Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A turning point...

How often I've heard that expression. The number of turning points we've supposedly passed in Iraq should have been harnessed by some turbine to generate electricity. It probably would have been enough to restore power to pre-war levels, or higher.

But no, I'm not talking about that. Rather, I'm talking about the latest blog-media shitstorm to hit the Washington Post.
Let me explain. In a particularly surprising chain of events, both the Ombudswoman and the National political editor for the Washington Post print edition have set their riflescopes on the beloved weblog columnists Dan Froomkin. Froomkin is about to go on family leave as a new father, and it seemed some internecine war has broken out in the Post's news office. First, Froomkin was accused to have a liberal bias, and his column title "White House Briefings" was somehow leading scores of readers to mistake his sharp news aggregating as original reporting from the White House.
Well, Froomkin responded on the Post blog. Then editor John Harris replied. And that's when a massive part of America, silent so long, completely fed up with the kowtowing Bushbeaten DC press, finally erupted. You literally have to read for yourself the comments, some brilliantly incisive, some measured and bathed by cold anger, some rude, others written like pumping fists of rage, but all raining down on Harris.

But it gets worse and Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake has the details. Briefly, Harris gives an interview shortly thereafter and when asked if White House officials complained to him, answered: "They have never complained in a formal way to me, but I have heard from Republicans in informal ways making clear they think his work is tendentious and unfair. ..."

Then a Post Executive Editor also has an interview and had this to say "We want to make sure people in the [Bush] administration know that our news coverage by White House reporters is separate from what appears in Froomkin's column because it contains opinion," Downie told E&P.
Adding, almost as if an afterthought, "And that readers of the Web site understand that, too."

Ooh boy. Now the anger is white hot, the blogs become alit like Christmas trees, and the comments to John Harris continue to accumulate into the hundreds, toward the thousands.

It was the angry voice of Americans silent no more, the brutal awakening and venting of a majority fed up with the fucking joke that our media has become. The hulking and venerable giants of print journalism had been dying for a while, but now the stench of rot was undeniable.

I mark this, chalk in hand, as a turning point. This massive "let them have it", many voices rising.

My claim to fame in all this ? My comment to John Harris, a hat tip to the once-keen DailyHowler, was the favorite comment picked up by Jane Hamsher.

Don't be so hard on poor Mr. John Harris. The only thing in his post that I take issue with, is that he forgot to start with: "Hey Rubes !" After that, his whole post makes more sense.

But there are so many more, you gotta read them.

My predictions had been wrong. Plamegate was not to be the downfall of the White House - that will come with other scandals - but rather it was to be the chronicle of the Fourth Estate's catastrophic failure.

Judith Miller, Bob Woodward, Vivena Novak, Bob Novak and others, all witnesses who stayed silent for too long, like so many lighthouses deciding to shut down just as the storm gathered. Now they serve to point ghostly fingers off accusation at editors, publishers and some of their fellow journalists.


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11:42 PM  

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