More “Journalism” From The Washington Post Company

Yet another post-Newsweekgate tendentious defense of the MSM today, this time from Terry M. Neal in the Washington Post. Most of it is now-familiar “fake but accurate” claptrap, and I was about to quit reading halfway through when Neal popped of with this howler:

Some conservative bloggers have suggested that the media should never criticize or raise critical questions of the military in wartime. Some have extended that criticism, conveniently, to cover the president’s wartime policies.

Oh, really? Which ones? Can you provide a quote, a link, a reference to a single blogger who’s said any such thing, or are did you just prop up an imaginary straw man?

Really great “journalism” there, Terry. Yep, all those editors really came in handy for that one.

Neal gives away the game in the next couple of sentences:

But that’s such a different standard than what most journalists are taught. No wonder people think most reporters are liberal. It’s because journalism is in itself, as a profession, by definition liberal.

Hey, Terry–here’s a suggestion. After you’ve spent most of your column repeating cant Bush-bashing talking points and inventing non-quotes that no blogger ever actually wrote, it’s not real smart to then go off on the old Helen Thomas “Of course we’re liberals–all smart, open-minded people are liberals” wacky train. That’s a really, really stupid thing to do in a column supposedly about now the press isn’t biased.

Just for future reference, you know.

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34 Responses to “More “Journalism” From The Washington Post Company”

  1. aaron Says:

    This guy must be perpetually happy.

    Such an assertion, even implied, would quickly be laughed out the blogosphere. He is completely ignorant of how the blogosphere even functions, let alone what’s out there.

  2. aaron Says:

    Such a silly idea could never survive in the mainstream blogosphere.

    I also like how he uses two different definitions for liberal and pretends that they are the same word (the popular label and the literal definition.)

  3. Thom Says:

    Doen’t Neal have an editor? The fact that his piece made it into the Post is further evidence weighing in favor of the conclusion that the MSM is incapable of reforming itself.

  4. John D Says:

    What I don’t understand is with the success of Fox News, that one of the big networks doesnt do the same and adopt Fox’s “fair and balanced” reporting. I mean that is how it is in the real world, when a company comes out with a winning product, all other companies copy that winning product some way. I guess the people who run CBS, NBC and ABC know more than us little people.

  5. Mike Says:

    I was clicking around watching pundits talk about the newsweek mistake and I noticed that someone from the Washington Post was usually one of the guests. The staff members at the Washington Post are going to defend Newsweek and attack anyone who wants to talk about what may have been reckless and irresponsible journalism. Newsweek and the Post are owned by the same company.

  6. x Says:

    Mr. Terry Neal
    Politics Chief Correspondent
    1150 15th St NW
    Washington, DC 20071-0002
    Phone Number:
    (703) 469-3101
    Fax Number:
    (202) 496-3817
    Email:
    commentsforneal@washingtonpost.com

  7. Crank Says:

    Will – I’m sure you could find some conservative blogger who said something that sounds vaguely like that. Which doesn’t make it much less of a strawman, but daring him to find an example may not be the best argument here.

    I’d take these guys more seriously about being watchdogs if they were more skeptical of some of the government’s domestic initiatives.

  8. Crank Says:

    This is also a classic:

    Why has the president not apologized for warning America that Iraq presented an imminent threat, when that turned out to be the case?

    How many times can they misrepresent this? Bush did warn that Iraq was a grave and gathering threat. But he was quite explicit that “imminent” was not the standard.

  9. Ed Driscoll Says:

    Someone like Tim Russert could really have some fun on a talk show watching Neal tie himself up with pretzel logic if he asked him something like, “Mr. Neal, you said that “journalism is in itself, as a profession, by definition liberal. So is Al-Jazeera liberal? No? So that’s not journalism in your eyes?”

  10. Reverend Bobby Says:

    Um, I’m sorry, but does ANYONE on either side of this argument think in anything other than black and white? Is there really any doubt that the MSM still thinks it’s 1968 and that the conservative media thinks it’s treason to slam the military or the President during wartime? Talk about a slippery slope.

  11. Calling your bluff Says:

    Reverend Bobby: Please list one serious conservative columnist who said slamming the military is the exact same as treason.

    I bet you got nothin.

  12. voxdilecti Says:

    I still cannnot comprehend the mainstream media’s outrage @ bloggers is. They are in no way a threat to their livlihood or professional standing (at least for now). IMO I love what Vodkapundit and others are doing because I like reading the thoughts of those I agree with on certain issues. But that is mainly it, bloggers are PUNDITS! There is no difference between what Mr. Green does here and the Bill O Reilly show, The “Gimme a Break” piece on 20/20, or “Scarborough Country” on CNN. Why the hell are people constantly attacking the same type of editorial news that is going on in the major networks and editorial columns of newspapers?
    If anyone on here has read any Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), some of you will remember quite clearly (and frighteningly) how he predicted the advent of the bloggers as being a major evolution in the dissemination of informantion and the influence of public opinion as if the internet was some sort of large central nervous system. I think that may have something to do with this, the internet is going to be the FUTURE of editorial reporting. Why write angry letters to the editor when you can just have your own site and vette the news and spin with a community of others? And by what I have read on here, it seems like its not limited by opinion as some more liberal minded people ideologically have posted here as well. There is indeed and interactive dialogue going on here mr. washington post columnist and we dont need you to dictate to us what to think.

    P.S.
    Keep on rocking for the kids v.p.

  13. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    Red States Versus The World?

    Great take by Arthur Chrenkoff:If the rest of the world are indeed Blue States, then our media and creative elites feel far more at home overseas than they do back in America which is much more split between the Blue…

  14. ed Says:

    Hmmm.

    If you think that’s crazy, look at this:

    America is Dead

    Newsweek, Japanese edition. Some very strange people there at Newsweek. I can’t even begin to imagine how they think.

  15. ed Says:

    Hmmmm.

    “If anyone on here has read any Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), some of you will remember quite clearly (and frighteningly) how he predicted the advent of the bloggers”

    He also predicted how it could be manipulated as in GannonGate.

  16. voxdilecti Says:

    well Ed, that too (haven’t read that book yet) though.
    But in comparison to the immense influence the media has on public opinion and reinforcing certain notions i.e. –
    “Bush is an idiot”
    “The whole world hates us”
    “This economy is so bad you should sell your kids into indentured servitude”
    – and so on and so on. Forgive my generalizations but I hope you get my drift. I’m trying to point out that bloggers in some sense serve as a check on the mainstream media’s self concieved role as the “4th Branch of Government.” Anyone who has been through one day of the 24hr news cycle of FOX, CNN, MSNBC, et al should realize how aside from big stories, how empty and full of fluff these entities are and how absurdly unfufilling they are at times in getting across sound information or interpretation for that matter.

    So thats why I prefer to rely on the communal imput of everyone replying to posts or posting on the blogosphere when it comes to digesting a story fully rather that the painfully precious few seconds that bill o reilly and his counterparts allow their guests on their shows. 30 minutes spent reading dialogue on the internet the internet is in many ways more informative that watching it in a 5 minute edit that leads nowhere.

    In response to your comment ed, I suppose this online media entitity can, or rather, will be manipulated. However, as a more individualistic manifestation of our freedom of speech and yet another alternative market choice in our capitalistic society, I’m willing to trust it for now.

    That is, until i see pop up ads for drugs to treat erectile disfunction on here or if the VP stops blogging in a nonsensical mid sentence to take a commercial break.

  17. Reverend Bobby Says:

    Well, let’s see CYB – you said serious columnist which I assume means we toss aside the Ann Coulters of the world (as William Safire did). So without any further guidelines, how about John Podhoretz re: Peter Arnett? How about Michelle Malkin re: the anti-war protests at the RNC? These were accusations prompted not by definitive actions (such as becoming a human shield in a war zone or the idiotic behavior of John Walker Lindh) but simply against individuals expressing their opinions in a free country.

    You can pay attention to the information that fits your personal ideology, but it does all of us a disservice to believe that there can be a yes/no or up/down clear cut position on anything. If anyone can elucidate, I’d like an honest assessment of the difference between those who take the “my country, right or wrong” position and the “my country, right the wrong” stance.

  18. Foo Bar Says:

    I agree that Neal is wrong to characterize conservative bloggers as saying the military should never be criticized. That’s a ridiculous and unfair exagerration.

    Nonetheless, consider this quote (a quote that’s reasonably representative of the right) from David Frum regarding the Newsweek incident:

    And isn’t this whole terrible incident a reminder of why American journalists owe the US military the benefit of the doubt when the facts are uncertain?

    Did we owe the military the benefit of the doubt when they claimed that Pat Tillman had been killed by enemy fire?

  19. aaron Says:

    FooBar, yes.

  20. jack white Says:

    Let’s see: Newsweek’s biggest defenders are the WaPo and the MSNBC family. All are owned by the same folks.

    This is more than the standard MSM, circle the wagons and chant “fake but true” claptrap. It’s business as liberal victim.

  21. old maltese Says:

    ‘… journalism is in itself, as a profession, by definition liberal.’

    Wasn’t there a professor (in North Carolina?) who said a few months ago that, of course, most professors are liberal: professors are smart, and smart people are liberal. QED, as they say.

  22. Foo Bar Says:

    Aaron,

    I guess it depends on what is meant by giving the benefit of the doubt, but if that means taking the initial Army report that he died from enemy fire at face value without questioning it or following up on it, I strongly disagree.

    Tillman’s parents were told later what really happened, but if they had been inclined to keep it a secret and if the press had assumed the initial report was true, the media wouldn’t have covered the later report revealing it was friendly fire, and the general public would probably never know the real story.

    Tillman died fighting in part for the right of Afghans and Americans to live in a country where citizens are told the truth and not whatever propaganda the government would like us to believe. If there’s not clear evidence of intentional lying on the part of the Army, at the very least they told the public a story that turned out to be false and which they had not yet adequately confirmed. This is something the right wing eagerly (and justifiably) has bashed CBS and Newsweek for. If you’re not willing to bash the Army in this instance, then I do think there’s at least a kernel of truth to the “blind allegiance” criticism of right wingers in your case.

  23. Dwilkers Says:

    Methinks Reverand Bobby owes Calling Your Bluff some direct quotes.

  24. rosignol Says:

    I still cannnot comprehend the mainstream media’s outrage @ bloggers is.

    They don’t like being fact-checked.

    They are in no way a threat to their livlihood or professional standing (at least for now).

    You are mistaken, bloggers have contributed to the firing of a few journalists, and have done considerable damage to the professional standing of more than a few- Dan Rather is only the most recent example.

  25. Jonathan Says:

    “But that’s such a different standard than what most journalists are taught. No wonder people think most reporters are liberal. It’s because journalism is in itself, as a profession, by definition liberal.”

    Or from the Dan Ratherbecommunist school of journalism …

    “make the story up to push your agenda. don’t report the news … create it … make a difference.”

  26. aaron Says:

    Foo Bar, I don’t consider giving the benefit of the doubt to mean blindly accepting early reports as fact. I believe it is quite obvious that the conscious decision to delay correction of the account is unethical and reporting the death from enemy fire before confirmation was, at the least, poor judgment. However, I believe the damage done is mostly isolated to the reputation of the army in the US.

    The incidents may be analogous, but the importance is much less. Plus, the army and people responsible will likely be held accountable.

  27. ss Says:

    LaShawn Barber made the statement that the Koran flushing incident should not have been printed in the media, even if true. Her ultimate point, I think, was that in matters of war and national security, a responsible press should be Americans first and jounalists second. The press should have a patriotic duty to be sensitive to the context of war and national security, rather than risking our national well-being in the furtherance of “gotcha” journalism. As demonstrated by the press’s voluntary withholding of racial identity when reporting crime, it is within the power and capability of the press to be sensitive to context when they want to. It is unlikely the press would scream “censorship!” if the President’s agent encouraged the press, in the national interest, to be even more sensitive to race and gender stereotyping in reporting. The press would be happy to do its patriotic duty in circumstances it agrees with.

    However, the problem is that the press simply doesn’t want the American military or the Bush administration to fare well.

  28. Balloon Juice Says:

    I’ll Take That Challenge

    Will Collier writes: Yet another post-Newsweekgate tendentious defense of the MSM today, this time from Terry M. Neal in the…

  29. Balloon Juice Says:

    I’ll Take That Challenge

    Will Collier writes: Yet another post-Newsweekgate tendentious defense of the MSM today, this time from Terry M. Neal in the…

  30. CSM Thomas A. Teel (USA Retired) Says:

    I normally don’t reply to things Will says. I don’t watch science fiction shows so I am normally left out of the discussion. However, this was a good one and I hope he stays a little more on this track. The “real world” is a whole lot more interesting than the one fueled by the imagination. Once again Will, “good job”.

  31. Jean-Paul Borda Says:

    Funny thing, Newsweek published me in their blogwatch(and I’m a conservative), then a week later the story about the Quran ran. I’m here in Afghanistan. A-10’s are cool. I switched fire bases down here in Zabul. Up at ol’ Ghazni where some of my buddies are.. a mob was headed to the fire base when they were discouraged by an A-10. God, love the military!

  32. Tony Reilley Says:

    SS, the premise of a “responsible” press is the real problem in this discussion. As I understand the first amendment, the press was intended to be free, period. It is for the reader to judge what is credible from what is bunk, in a free marketplace of ideas. Isn’t that the beauty behind capitalism? If you lack confidence in the reader’s ability to do that, then maybe the focus should be on improving education in this country, not policing the press.

  33. Tony Reilley Says:

    SS, the premise of a “responsible” press is the real problem in this discussion. As I understand the first amendment, the press was intended to be free, period. It is for the reader to judge what is credible from what is bunk, in a free marketplace of ideas. Isn’t that the beauty behind capitalism? If you lack confidence in the reader’s ability to do that, then maybe the focus should be on improving education in this country, not policing the press.

  34. Tony Reilley Says:

    SS, the premise of a “responsible” press is the real problem in this discussion. As I understand the first amendment, the press was intended to be free, period. It is for the reader to judge what is credible from what is bunk, in a free marketplace of ideas. Isn’t that the beauty behind capitalism? If you lack confidence in the reader’s ability to do that, then maybe the focus should be on improving education in this country, not policing the press.

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