Not-So-Good Vibrations

Media Matters has a bone to pick with Brian Wilson. Our advice to the Long Tall Texan? Don't Back Down.

While Surfin' the internet during these Summer Days (and Summer Nights) you might find yourself Passing By David Brock's Media Matters website, dedicated to exposing Heroes and Villains among media types. The illogic of putting a self-admitted liar (Do You Remember Brock's checkered past?) in charge of a site designed to be a truth detector is self-evident. But the far-left funded outfit has no plans to Shut Down, now taking on Fox's Brian Wilson for his one-paragraph report about connections between Ken Lay and the Kerry couple. "Brian Wilson distorted Kerry connection," blares the headline over Andrew Seifter's commentary.

They quote the four sentences of Wilson's report, and the first complaint they register is that "Wilson's remarks echoed Republican Party talking points". Um, OK. But, so what? If the talking points said that the sun rises in the east, would reporting on the rising sun therefore be a "distortion"? Is the bias of this site such that anything a Republican says is, on its face, a distortion? God Only Knows. In any event, this is a silly and meaningless criticism.

The next devastating point raised by the Brock Bunch refutes Wilson's report that Lay (as a board member of one of Madame Kerry's foundations) attended a posh dinner at the Kerry residence. Their rebuttal: "all board members were invited to attend the dinner". That's quite a crushing riposte, is it not? Because, according to Media Matters, unless this was a posh dinner where only Ken Lay showed up, it's a "distortion" to report that he was there! One cannot help but raise a Smiley Smile at such logic.

Then Brock Inc. takes aim at Wilson's assertion that the Kerry couple owned a quarter-million dollars of Enron stock before the company collapsed. Aha! Another "distortion"! Wilson didn't specify that the year that they sold the stock: 1997 (certainly Good Timin'). Because, you know, it's not enough to be 100% factually correct, you have to include everything in the story that Mr Brock wants you to. OK, it wouldn't have hurt to mention the date; we'll award them a half-point on this one (but don't expect us to Do It Again).

From here, Media Matters goes on for five more paragraphs (their story is orders of magnitude longer than Wilson's brief report). How did they find so many things wrong to comment on? That's easy--they didn't. Apparently the editors thought Mr Seifter was on a roll and Let Him Run Wild; however, these final paragraphs find him Busy Doin' Nothing. The rest of the "analysis" is an extended run-down of connections between Ken Lay and George Bush! No doubt Mr Seifter considered this Fun, Fun, Fun, but how does any of it show Brian Wilson's report to be "distorted"? Answer: it doesn't, but it always helps to have a lot of text so that most people will just read the headline and assume that everything that follows is actually relevant.

Media Matters raises four points against Mr Wilson's report; three of them are without merit, and one is just barely germane (we're in a generous mood). That gives Mr Wilson a score of 87.5% and Mr Seifter a grand total of 12.5%. I Get Around to a lot of websites, and In the Back of My Mind I thought Wouldn't It Be Nice if there might actually be substantive, reliable criticism at Media Matters. I Should Have Known Better.

posted: Tue - July 13, 2004 at 11:51 AM       j$p  send