Election Angst Update: BuzzFlash
"The greatest threat to truth today may well be from my profession." -- Legendary reporter Carl Bernstein
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. While some in the mainstream media were finally paying attention to an important story as it was unfolding (rather than waiting three years, ala the New York Times), others were taking the usual safe and tired tact
CRAWFORD: "We're often wimps in the media. And we wait for other people to make charges, one political party or another, and then we investigate it. But this is the time to do this. There's still time before the [2004 election] results are certified. It doesn't mean it will change the outcome. But it is good and I congratulate you for looking at some of these [voting] irregularities.
OLBERMANN: "I congratulate you for joining me on the crap list for saying that there are wimps in the media. Amen, brother.
OLBERMANN: We know it and now everybody else knows it.
Was that good for you, too?
While it's true that Mr. Olbermann was recently voted America's "Sexiest Newscaster," the further he strays from the herd, the hotter he gets. "There's a story here, I happen to have a newscast, maybe I should cover it," Olbermann humbly told NPR, sounding a bit like Clark Kent/Superman in the process.
Now here we are, thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis (and one quagmire) later, and it's apparent that questioning the official story was not the treasonous act of assorted conspiracy kooks, but the responsible thing to do. And if the media had been doing its job, you would not be reading this now.
Which brings us back to Mr. Olbermann and his colleagues.
While Ralph Nader has openly stated that this election "was hijacked from A to Z," nobody expects Peter Jennings to be similarly sensational. Oh, sure, Robert Novak reportedly raised questions about Bill Clinton's role in Vince Foster's death on national TV and Ann Coulter told Hannity and Colmes that Clinton "raped a woman [and] molested interns in the White House, and then lied about it and committed felonies," but right-wing hacks live by a set of ethics that is clear only to them, and democracy is better served when pundits remain rational and reasoned. After all, Keith Olbermann's Countdown has been able to cover this story night after night, without venturing into the crazy conspiracy zone -- despite Coulter's dubious claims to the contrary.
But when Peter Jennings introduced a story on e-vote "conspiracy theories" with the same snide dismissal he once reserved for assertions about G.W. Bush's National Guard record (assertions which turned out to be true), it was easy to see why, as the Hartford Courant put it, the mainstream media are becoming "ignored and irrelevant."
Of course it would be irresponsible for any major network to say that this election was stolen or rigged or riddled with fraud without proof, but wasn't it also irresponsible for America's most prominent pundits to immediately conclude, as Good Morning America's Charles Gibson did, that "the exit polls got it flat wrong"?