Saturday, October 15, 2005

DODGING THE SPINNERS: THE SLANT WARS CONTINUE

Drudge vs Huffington Post, part III

The New York Times has devoted considerable effort to the Judith Miller "story" [dare I say fiasco?] today, publishing two prominent articles on the subject. One is a narrative by Miller herself; one a third-party synopsis / mea culpa by the Times establishment.

Predictably, the spin masters, moving with the ferocity of Piranha, have latched onto the morsels they each find most enticing. The morsels picked first are revelatory of the bias of the Piranha - I mean journalists - involved.

Drudge, leading the charge for the Rabid Right, ignores the accounts of Miller herself, not even providing a link. He prefers the synopsis, entitled "The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal."

http://nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html?ei=5094&en=ae9961705f60a5d9&hp=&ex=1129435200&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

Drudge headlines this story " NY Times: Reporter Can't Recall Who Gave Her The 'Flame' Name," a reference to an arguably insignificant and even collateral reference from Miller's notes, better explained in the article not linked.

As is often the case when Drudge is operating in full ad hominem mode, he includes an incredibly unflattering still shot of Miller as his lead. One wonders how many feet of film he must have culled to find that one ugly shot. Don't miss this one, Drudge watchers. It's a fine example of his "art."

Drudge gets double-duty out of this story by linking to a regurgitation by Breitbart.com

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/10/15/D8D8P1Q80.html

HuffPo tries to hold up their end, leading with Miller's account, "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room," which is, BTW, accompanied by a much more flattering photo of Miller.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16miller.html

But they are no match for the Rabid Right, and in fact seem to be on the defensive, entitling their link the the aforementioned story "New York Times' Judy Miller Can't "Recall" Her Plamegate Sourceā€¦"

Arianna Huffington has personally invested considerably in the "Plamegate Scandal," hoping, one must assume, to reap a great profit of political capital at the expense of her opponents. Now it appears events have let her down.

HuffPo also links the second Times story under the headline "The Times Coverage Of Itself Under Assault: Managing Editor Regrets The Entire Thing."

Quite a change from the original "The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal," and a further example of damage control.

So the battle goes to the Rabid Right, at least for now. Not because the facts originally at issue are demonstrated to support their side, but because of presentation, of slant. The facts are long since lost and forgotten.

And enough of this subject. One last word: Next time some fool - or some outright liar - insists media is slanted one way and one way only, play the headline game.

YOU WILL NEVER FIND A STORY, NO MATTER HOW SLANTED, THAT ISN'T MATCHED SOMEWHERE BY A SLANT IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. OBJECTIVE JOURNALISM, IF IT EVER LIVED, DIED A QUICK DEATH.

Caveat Emptor

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