news/opinion and why the network news is ineffectual and why the NYT and the Wapo have sunk to the level of the Wash. Times:
being "balanced" means giving the same weight to a lie as you give to the truth.

Posted by: TJM on June 30, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

From Silverstein's LAT op-ed:

"...they offered to send congressional delegations to Turkmenistan and write and plant opinion pieces in newspapers under the names of academics and think-tank experts they would recruit. They even offered to set up supposedly "independent" media events in Washington that would promote Turkmenistan (the agenda and speakers would actually be determined by the lobbyists)."

Well, that certainly explains the increasing disconnect and dissonance between what you hear in the MSM (esp. here in the US) versus what you experience directly and what your gut tells you. Also, I find it very disturbing when something rather important happens here and you read about it on websites outside the country, i.e.:
Banks 'set to call in a swathe of loans'
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/06/26/cnusecon126.xml

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 30, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, please. What he did is no different than a cop going undercover, unless there's some mysterious angle to that position that I'm not aware of. Yes, he lied, but so what? It was the only way to get the story. Unless he also lied about what he found while investigating the subject and created a largely fictitious version of what happened, that's a non issue.

Posted by: Brian on June 30, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Everytime people like Howard Kurtz castigates someone for a "journalistic no no" he should be reminded of the selling of our adventure in Iraq and a real journalistic no no.

Posted by: darby1936 on June 30, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

The key is that he got an important story, a story completely ignored by Howie Kurtz and his crowd. If Silverstein's reporting was accurate and truthful he should be congratulated.

By the way, if you distrust the professional media, you don't have to simply abandon your interest in your government. There are lots of powerful new citizen journalist tools out there that will allow you to do much of your own reporting. Maybe then you can share what you find with the rest of us.

If enough of us start going to primary sources on a regular basis, I bet the pro's start doing a better job. They are lazy because they aren't being pushed. Let's push them.

Posted by: corpus juris on June 30, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

When does the Bush Administration and the Congress get enough of the political hack Michael Chertoff?

First the New Orleans mess. Then the Coast Guard ship boondogle. Now the border fence. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Now's the time to fire him and appoint someone who knows what he's doing to head our nation's national security apparatus.

Don't you think?

Read on:

COLUMBUS, N.M. (AP) — The 1.5-mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was designed to keep cars from illegally crossing into the United States. There's just one problem: It was accidentally built on Mexican soil.

Now embarrassed border officials say the mistake could cost the federal government more than $3 million to fix.

The barrier was part of more than 15 miles of border fence built in 2000 in New Mexico, stretching from the town of Columbus to an onion farm and cattle ranch.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman said the vertical metal tubes were sunk into the ground and filled with cement along what officials firmly believed was the border. But a routine aerial survey in March revealed the barrier protrudes into Mexico by 1 to 6 feet.

Posted by: firehimnow on June 30, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

There's just one problem: It was accidentally built on Mexican soil.

No, it's American soil now. Manifest Destiny.

Posted by: absent observer on June 30, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Silverstein responded today in an LA Times op-ed, arguing that a) this media establishment is far too close to the political establishment; and b) until news outlets start taking investigative journalism seriously again, the public will suffer.

Now he's done it. He'll never eat lunch in Washington again.

Posted by: Martin Gale on June 30, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

About time Equatorial Guinea hired themselves a new PR firm. The propaganda Cassidy had up on wikipedia has been corrected and they've just unwittingly helped Silverstein disparage the country for the second time in a year.

Posted by: B on June 30, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's Mafia Whacks the Republic by Robert Parry
Consortium News 6/20/07
"In years to come, historians may look back on U.S. press coverage of George W. Bush's presidency and wonder why there was not a single front-page story announcing one of the most monumental events of mankind's modern era - the death of the American Republic and the elimination of the "unalienable rights" pledged to "posterity" by the Founders.

The historians will, of course, find stories about elements of this extraordinary event - Bush's denial of habeas corpus rights to a fair trial, his secret prisons, his tolerance of torture, his violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, his "signing statements" overriding laws, the erosion of constitutional checks and balances.

But the historians will scroll through front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and every other major newspaper - as well as scan the national network news and the 24-hour cable channels - and find not a single story connecting the dots, explaining the larger picture: the end of a remarkable democratic experiment which started in 1776 and which was phased out sometime in the early 21st century.

How, these historians may ask, did the U.S. press corps miss one of history's most important developments? Was it a case like the proverbial frog that would have jumped to safety if tossed into boiling water but was slowly cooked to death when the water was brought to a slow boil?

Or was it that journalists and politicians intuitively knew that identifying too clearly what was happening in the United States would have compelled them to action, and that action would have meant losing their jobs and livelihoods? Perhaps, too, they understood that there was little they could do to change the larger reality, so why bother?

As for the broader public, did the fear and anger generated by the 9/11 attacks so overwhelm the judgment of Americans that they didn't care that President Bush had offered them a deal with the devil, he would promise them a tad more safety in exchange for their liberties?

And what happened to the brave souls who did challenge Bush's establishment of an authoritarian state? Why, the historians may wonder, did the American people and their representatives not rise up as Bush systematically removed honorable public servants who did their best to uphold the nation's laws and principles?

One could go down a long list of government officials who were purged or punished for speaking up, the likes of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

The Taguba Purge

Yet possibly the most troubling case was revealed in mid-June by The New Yorker's investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh, the case of Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who investigated the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and issued a tough report that prevented the scandal from being swept entirely under the rug.

Rather than thank Taguba for upholding the honor of the U.S. military, the Bush administration singled out this hard-working, low-key general for ridicule, retribution and forced retirement in early 2007.

In an interview with Hersh, Taguba described a chilling conversation he had with Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command, a few weeks after Taguba's report became public in 2004. Sitting in the back of Abizaid's Mercedes sedan in Kuwait, Abizaid quietly told Taguba, "You and your report will be investigated."

"I'd been in the Army 32 years by then," Taguba told Hersh, "and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia."

It was also an early indication that Taguba's military career was nearing its end. In January 2006, Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff, called Taguba and without pleasantries or explanation told Taguba, "I need you to retire by January 2007."

So, the general who had violated the omerta code of silence was banished from Bush's Mafia.

Hersh wrote that the sensitivity over Taguba's report went beyond its graphic account of physical and sexual abuse of Iraqis detained at Abu Ghraib; it also brought unwanted attention to a wider pattern of criminal acts committed with the approval of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

"The administration feared that the publicity would expose more secret operations and practices," including a special military task forces or Special Access Programs set up to roam the world and assassinate suspected terrorists, Hersh wrote.

Hersh quoted a recently retired CIA officer as saying the task-force teams "had full authority to whack - to go in and conduct 'executive action,'" a phrase meaning assassination.

"It was surrealistic what these guys were doing," the ex-officer told Hersh. "They were running around the world without clearing their operations with the ambassador or the [CIA] chief of station." [New Yorker, June 25, 2007, edition]

In other words, President Bush not only had arrogated to himself the right to snatch people off the street and lock them up indefinitely without trial but he had dispatched assassins around the world to eliminate alleged "bad guys."

The bigger picture - the stark and grim image of what had transpired over the past half dozen years in the name of the American people - was that the United States could no longer claim to be a nation of laws and liberties. It had become a country governed by a criminal mob deploying an unsavory collection of capos, consiglieres and hit men.

In this view, George W. Bush was no longer President of a Republic but Godfather of the world's most intimidating crime syndicate. But that was a reality that the U.S. news media could not afford to acknowledge in real time, though it might become the unavoidable conclusion of future historians."
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek.


Posted by: consider wisely on June 30, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Your sentence should read "In some circles, what Silverstein was was unethical." It doesn't even make sense without the second "was." Perhaps your computer dislikes the "was was"/"is is" construction.

Or you could say, "Some would consider Silverstein's actions unethical."

Etc., etc., etc.

Posted by: Anon on June 30, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Or: "In some circles, what Silverstein did was unethical."

Posted by: Anon on June 30, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a link to the Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.:

http://www.ire.org/

This organization deserves your support.

Posted by: snoop on July 1, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, you know, the Howard Kurtz article is exactly the kind of character assassination a firm like Cassidy and Associates might arrange if one of their clients had a problem with an investigative reporter. hmmmmm . . .

I've always wondered whether folks like Howard Kurtz and George Will might be hired guns.

Posted by: B on July 1, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

From Kurtz's op-ed (here):

The reason is that, no matter how good the story, lying to get it raises as many questions about journalists as their subjects.

And on that statement Kurtz effectively ends the discussion. (However, he continues the second half of his piece with a diatribe about political contributions and the press, with a laundry list of who did what. All of which is trrelevant to the questions he nominally raises, and is apparently no more than a ham-handed excuse to excoriate the liberal press.)

Although he's apparently too cowardly to say it outright, Kurtz implies that lying to get the story is an irrevocable taint, and that a journalist willing to go to such ends may also be willing to lie about the facts of the story. Kurtz goes on to say that:

No newspaper today would do what the Chicago Sun-Times did in the 1970s, setting up a bar to entrap crooked politicians. Fewer television programs are doing what ABC did in the 1990s, having producers lie to get jobs at a supermarket chain to expose unsanitary practices.
He offers no explanation of why that might be, or whether it is good or bad. One can only assume he thinks things are so much better today that this is all intuitively obvious to the casual observer.

If Kurtz thinks Silverstein is lying, he should come out and say it. All he's done is call into question his, and the "we" he invokes as cover, integrity and ability to make the hard calls. Just because Kurtz doesn't have the integrity or spine doesn't mean others don't.

Kudos to Silverstein for firing back at Kurtz. I only wish Silverstein had been a little more pointed in questioning Kurtz's criticism.

Posted by: has407 on July 1, 2007 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

"No matter how good the story," Howard Kurtz wrote, "lying to get it raises as many questions about journalists as their subjects."

No it doesn't. It doesn't raise any questions at all. It's perfectly clear who Silverstein is, what he did, and why he did it. You may not like it, but it doesn't raise any "questions". There's no lack of transparency here.

Posted by: mattsteinglass on July 1, 2007 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

I find the preaching against undercover journalism to be revealingly stupid. The rule of thumb with undercover work is that you do not use the technique unless (a) the information you seek is important to the public trust and (b) you can't get the information any other way. Both conditions apply here. I suppose it's not a complete scoop that lobbyists can be flexible in their ethics when big money is involved, but it's worth it to see it first hand.

Posted by: Wally on July 1, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

This is why more and more people are turning to Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert for their news coverage....they're the only people who still have the guts to tell the truth, in their own unique and sarscatic way.

The mainstream media is utterly useless because they'll do anything for access and are too afraid of offending people in power. No wonder nobody reads newspapers or watches the evening news any more!

Posted by: mfw13 on July 1, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Fewer television programs are doing what ABC did in the 1990s, having producers lie to get jobs at a supermarket chain to expose unsanitary practices."

Kurtz can't come up with Food Lion v. ABC? Maybe if he caught food poisoning he'd take it more seriously. C'mon, Hacktacular Howie, even I remember this off the top of my head.

Oh, and bonus false-equivalency points awarded for the term having producers lie. Bad news producer. Bad, bad!

Posted by: ThresherK on July 1, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

"I've always wondered whether folks like Howard Kurtz and George Will might be hired guns."

Kurtz doesn't need to be. Consider who he's married to:

http://www.fourthestatestrategies.com/html/biography.html

Nope, no conflict of interest there, nosiree.

Posted by: Calton Bolick on July 1, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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