Another MemoGate?

No, not CBS again. Media Matters has its own memo embarrassment, but that's what happens when you farm out your research to a political hack.

As we demonstrated recently, the Media Matters gang are the masters of semantic shenanigans. Even Doug Henning has to be impressed by their rhetorical sleight-of-hand--bamboozling unsuspecting readers into thinking that up is down, or that wrong is right.

David Brock's crew has been generous again this week, with two primo demonstrations of how to use misdirection and trickery. The first deals with Darth Vader--err, we mean, Rupert Murdoch:
...Bush's defense of the decision made by two Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers, the New York Post and the Sun in Britain, to publish photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear: President Bush, when asked if he thought the pictures would stoke more anti-Americanism in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, voiced some doubt. [...] "You know, I don't think a photo inspires murderers. ..."

We may have been overly magnanimous in our praise of this bit of transparent tomfoolery. Even the drones who swallow everything the Fox-haters come up with can hardly be so blind as to miss the overriding point. How can the M&Mers claim with a straight face that the Bush comments are a "defense of the decision to publish the photos"? That's not what he was asked! The papers' determination to print the pictures is one issue. The effect the photos might have is another. Taking an answer and then making up a question for it that was never asked sounds an awful lot like perpetrating "premeditated fraud". Oh wait, no, that's what Brit Hume does.
We can't help wondering if the president would have been so understanding if it had been Newsweek -- or CBS -- rather than a newspaper that endorsed his re-election, that ran the photos.

Apparently, Brock's Brigade isn't any more up on the news of the day than is Keith Olbermann, since the US condemned the papers' decision to print the pictures early on May 20--over twelve hours before the M&Mers ignorantly opined about how "understanding" the administration has been.

But wait...there's more! In the next paragraph, writer Jamison Foser expounds on how the media are ignoring the "Downing Street Memo" exposed by the London Times (a Murdoch publication by the way, but that factoid is deemed irrelevant in this case). After noting a few instances of coverage, there's an unexpected twist. It turns out it's just too much work for MM to keep track of this story. After all, they only have so many employees, and only get so many millions of dollars from so many billionaires--they just can't spare the manpower to actually do the research for a follow-up.

The solution: sub-contract! Let somebody else do the grunt work and we'll uncritically report their findings. And who do the M&Mers turn to for this project that was too big for them to handle? That ace media critic, renowned researcher, and unbiased, nonpartisan arbiter of fairness: John Conyers! As published in that highly respected analytical journal: John Conyers's blog!

Whoever wrote the blog for the Congressman rails a bit about what a serious story this is and how the media are ignoring it. Then, the one sentence about FNC:
By the way, where is Fox News?

OK, we'll bite. Where is Fox News? You won't get an answer from Conyers. Or from the M&Mers. They just ask the question and then...end of story. Sort of like writing about the need for civil rights legislation, and then ending the article by asking, "Where is John Conyers?" No data, no evidence, just a lazy, unsupported, sleazy implication.

But it's good enough to convince the credulous:
It's hardly surprising there is nothing from Fox News...
Faux News won't cover it, except to try and debunk it...
Fox News does not have the kahunas to honestly report this event here...

However, long before Conyer's diatribe was published on May 19, the subject matter in question was in fact covered on Fox News--and on their second highest-rated program. Hannity & Colmes (May 14), with guest Bill Press:

ALAN COLMES: We find out there is this Downing Street memo. A possible inclusion between Blair and Bush about whether or not there was cooked intelligence....

And again later in the hour, this time with Newt Gingrich:

COLMES: Let me ask you this, let's get in some serious business here. The "Times" of London printed a memo that went to the defense, high Official in England to Tony Blair and I want to put up what is in this now-leaked memo...

How did that crack investigative blogger John Conyers miss this? How is it that David Brock's mammoth staff of media watchdogs just happened to overlook these examples--not to mention the fact that Mr Colmes on Fox News Radio devoted an entire hour of his May 9 program to the "revelations" in this memo?

Media Matters has entries regarding several of this week's Hannity & Colmes programs, including May 16, the day this memo was a topic of discussion in multiple segments. And even though they quote from that broadcast, they make no mention of the repeated coverage of the memo. How odd. How strange. Naturally, Brock's site says nothing whatsoever about Fox News Radio's coverage of the memo with Alan Colmes.

Coincidence? Oversight? Or deliberate deception? We report, you decide.

posted: Sat - May 21, 2005 at 01:43 PM       j$p  send