1/6/09 12:37 PM

(MS)NBC: The Scoop That Wasn't

With J$P Video! Everyone knows to give credit where credit is due. But sometimes that truism is more honored in the breach. (MS)NBC has been congratulating themselves over a purported scoop. The rest of the media accept their claim as fact. And yet...

It all began with Andrea Mitchell on Meet the Press. Her comments about the so-called cone of silence had two elements. The more speculative one suggested that McCain might have cheated by hearing the questions: "He was so well prepared". It was this claim that raised howls from the McCain camp. Even Howard Kurtz was not impressed:

I would not have raised it without evidence, or at least without someone from the Obama camp going on the record. Otherwise you're just giving them a free shot without his campaign having to back it up.
But there was also a factual element to Mitchell's comment: McCain wasn't really in a cone of silence, because he was in a motorcade and arrived late for the forum. Defenders of Mitchell note that she was proven correct because even McCain's campaign admits he was in a motorcade and arrived late.

The New York Times wrote:
Members of the McCain campaign staff, who flew here Sunday from California, said Mr. McCain was in his motorcade on the way to the church as Mr. Obama was being interviewed...
Rachel Sklar noted the Times article:
This corroborates Mitchell's report, which was "McCain may not have been in the cone of silence"...
Never one to shy away from corporate brown-nosing, Keith Olbermann added his praise for Ms Mitchell's dogged investigative journalism. Note how he downplayed the veiled accusation of cheating (that McCain was "so well prepared"):
OLBERMANN: Regardless of whether McCain actually heard the questions that Obama got, do we know now that Andrea Mitchell and the Obama people were correct, that McCain was not in a cone of silence? Correct?... Andrea Mitchell's excellent reporting on the possibility that Sen. McCain violated the so-called cone of silence...
Similarly, Sklar:
The issue, of course, isn't whether or not he cheated, but whether he could have cheated.
This made it even easier for people like Olbermann to applaud Mitchell for breaking the news about the motorcade. Everyone accepted that it was her "scoop". Only this is the scoop that wasn't. Because it had been reported earlier. Much earlier. About 16 hours earlier:

Keith Olbermann boasted that Andrea Mitchell's belated, qualified ("may not have been") comment constituted "excellent reporting". So what superlatives would Mr Olbermann have to muster up should he ever give credit to the journalist who reported the facts a day earlier, five hours before the Saddleback forum even began?

Good for Mr. Cameron, although he, perhaps the most compromised partisan at FNC, didn't actually stick his neck out, did he? "All indications ....," indeed!  
As to her credit, Ms. Mitchell did raise the cone of silence issue after the good Rev. intimated McCain could not have heard the questions. A bit riskier a proposition, it seems to me.
As far as this "suggestion" that McCain may have heard the questions, that works two ways, doesn't it? If one draws that conclusion from "He was so well prepared.," it seems there is at least as much inference as implication, if not more. Righteous indignation is tricky and not the stuff of amateurs and hotheads.
For what it's worth, I think the entire matter is silly. I suspect for everyone who thinks McCain was decisive is someone who thinks he was glib, for everyone who thinks Obama was "professorial" is someone who thinks he was thoughtful.
I will confess, however, McCain was more articulate than I expected he would be and Obama evidenced his Christian faith in a more personal way than I expected. The forum was a good experience for a "normal" viewer. The media seems to have trouble with it all because it just didn't fit into one of its neat little, pre-wrapped gifts, with the store's logo on the back.
August 19, 2008, 3:05:05 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike C.
Keith would probably call Carl a dumb moron that went along with the Republican Talking Points that FNC was given. It would Olbypocrisy at its finest...as usual.
August 19, 2008, 3:05:33 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Olby Sucks
Network A25-54 Total Viewers  
FNC 678,000 2,782,000  
CNN 556,000 1,916,000  
MSNBC 395,000 871,000  
msnbc pulling up the rear in saddleback, nothing new.

Edited By Siteowner
August 19, 2008, 3:13:39 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Holy irony, Factman! The Jiddler was snared by his own diabolicalal trap!
Yes, my enthusiastic, young companion. It has been that way since the beggining of the struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Given time, the forces of evil will always deystroy themselves. Justice is not just a word. It is what we rely upon in the darkest of days.
August 19, 2008, 3:14:14 PM EDT – Like – Reply

The shills at MSNBC who questioned John McCain's integrity, simply weaken their own argument (like Olbermann's erroneous claim in his SPECIAL COMMENT) that only McCain is taking the low road.
Thanks for documenting the timeline and the NONEXCLUSIVE flimsy evidence that Mitchell went with on the air.
Olbermann looks even sillier now.

Edited By Siteowner
August 19, 2008, 3:37:24 PM EDT – Like – Reply

"Olbermann looks even sillier now"
Is that possible?
August 19, 2008, 5:06:16 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Who gives a bleep....Who reported it 1st....McCain wasn't in the "cone of silence".

Edited By Siteowner
August 19, 2008, 5:07:14 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Chris Jones
Olby is such a clown it's hard to believe he's still on the air. I can promise you his show is not going to have the staying power of a show like O'Reilly's.
Olbermann literally just parrots the left-wing blogs for his show. No fact checking, just partisan nonsense.
August 19, 2008, 5:28:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply

McCain was not in the cone of silence every news organization has reported it and Fox is upset about it, because they did not report it first, and even if they a pictures of McCain not in it they wouldnt show it since they are so in the tank for him
August 19, 2008, 6:54:33 PM EDT – Like – Reply

I thought Johnny demonstrated that Fox was the first to break the story that McCain was not literally in a cone of silence.
I guess I need to read the article "The Scoop that Wasn't" again.

Edited By Siteowner
August 19, 2008, 7:27:43 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Olby Sucks
See what the newshoundsare promoting? Such nice folks!
this was an awesome flick...especially the extras....
Patriot Actor | 08.20.08 - 4:27 pm | #
August 20, 2008, 5:04:41 PM EDT – Like – Reply