Newsweek's Jonathan Alter vs. Free Republic "Hit Men"

November 21st, 2005 4:28 PM

In the New York Times Sunday book review, Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter checks out "Truth and Duty," the apologia from Mary Mapes, the disgraced former CBS News producer of "Memogate" infamy, in which she blames right-wing bloggers and everyone but herself for how her "expose" of Bush's National Guard duty blew up in the face of her network.

The liberal Alter is highly critical of Mapes and CBS, but makes a rather paranoid and over-the-top claim about "Buckhead," the Atlanta attorney who originally questioned the fake documents used by CBS's "60 Minutes II" to attack President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service record.

"Buckhead"'s posting on the right-wing FreeRepublic website began the blogosphere's speedy evisceration of the forged memos, but Alter has this novel spin: "The blogger's anonymous assertion, within hours of the broadcast, that the proportional spacing and type font of the Killian memos did not exist in those days was only one of many falsehoods spread by political hit men."

In the "Up Front" editor's note, Alter ludicrously argues that it was blogs that should have taken a credibility hit: "Blogs are a wonderful addition to the media culture but the public should stop assuming that what they read on the Internet is more accurate than what they read in the mainstream media, because the reverse is usually the case...In this case, I was surprised to learn how wrong the original blog reports turned out to be, but they are still accepted as true by people who did not pay close attention to the story.'"

The Powerline blog says Alter's ignorance "must be willful" and links to a response by "Buckhead."

For more New York Times bias visit TimesWatch.