I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” Will Rogers (1879-1935)
People confuse what they read in newspapers with news.” A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)
Dropping any illusion of impartiality, this past week the mainstream media, from pundit to anchor to reporter to editor, was on a mission to discredit Sarah Palin. Luckily for us the media overplayed its hand.
One of the more egregious examples of media meddling was the Us Weekly scandal that came to light as the Republican Convention swung into motion. The publication’s latest edition carries the cover headline “Babies, Lies and Scandal” over a photo of Governor Palin holding baby Trig. It has drawn not only widespread criticism but thousands of subscription cancellations as well.
Courtney Hazlett of The Scoop at MSNBC got the goods on the real story as covered by Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters.
Hazlett is hearing that the editorial board of “Us Weekly” had thought they pegged it right that media pressure and attacks would see Palin pulled from the McCain ticket even before her debut speech. Because the media had so quickly swarmed to destroy her, they thought she was toast before she even had the chance to accept the nomination.
Queried by FoxNews, Us Weekly came up with this lame excuse.
We didn’t have time to get into everything that you have mentioned.” Us Weekly Senior Editor Bradley Jacobs to Megyn Kelly, co-host of “America’s Election HQ,” September 2, 2008.
No longer content to just report the facts of a presidential race, media outlets have staked claim to the role of makers and shapers of it. Falling revenues should have been sufficient warning but en masse subscription cancellations ought to strike fear in the hearts of editors, publishers, owners and stock holders. Readership is not a given and loyalty to a media outlet has its limits.
Hey, but when those pink slips start to arrive, former news folk might want to consider retraining at the local community college. Or better yet, head to Hollywood where the truth is entirely irrelevant.