Friday, September 10, 2004

It's a swarm

The liberal media are feeling beleaguered. Bloggers are eating their lunch and they're playing into their hands.

What is interesting is that bloggers and talk radio are only commentators, not primary deliverers of news. Without all the reporters, they wouldn't have much to write about. What that means is that the main vulnerability of old media is its lack of interpretive objectivity. They generally report facts, but they don't see the true implications of them. When they claim to be investigators, but then bungle like CBS just did, they look more like Clouseau than Holmes.

This is not to say that blogs are only commentators. They scour world media and link to stories we never used to see, and they focus on stories that the msm don't want to discuss. When they're in a position to do so, they supply facts that we probably wouldn't get, such as reporting from Iraq by milbloggers, and they provide a breadth of expertise that msm are just too limited or lazy to.

The comments about the CBS documents come from people who have typed that kind of documents for the military, printers, experts in computing and typewriters, as well as forensic documents examiners. 60 Minutes walked into a buzz saw and still doesn't seem to realize what hit it.

Update: Heh. Complaining that bloggers have no checks and balances doesn't cut it, does it? I guess the drafters of the Constitution just couldn't imagine a situation where all the media were as monolithic and uniform as they are today, when journalists are the products of specialized j-schools. They figured that diversity of opinion would provide all the checks needed. But they blew other things, too. Fortunately, freedom, education and technology provides the checks and balances Mr. Klein worries about. As Glenn likes to say, quoting Ken Layne I think, "We can factcheck your ass." It took a while, but the msm are finally being held accountable.

The legacy

This CBS thing gives added credence to the premise of Hugh Hewitt's new book If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It Both parties have had individual local cases of cheating, but only the modern Democrats have had the gall to do it nationwide.

Campaign News

Kerry is way ahead in a a new poll! But I don't think Bush is worried.


Well, so much for "The Democrat-surrogates Strike Back."

The story broke on Sunday evening, but before I heard it, it had been debunked by the blogosphere. Hugh Hewitt interviewed a documents examiner on his program yesterday who said it couldn't have been done on any typewriter he knew available in 1972 and 1973. A number of callers who had typed such documents while in the military also cast doubt on the lack of a military form or letterhead. One caller said the dates were in the wrong format. The subject line "CYA" is suspicious as is the P. O. Box 34567 in the heading of one document.

The most convincing piece of evidence to me was Brit Hume's report that one of the Fox News producers had retyped the memo in Microsoft Word and was able to lay it over these and match the words perfectly. Of course, a forger would have made copies of copies of copies to make it harder to detect a forgery, but the likelihood of that kind of match between a typewriter and a modern laser or inkjet printer must be vanishingly small.

Little Green Footballs, The Weekly Standard, TCS, CNSand a lot of others have suggested reasons to be suspicious of these documents which have so conveniently popped up just as John Kerry falls behind in the polls. As always, Instapundit has links to all sorts of other comments.

CBS is standing by the story and claiming that the documents passed examination, but they don't name the examiner. This is bigger than Jason Blair or the other reporter fraud stories, because it involves the "Tiffany Network" and its evening news anchor and the longest running news magazine program on the air and also because a swarm of bloggers have pointed out so many questionable points about it that one has to wonder what CBS was thinking to present them without laying a foundation. CBS and the Boston Globe look more partisan than ever, especially when it is being reported
that CBS got the documents from the Kerry Campaign. Is this a fulfillment of Susan Estrich's threat? It sure sounds like it.

Remember the "Bush Lied!" argument made by people like Josh Marshall and Peter Beinart about Bush's State of the Union Address in which he mentioned that Saddam was shopping for uranium in Niger. They lambasted the claim, which they mischaracterized as being based solely on a clumsy forgery, and therefore the administration had lied to the American people. That claim became conventional wisdom among liberals, but now they're doing the very thing they accuse Bush of doing, except in a much more transparent and clumsy way.

Update: Read Donald Sensing's research on the misuse of military terminology. Also, Fox News is reporting that military sources have told them that it is highly unlikely that the unit would use a P. O. box, a point made yesterday by callers to the Hugh Hewitt Show. The number, 34567, should have tipped CBS off, but they were so eager to smear Bush, they couldn't think. Some producer will lose his job, but its the whole organization that deserves to lose its business for getting so involved in the campaign. Media have been reporting scandals since George Washington, but when they tell you over and over how much more educated, experienced and ethical they are than everybody else and then commit such a penny ante gaffe, it's rotten tomato time.

Sensing also links to this report that Terry McAuliffe is trying to blame this on Karl Rove. ROTFL! I thought they were going to reassign him. Maybe this will speed that up. It's like having a bad clown for your party chairman.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Boy, the desperation in here is getting thick!

Democrats are outraged by the effectiveness of the Swift Boat ads, and they see Bush's hand in it. There is no evidence to support that claim, but when did honesty ever matter in campaigns? Now they and their allies in Old Media are vowing to get as down and dirty as the Republicans allegedly have been. The problem with that is that Kerry's campaign is in trouble not because of what others have said about him but because of what he is. The campaign has assigned a new minder to go on the plane to exercise candidate control, keeping Kerry on message and trying to get him to quit waffling.

I think it's too late for that. We've seen Bush in action as Commander in Chief, and I don't think anybody really cares about his National Guard service. Why the Democrats think that attacking him on that will help them. It was 30+ years ago! We know he was an irresponsible youth and that his life and his heart have changed. That's why Kerry's decision to make his time on the Swift Boat in Vietnam such a centerpiece of his campaign was so puzzling. It begs the question of what he's done since then, and when you answer that question, it's not impressive.

The media and the Democrats have already taken potshots at Bush's NG service, and dragging it out again now reeks of desperation and mudslinging. They can excuse this by pointing to the Swift Boat Vets, but they haven't been able to show that the Bush Campaign is behind it. Bush has denounced the ads and called for all 527 organizations to quit running attack ads, but democrat groups are outspending the Swift Boat vets many times over, so who is being hypocritical when they argue that anti-Kerry groups shut up but that anti-Bush groups are protected by freedom of speech?

The people finally had a chance to hear the Republican reply to all the months of denunciation and spin by the left, and to evaluate it. I don't think too many are going to get back on the fence.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Kerry's Carter Moment

Remember how Carter's lead over Reagan evaporated after the debates? All the people had heard from the press was that Reagan was a psycho, liable to get us into nuclear war, etc. But when they saw him on TV, he came across as a sensible, nice guy. It was, like today, a situation where they weren't happy with the incumbent, but didn't really know the challenger. I remember it being described as being like a snowbank poised to drop. When people decided Reagan didn't look so bad, the drift let go like an avalanche.

This year we've seen the same phenomenon, but with an opposite result. The Democratic primary campaign gave us months of negative stories about Bush. People built a negative view of him as the Democrats attacked him in far worse terms than the Swift Boat Vets have attacked Kerry. But then the conventions happened. Kerry focused on his 4.5 months experience as a skipper of the SS. Minnow, claiming that it qualified him to run the entire military. He got a dead cat bounce.

Then the Republicans held theirs and did a fantastic job of reminding us of the fear, horror and heroism of 9/11/2004. They also explained cogently how important it is to keep the terrorists on the run, and how the effort in Iraq fits into the overall strategy to defeat them by establishing freedom and hope in the countries where they have flourished. There were not only a lot of undecideds who were persuaded, but I think there were more who had been swayed by all the "Bush Lied!" rhetoric who realized that the Republicans have a clear view of the situation and that their strategy makes sense. It was clear that Bush does not send our young men and women off to die without deep concern and thought. He knows how their families feel, as anyone who had visited grieving parents would, but his authentic marvelling at their pride and willingness to sacrifice for freedom came across powerfully.

The R's convention sat us down and made us face up to the real issues, and reminded us of what is at stake. The press' brainwashing was shaken off by a lot of people like the scene in The Two Towers when Gandalf exorcised the power of Saruman from his old friend, Theoden, kind of Rohan.

Now what remains is to hold onto that group and build on it. There are still two months left, but the Kerry Campaign is in disarray. The more vitriolic the press becomes, the more people turn to Fox News Channel. The atrocity in Russia only reminds us that the enemy is still out there, and that this war is not going to be over for a long time. The Cold War took 40 years to win, but it was against a empire concerned about its own survival. Religious terrorists see death as martyrdom and a short cut to heaven. The only way to deal with such people is to undercut their credibility with the societies that harbor them and through their own inhumanity foster poverty and despair, and that's what we're doing in Iraq. The people are starting to get it. Bush knows what he's doing.

Would you hire this man?

James Taranto lays out the choice this November:
Now say someone comes to you looking for a job. Right off the bat, you notice something strange about his r�sum�: It goes on for page after page about a job he held for four months, more than 35 years ago, but makes only the barest mention of anything he's done since. You have him in for an interview, and he can't give you a straight answer to any question about what he plans to do in the job if you hire him. Instead (to borrow a description from Joe Conason), he sounds like a bar-stool bore, with a bad habit of repeating the same lame boasts about that long-ago four-month stint again and again.

Still, you decide to check out his references. (John Edwards: "If you have any question about what John Kerry is made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him.") Some sing his praises quite extravagantly, but a greater number describe him harshly as a man of dubious character, and some accuse him of lying on his r�sum�. He acknowledges a few embellishments but refuses to provide you with documents that would shed light on the other accusations.

Would you hire this man? And would you fire an employee of four years' standing in order to create an opening for him?
Read the whole thing.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Alternative media?

Watched Richard Viguerie on C-Span's Booknotes last night, talking about his book, America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power. In an entire hour he mentioned the internet used for fundraising and news, but no mention of blogs. Inexplicable. The Republicans having missed them, since the old media have amply demonstrated that nothing Bush can do would get fair treatment from them.

The book nevertheless seems interesting for the history of the conservative movement, which Viguerie was careful to distinguish from the Republican Party, and the methods of direct mail fundraising. It's an interesting story, but I wonder how well he can forecast the future, when he seems to have missed the significance of blogs.

It would be interesting to see how much money a suggestion from Hugh Hewitt translates to in donations. One thing Viguerie noted was how much money the Swift Boat Vets for Truth raised in small spontaneous donations. They've raised $3,000,000 in hard money. MoveOn and ACT can't say that. And the SBVFT ads have been incredibly effective given the fact that the big old media have tried to counter them without investigating their charges.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

More trouble for Kerry's "plan"`

Those allies who Kerry trusts so much to solve terrorism don't seem to be doing so well without the U.S. to give their diplomacy a little leverage.

You can bet the Pentagon has plans for taking out Iran's nuclear plant, and maybe Russia might be less inclined to oppose us, although China would certainly make a fuss. The problem for us would be knowing whether we got there in time and making sure they hadn't put the operation underground, as Korea has, and as Saddam surely did his. If you liked the Cold War, you're going to love this one. Containment won't work on people like the mullahs any more than it has worked on North Korea.

Douglas Brinkley

He's quoted on NewsMax:
Journalists are going to have to see whether there's a discrepancy on [the citations posted to Kerry's] Web site - whether there's something wrong that's said there or not.
Funny, I would have thought a historian would be better qualified to do that kind of research. But if they botch the job, I guess journalists would be the next way to turn, if they hadn't already shown themselves to be unwilling to do it.

Who will help me bake the bread? says the Little Red Hen. I will! say the bloggers and Fox News Channel. And they do.

Brinkley will continue to appear on The Newshour, but he won't be trusted by the blognoscenti.

The big losers: the media.

New England Republican does a "60 Minutes" gotcha piece on the NYTimes.

I can't keep up with Instapundit. Go read his roundup of the latest developments. It makes no sense to replicate all his links.

Frank Rich furnishes further proof of the media's partisan refusal to investigate the charges of the Swift Boat Vets fairly. Their coverage has all been all in the line of Kerry's charges. Long on dismissal and mischaracterization and short on actual reporting. This is only going to get worse ans more and more undecideds, uninformed and independents find out about the breadth of opinion and questioning in the blogosphere. Fair-minded people react negatively to the bias and the plain hypocrisy they saw by leftist protestors in NYC and in the press. All you have to do is read Instapundit to figure out that the J-school crowd are brainwashing us.

The kindest thing one can say for them is that they don't understand how biased they are. They've been taught that their job is to put heat on those in power, but nobody mentions the power they now enjoy, or points out the need for true media criticism. The blogs are doing what the old media have failed to do, provide balance.