Bernstein on Rathergate

Watergate ace Carl Bernstein in a wide ranging critique of contemporary media raises the real questions about Rathergate.

Hurrying to be first can cause problems, he said. For example, had more serious questions been asked about the reports in the CBS story about President George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard, the story might have been more sound.

“Obviously, the story should have been held until more reporting was done,” he said, also noting that CBS executives have stripped their news operation of resources over the last several years…..

And while the CBS story is dominating the news, people are forgetting about the real story: whether Bush actually fulfilled his military obligations, he said.

This is the issue that I have been waiting for someone to raise. Why has this become a story about, blogs, the media and liberal bias in the media when there was plenty of other evidence apart from the supposedly forged memos that pointed to the fact that Bush received special treatment in the National Guards. If there is a media practice that needs critiquing it is this: the tendency to blow up micro issues into scandals while leaving the real stories behind.

There is plenty to criticise in the CBS reporting but can we have a discuission about this without resorting to predictable frames like: “the triumph of the bloggers” or “liberal media bias”.

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