Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 24, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

DRUDGE....From Time's Karen Tumulty, traveling with Barack Obama in the Middle East:

Some of the reporters traveling with Obama were surprised upon landing to discover their editors in something of a frenzy. The reason: Drudge is using terms like "chaos" and "mob scene" to describe Obama's visit early this morning to the Western Wall. But that's not the way the pool saw it. (When I asked pooler Jeff Zeleny of the NYT about the Drudge version, he was puzzled and conferred with the other poolers and emailed me back: "No mob scene. Not even close.")

I know this is a naive question and all that, but jeebus. Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings? What's it going to take?

Kevin Drum 11:23 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Comments

If tumulty is traveling with Obama, why did she have to ask the guy from the NYT about the scene at the Wall? Wasn't she there?

Posted by: halle on July 24, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

So how are the other reporters reporting it?

Posted by: Everyman on July 24, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

They were, I guess, expecting Obama to go up to the wall and spray paint 'JOOZ GO HOME!' on it.

Posted by: lampwick on July 24, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

how are the other reporters reporting it?

If it was calm and boring, they probably would not comment on it at all.

Posted by: dr2chase on July 24, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I can see the NYT headline:


Conflicting reports indicate Chaos scene at Wesstern Wall during Obama's Visit!

we love McCain!

Posted by: Hebisner on July 24, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I know this is a naive question and all that, but jeebus. Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings? Kevin Drum

The short answer is NO. These guys would rather believe Drudge's third had hearsay than their own reporters at the scene.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 24, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?"

No.

Posted by: John McCain: More of the Same on July 24, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I had been wondering the same thing. I went to other news sites and saw nothing, yet here was Drudge making one heckler the equivalent of a major incident. We can stipulate that both sides tend to exaggerate things, but you can't really get to the core of modern "conservatism" without referencing its robust and confident reality inversions. Drudge sells what modern "conservatism" buys. If it bought sobriety and circumspection, there wouldn't be Drudge, Fox News, Glenn Beck, or 3,600 talk radio stations flushing our discourse into a cesspool.

Posted by: walt on July 24, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

If tumulty is traveling with Obama, why did she have to ask the guy from the NYT about the scene at the Wall? Wasn't she there?

Probably not, since men and women are usually segregated there.

Posted by: shortstop on July 24, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Good question as to why I didn't see it myself. Obama's trip to the wall was with a press pool. The rest of us were sitting on the plane when it occurred.

Posted by: Karen Tumulty on July 24, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Tumulty comment above is a joke, right? Please say yes...

Posted by: Anna Granfors on July 24, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Dear Editors in the News Media:

Have your IT guy prevent access to *.drudgereport.com from your proxy servers...

Posted by: RobertSeattle on July 24, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

There's "chaos" in the "mob scene" around Drudge's bullshit, because our journalists suck.

This is not news.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 24, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

a new and better crop of people actually interested in the profession of journalism; instead of a bunch of assholes endlessly reliving their cliquish high school years.

Posted by: linda on July 24, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Anna,
I'm confused. Why would it be a joke?

Posted by: DR on July 24, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?"

Answer - No!

Posted by: lamonte on July 24, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

@Anna Granfors:

I imagine that's really Karen. She is pretty blog-savvy. (Plus she's my Facebook friend. ;) )

Posted by: Sinfonian on July 24, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?

No.

And that ends today's version of Easy Answers to Obvious Questions.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on July 24, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Drudge is an uncredentialed nutjob in a fedora who runs a crudely-designed rumor-mongering website.

Who else should the corporate media take its cues from? I mean, besides the RNC?

Posted by: TR on July 24, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

The truth is, very, very, very few reporters actually do any journalism. At least not the way I was taught to.

What they do is find out what Drudge is posting, what the parties are sending out in their daily email blasts, and then report that.

They may follow up with a report on what someone said, followed by a report on what the other side said. Whether or not one side is lying is irrelevant. After all, these folks are just reporters.

Journalists, on the other hand, actually investigates a story, getting quotes just like a reporter, but actually doing some work to find out what's actually true -- after all, if one side says one thing, and the other the opposite, one has to be wrong. It's just basic logic. They may get a tip from a Drudge, but they don't just run with it. They may get the press release, but they don't use it for their entire story. They use it all as tools, not crutches.

Unfortunately, there are strikingly few journalists remaining -- some weren't pretty enough for TV ... others wouldn't (or couldn't) bow to corporate owners who want ad revenue, not news ... and still others decided to change, going from journalist to reporter because that's the only way to survive the game.

Besides, it's just so much easier to copy and paste a Drudge report or press release than doing any actual work. Sad, but true.

(Note: Karen Tumulty seems to try hard to be a journalist most of the time. I just don't think Time gives her a chance to fully do so. YMMV, my 2, etc. etc. etc.)

Posted by: Mark D on July 24, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarious. By reporting "chaos," Drudge sent editors into a "frenzy." Mission accomplished.

Posted by: bobbo on July 24, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings? What's it going to take?

Apparently it requires Drudge putting a big honking banner on his site that al-Maliki endorses Obama's withdrawal plan. Because apparently that was there for 20 hours before anyone thought it worth checking out:

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/07/matt_drudge_doesnt_always_rule.php

Posted by: Rick Massimo on July 24, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I like Mark D's distinction between discovering facts and just parroting what ideologues say.
However because "journalist" is a more high-falutin word than "reporter," I tend to think of it in reverse:
The reporter has her feet on the ground (and discovers facts and talks to real people), but the journalist is swept away by the winds (and flaks) of the moment.
The question is, how much of your time is spent talking with people whose job title is NOT spokesperson/communications director/substantive-question-deflector?

Posted by: Eskimo on July 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the multiple posting. I kept getting error messages and didn't realize it was posting anyway.

Posted by: Rick Massimo on July 24, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK


>Just watch the video. No mob scene. No chaos.

Posted by: Dave in NYC on July 24, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

If tumulty is traveling with Obama, why did she have to ask the guy from the NYT about the scene at the Wall? Wasn't she there?

Probably not, since men and women are usually segregated there.
______________
Well, maybe segragated, but women can be there. They're not in an isolation cell. Why couldn't she see and hear the scene, even if it was from a different angle. Still makes no sense.

Posted by: halle on July 24, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?

No.

SASQ.

Posted by: Gregory on July 24, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Really, what the hell is it with them paying any attention to Drudge. The guy is simply a gossip.

If there was anyone who lived in his mom's basement spreading rumors about what he read on the internets, he is it.

Posted by: BenM on July 24, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?"

I'm guessing they will at about the same time as our elected Democratic legislators in the Senate and the House of Representataives stop letting the fascists resident in the White House lead them around by the nose.

Posted by: Helena Montana on July 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?"

I'm guessing they will at about the same time as our elected Democratic legislators in the Senate and the House of Representataives stop letting the fascists resident in the White House lead them around by the nose.

Posted by: Helena Montana on July 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get it. Drudge has been nothing but a misogynist cocksucker since before his internet debut. Yet, he still causes the editors to swoon?!?

Posted by: ninguno on July 24, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?

No.

What's it going to take?

Intervention by the 3 Weird Sisters and Murrow's Ghost.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on July 24, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings? What's it going to take?

The minute Drudge starts supporting Democrats.

Posted by: tom.a on July 24, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK
The reporter has her feet on the ground (and discovers facts and talks to real people), but the journalist is swept away by the winds (and flaks) of the moment.

--Eskimo

Yeah, that's a great point.

I wondered if a couple of different words would be better -- maybe stenographer and newsperson or something.

I guess I was looking at the words at their most basic, trying to strip out any connotations to show the difference between simply repeating something and actually working on something.

Because that's really what it all boils down to: those who are willing to do the work to find the truth, and those who just want to get a story done and, maybe, a spot on the teevee as some type of expert.

The latter have ruled our media for far, far too long.

Posted by: Mark D on July 24, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings?

In other words, are mainstream media news editors ever going to stop acting like complete moronic dolts.

And the answer, as any reporter could tell you, is: Of course not. If they weren't morons, they wouldn't be editors.

Posted by: Former reporter on July 24, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Read the account more carefully. The reporters did their jobs and fact-checked when provided contradictory information. The editors were the ones reading Drudge and freaking out. Editors (management) are often the ones that deserve our ire.

Posted by: danimal on July 24, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

As Karen (it's safe to assume it was her, probably) posted. She had to ask other reporters about it because she was not there, she was on the press plane. I was a reporter who covered several of Bush's trips to Crawford. Here's how it works 95 percent of the time.
The President has a meeting with a foreign leader, or goes and clears brush, or whatever. One newspaper reporter, photographer, TV crew are selected on a rotating basis to cover the "event." Afterwards, the White House releases a transcript of the questions and answers and the reporter files a "pool report," which fills in some blanks with some color. IE: POTUS drove up in a white pickup truck wearing a cowboy hat and a big belt buckle. He got out, waved to the reporters and walked up to the Sheik and held his hand as they walked to the podium" etc.
Then the rest of the reporters take the transcript and the pool report, merge them into one story and put their names on the top. It's basically plagiarism, but it's OK because you are not "stealing" someone else's work, it's given to you to use. And each paper gets to have a bylined story instead of using the AP version.

Posted by: rhetorical tool on July 24, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Thank RT. Care to speculate on how editors could go into a tizzy due to a report that would have differed from the pool report, or circulated prior to the pool report?

Posted by: John Dillinger on July 24, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

How come every other blogger is the SCUM of the EARTH to the MSM, yet Drudge is revered like some freaking saint. Please explain.

Oh I get it, he was fed a story about a sexual indiscretion over 10 years ago so therefore he is one of them.

Posted by: lib4 on July 24, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, it's the editors in this case, not the reporters.

My theory, fwiw, is that

1) editors like the format of drudge because it looks sort of like what newspapers used to look like, which makes them feel like they're doing what they should be, and

2) it's really easy to get to a story once you've bitten on the World Weekly News-type scare headline ("Aliens Ate Barack's Baby!"), and

3) once upon a time somebody told them drudge had good sources and they never forgot that, and most important,

4) they see drudge on their very own personal display screens so they know it's really confidential inside information.

At least as much as reporters, editors just don't know when they're being had.

Posted by: Altoid on July 24, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Are these guys ever going to stop letting Drudge lead them around by their nose rings? What's it going to take?

Surgical removal of their noses.

Posted by: McGuff on July 24, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Wonkette used to post the pool reports that go to the rest of the travelling press corps. They're dry as sticks, packed with lots of minor detail so that the journos can pick and choose the bits to flesh out their stories.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc on July 24, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Drudge is an uncredentialed nutjob in a fedora who runs a crudely-designed rumor-mongering website.

Plus, he'a a closet-case. Why is that true so often of "conservatives"?

Posted by: on July 24, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Karen Tumulty is Matt Drudge's fag hag.

Posted by: Out in Pasadena on July 24, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmmm

That Drudge fellow must really be good at fellatio. Just sayin...

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." - Niccoló Machiavelli

Posted by: daCascadian on July 24, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

3,600 talk radio stations flushing our discourse into a cesspool.

Actually, 3600 talk radio stations flushing a cesspool into our discourse.

Posted by: lovable liberal on July 25, 2008 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly where was Drudge when he "reported" this? New Jersey? Does Drudge ever leave his mom's basement?

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