It's not often that Newt Gingrich looks like a winner in The Washington Post. But on Saturday, Post media reporter Paul Farhi lined up a set of liberal media veterans and journalism professors to attack CNN reporter John King for walking into a Gingrich buzzsaw by opening the debate with his second wife's "open marriage" assertion at Thursday night's CNN debate.
“Gingrich was clearly waiting for the question, clearly was prepared to pounce,” said W. Joseph Campbell, a communications professor and media historian at American University. “King seemed taken off guard. He looked a little sickened. And he did himself no favors by lamely pointing out that it wasn’t CNN but another network that dug out the Gingrich-infidelity story. That allowed Gingrich to pounce again.”
"Let's Clear the Fog of War," suggested Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Timothy Egan in a recent blog post for the New York Times. Egan criticized the White House's decision to simply stop talking about what happened at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday night. "They owe us a complete story, an honesty story, one for the record," Egan wrote.
But in calling for truth, Egan, whether he realized it or not, perpetuated a falsehood concerning the Iraq war that those who opposed that war continue to invoke in support of the narrative that the war effort itself was premised on a falsehood.
Egan made his opposition to the effort in Iraq clear in labeling it "a disastrous and bankrupting war against a country that had nothing to do with the mass homicide on American soil." He went on to offer the tale of Pfc. Jessica Lynch as "emblematic of the whole phony campaign at the top. If the White House was willing to go to war on false pretenses, why shouldn’t low-level commanders follow suit on the ground?"
As reported at NB by TimesWatch editor Clay Waters, the New York Times bestowed the honor of "modern day Edward R. Murrow" on "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart for his advocacy for a bill awarding billions for the medical care of 9/11 first responders.
As it would only ever do for a liberal, the Times lauded Stewart as the exemplar of righteous journalistic advocacy - hence the likeness to Murrow, who, according to lore, brought down Sen. Joseph McCarthy during his communist witchhunts during the 1950s.
Ask a journalist to name an example of the power of his profession. Odds are he will bring up Woodward and Bernstein's takedown of President Nixon, or Walter Cronkite's role in turning public opinion against the Vietnam War, or maybe Edward R. Murrow's exposes about Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare.
Just one problem: all of these iconic moments in journalistic history are myths.
So writes W. Joseph Campbell, professor of communication at American University, and a long-time reporter for news outlets including the Associated Press and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.