Across the Great Divide

February 21, 2007

Good morning, class. It’s time once again to examine the big difference between left-wing press critics and right-wing press critics. Remember, the rule of thumb is this: Left-wingers want the press to do its job better and more professionally; Right-wingers don’t want the press to do its job at all.

Exhibit A: In a rock-solid post for Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald rightly praises the work of WaPo reporter Dana Priest and spotlights her recent stories detailing the indignities and wretched conditions imposed on wounded veterans returning from Iraq. He also highlights the appalling effrontery of right-wing hack Jonah Goldberg, who dismisses Priest as someone operating with a secret “agenda,” offering no evidence for any of his nonsense but simply caling her “biased” because she turns up information that presents the Bush administration in an exceptionally bad light. He even suggests that the only way to get to the bottom of the story is to have FauxNews put Geraldo Rivera on the trail:

Jonah then adds a new post in order to re-print an e-mail he received from an anonymous Marine claiming that “about 5% of the Marines we had [at Walter Reed] complained endlessly about their treatment” and that “the WaPo found almost all of them.” So, as Attaturk points out in comments, this anonymous e-mail means that this is all much ado about nothing — just a handful of petulant, self-involved whiners who were hyped by The Washington Post in order to create a story where there is none. That settles that. Scandal resolved . . . [t]his is how they try to discredit any and all journalists — even ones who produce the most accomplished and thorough investigative reports — who reveal facts which are politically adverse to the White House. That’s how things were really, really great in Iraq all that time and the agenda-driven reporters were just trying to make it seem like things were going badly in order to hurt The President. Bush followers routinely smear disobedient journalists with accusations of harboring secret agendas and then insist that their anonymous e-mailers and Fox News reports are much more reliable.

So, on the right we have Jonah Goldberg, smug and glued to his chair, paid to churn conservative talking points over and over, dismissing the comprehensive, thoroughly reported work of a journalist whose shoes he is not qualified even to shine, much less wear.

Now, on the left, we have Mike Stark, who called out ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper for recycling inaccurate and discredited information about the GOP-generated “scandal” over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her travel accommodations.

Stark didn’t use bad or (how do they put it?) “uncivil” language while e-mailing Tapper. He simply pointed out, quite forcefully, that the House Sergeant at Arms had issued a press release explaining why he had requested certain air accommodations for Pelosi, and that this press release deflated all attempts to paint Pelosi as an arrogant diva who wanted her own luxury jet on the taxpayer’s dime:

I was a nice guy about it. I didn’t go through his entire blog and point out that 9 out of 10 posts bash Democrats – even though it’s true. I didn’t personally insult the man or besmirch his character . . . I simply raised some concerns – and even offered a suggestion that I’d really like to see him follow – go to MediaMatters.org for 5 minutes a day. Then visit Bozo’s media watchdog group. It’d truly be an eye opening experience for him and others in the media to compare the difference in the criticisms they receive from each side. Which criticism is substantial, which is media hate for media hate’s sake?

Anyway, you might think he’d take the email in stride. Maybe even give it a little professional thought.

The sage Wayne Campbell had a rejoinder to that kind of what-if thinking — “And monkeys might fly out of my butt” — but it would be uncivil to talk that way here.

I will simply note that in The World According to Jonah Goldberg, there is no place for a Dana Priest. By contrast, in The World According to Glenn Greenwald (and Mike Stark), a reporter like Dana Priest has an honored place.

There’s even a place for a Jonah Goldberg — after all, you can’t have a carnival without a geek.

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One Response to “Across the Great Divide”

  1. Detective J Says:

    I admire your skilled writing. You have a very popular blog.

    However, as a conservative, I disagree with many of your points. Conservative journalists aren’t just playing tiddlywinks. We also aren’t enemies of free speech. There are definitely a good number of highly professional conservative journalists. Take, for example the world-class reporting at WORLD Magazine. This conservative publication rivals the best in liberal journalism.

    Also, please check out my blog and the sites I link to. The homeschool blogs listed there are the journalists of the next generation. Their talented writing is drawing international attention and popularity.

    Once again, thanks for your well-crafted article, and the other skilled entries you’ve written here.


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