Lenin's Not Dead, He's Just Broadcasting

As the alert reader may have noticed, I listen to my local Pacifica affiliate in the afternoons and mornings. It's one of the stations I scan for something interesting to hear when I drive back and forth to work. I have a lot of drive-time, so I have to do something. Last night was the weekly installment of Counterspin. Using my trusty PDA, I recorded some thoughts on the comments of Brian Montopoli from Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk.

I came into the show about 14 or 15 minutes in, so I don't know what transpired before I started listening. I do know Mr. Montopoli made a complete and utter fool of himself from that point on. He is, like most of what I've seen from CJR and FAIR, quite willing to hold everyone except the favored few to really high standards while not worrying if the fellow travelers keep up to those standards.

Anyhow, when I came into the program, Mr. Montopoli was pompously declaiming that "Just merely talking about an issue shouldn't open you up to any sort of lie." (He was speaking in reference to the Swift Boat Veterans.) Well, on this point I happen to agree with Mr. Montopoli. However, I was born in December of 1969. I'm not real qualified to determine the truth or facts of what happened in Viet Nam the month I was born without a lot of research. With the help of the internet, I can now do the research 'professional' journalists are apparently incapable of performing. Mr. Montopoli apparently is prepared to discount the eyewitness testimony of the other veterans in preference to the testimony of a man who is a proven liar and the official records. Hmm. We've got a guy here who we know lied about being in Cambodia. Might he have lied about anything else? Nope, other than that he's a paragon of truth, despite having told three versions of another event.

Another issue that bothers me is Mr. Montopoli's assertion that "We shouldn't be talking about the Swift Boat Veterans." In Mr. Montopoli's world, the media has the sole power to determine what's credible and what isn't. The media should only talk about what's credible. He might have a better argument if the media hadn't failed SPECTACULARLY in the past. If he (or anybody else) could debunk the Swift Boat Vets and tell the public why it's not credible, we might be willing to listen. Instead, flapping your arms wildly and spraying spit while yelling 'Lies! Lies! Lies!' isn't the way to convince people. The media does not have the gatekeeper function locked up anymore, so quit pretending they do. The media can no longer control the public's perception of what is newsworthy. This may come as a surprise to the dinosaurs at CJR, but it is the way world works now. Quit trying to lock the front door when everyone is walking in through the side. It makes you look stupid.

Mr. Montopoli then utters a whopper: "The Swift Boat ads are not factually based, at least in terms of the record and the eyewitnesses." Which ad would that be, Mr. Montopoli? The last Swift Boat Veterans ad I saw contains testimony from American POWs and quotes from John Kerry's Senate Testimony. I do not have the stones necessary to tell POWs they are lying about their experiences. I just don't have it in me to make that accusation. John Kerry's testimony is a matter of record, which Mr. Montopoli seems to hold very dear to his heart. One eyewitness and some records trumps several eyewitnesses with no records in his world. Gee, now we've got records and eyewitnesses. Are the Swift Boat Veterans lying now?

I'd comment more, but by this point I was done with the idiot and his organization. CJR is trying to man the gates against the barbarian internet hordes. Too bad the hordes are already inside the walls.


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