Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sucker Puncher Sucker Punched

Courtesy of Maetenloch at Ace of Spades HQ comes this link to a 2009 piece by Quin Hillyer that lays bare the true aims of the Main Stream Media:

The year was 1993. I was working as a press secretary for U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston, of Louisiana, a strongly pro-military but carefully budget-cutting veteran of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Our top legislative aide, Paul Cambon, told me that 60 Minutes had been snooping around a small medical-research project back in Louisiana funded through a military grant....

Meanwhile, this particular research was drawing protests because—get this—the doctor’s method involved repeatedly shooting cats in the head with BB pellets. The cats would be placed in a head vise so the doctor could precisely aim the pellets, and then…Boom! Then he’d study the results....

Again, this was shooting cats, on the taxpayer dime. Oddly enough, though, 60 Minutes wasn’t interested in blasting Livingston for allowing the cat shooting. The TV show wasn’t outraged that the goal of this cat shooting reportedly was to prove something already understood for 95 years. Instead, 60 Minutes wanted to know why Livingston was not supporting the cat-shooting experiments. The news magazine’s staff seemed to assume that soldiers’ lives would be dependent on this one scientist’s experiments.

What Livingston had done, as a careful appropriator, was pretty standard stuff. In the most recent military funding bill, he had inserted language suspending that project’s grant until the research could be scientifically peer-reviewed. He didn’t kill the project entirely. He just caused a pause so he could learn if the experiments actually had real military / medical usefulness. If not, then it was both a waste of taxpayer money and outrageous cruelty.

For whatever reason, 60 Minutes was lining up with the cat shooter. (We never nailed down rumors that a CBS News producer was related to somebody close to the scientist.) All we knew was that the show’s snoopers seemed intent on a morality play in which a purportedly pro-military congressman was blocking research that could save soldiers’ lives. Bizarre.

Please, please read the whole thing. I'll wait here until you've finished.

Back so soon? Now where was I? Oh, yes...

Mike Wallace carefully cultivated a reputation for being a fearlessly honest investigative reporter but nevertheless a courtly, gentlemanly individual, whereas in fact he was nothing of either sort. This duplicitous baron of pseudo-journalism cared about only two things in this world: his reputation, and damaging Republicans, especially conservative Republicans. That becomes pellucidly clear in this segment of Hillyer's piece:

I produced a 27-page, footnoted, single-spaced refutation of the entire 60 Minutes report. Fact after fact, citation after citation (including the misleading protester footage), I laid out the blatant dishonesty. I sent it to 60 Minutes demanding a retraction. I sent it out to a bunch of reporters. And I noted (without mentioning our audiotapes) that Wallace had lied when he said we had refused to cooperate. But no public apology came to match the apology in the private phone call.

Amazingly enough, 60 Minutes re-ran the segment in July. With no corrections. Not one.

THIS TIME, we called the president of CBS News. Bob played our audiotape for him. And then played it again. There was Wallace apologizing and admitting to having been “dishonest” and “stupid.” And yet the show had run again, without correction. It was clear we had a slam-dunk legal case if we wanted to press it.

The CBS president was irate at his own team. He made that clear. The tape did the trick. Apparently the news president then came down hard on Wallace. Really hard. Wallace soon called back. His voice was shaky. “Well, um, you know something? You’re a better man than I am, Congressman.” He promised to go on the air and apologize to the entire country. Then, after more of what can only be described as groveling, Wallace said this:

“You can get this on your tape recorder—I wish you told me you had a tape recorder going; that would have been the gentlemanly thing to do, the first time….”

Livingston interrupted, lowering the boom: “It would have been, but then I didn’t think that I was necessarily dealing with a gentleman.”

Wallace: “Well, in any case…”

Livingston: “And frankly, you’ve proven me right.”

Bingo. You could almost hear the phone line sizzle. Wallace had no answer. There was no good answer. Livingston was correct.

It's clear from the above that Wallace wasn't concerned about anything but salvaging his reputation. He was desperate to counter the revelation of his deceit. His complaint about Livingston recording the earlier call without saying so was all too clearly aimed at mitigating the damage he'd taken...though why it would in any way reduce Wallace's odium from his deceit is entirely lost on me.

Conscience, as H. L. Mencken has told us, is "the still, small voice that warns us that someone might be watching." In our era, perhaps we should add "or recording."

But wait: there's more! You'd expect that Wallace's colleagues in the hyper-competitive journalism business would pounce on this bit of scandal like the pack of ravenous jackals they are. You'd want to believe it, at least. Here's what happened instead:

[Colman McCarthy's piece in the Washington Post] was the only one that really covered all the other dishonesties in the 60 Minutes report. It was the only one that made real use of my 27-page manifesto. A number of journalists defended Livingston, but only McCarthy really explained the underlying dispute. The one thing that drew the attention of the rest of them was the simple, straight apology, based on the original simple, straightforward demand that a TV show not splice an interview out of context.

I, the press aide, had forgotten the nature of the press. But Livingston remembered: Keep it simple. Keep it straight. Keep it absolutely clear. And play it smart by collecting evidence that cannot possibly be denied.

The journalistic fraternity behaved the way fraternity brothers always do: Keep it in-house as far as possible. They couldn't deny that Wallace had apologized on-air for his earlier on-air deceit. But they could efface the meat of the story, plus all the historical evidence of 60 Minutes' fraudulent reportage over the decades. That helped Wallace to preserve what remained of his carefully cultivated reputation -- a reputation that remains one of the worst of all the deceits he used his position at the "Tiffany network," whose news division was for many years the brightest jewel in its crown, to perpetrate against his partisan enemies. It helped him to remain the doyen of 60 Minutes for another thirteen years...years during which the program would add heaps more duplicitous "journalism" to an already shameful record.

Glenn Reynolds constantly calls such "journalists" "Democrat operatives with bylines." Sadly, he's dead on target.

If there's anything that a conservative or libertarian must keep constantly in mind, it's that whatever their enticements and cajolery, the Main Stream Media are not his friend. They're not interested in his positions or his arguments for them. They're not interested in presenting his ideas, or him, objectively to their audiences. They're interested solely in making him look bad, if possible like a hypocritical monster. There are evolutionary reasons for this which I'll delve into at another time. For practical purposes, the imperative of remaining constantly on guard against MSM reporters and allies is the critical item of wisdom.

For some, it's about feathering the nest: making oneself ever more valuable a mouthpiece to one's "sources" and the political community one has cultivated. For others, it's about loyalty to The Cause: keeping faith with the convictions to which one has surreptitiously pledged absolute fidelity. For still others, it's just their preferred way of expressing low character, their penchants for spite in the guise of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable."

Whatever their justifications, they do it willingly. They have already decided as an unchallenged and unchallengeable moral precept that "conservatives deserve it." It's part of their "assumption of differential rectitude" (Thomas Sowell), by which they have rationalized that there is no tactic morally disallowed against enemies so foul.

Never, ever trust them.


Groman said...

My personal experience of the "honesty" of 60 Minutes was their 1990 smear job of Audi. Total BS (see Manhattan Inst. memo 18) but effective. Four governments, several magazines and independent engineering firms examined the claims and the cars and found nothing wrong. As Car & Driver noted, "Ed Bradley knows as much about cars as Milton Bradley." The dealership in Huntington where I worked went from selling 80 cars per month to 0. 60 Minutes portrays itself as the unbiased arbiter of truth going up against the powerful corporations and individuals making life miserable or dangerous for the common man. In fact all it does promote the Democrat line which seeks to destroy those it hates for their success.

daniel_day said...

I'm afraid I agree with the criticism of some of the commenters, that Livingston and Hillyer should have gone for the kill. Rather than call the president of CBS, they should have sued and done their damnedest to humiliate the 60 Minutes team. Call it "creative destruction".