Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Clarity Is Good: How Not To Write Like You're Compensating for a Small AHEM


Of course, this being CBS, I’m not quite so willing to rule out knowing malfeasance on the part of their production and editorial staffs, however slyly they may have distanced themselves from potential repercussions by relegating the report to their website. After all, the mainstream press in this country has clearly chosen sides in the prosecution of this war, which makes much of what they do, even when their mistakes are inadvertant and the result of confirmation bias and/or reportorial laziness, rightly suspect, especially given that they now have a clearly-drawn metanarrative of the Iraq war both to (re)inscribe and protect.

And this is CBS, the network that practically canonized the “fake but accurate” maneuver—a trope I once thought would redound to their shame, but one that in the years since Rather’s humiliation seems to morphed into an acceptable weapon in the arsenal of journalists who have come to think of themselves as teaching the lessons of news rather than simply reporting on it. The Doctrine of Truthiness, if you will.


I think those bastards at CBS did this deliberately, then tried to minimize the blowback by publishing the video only on their web site, where it would be seen by fewer viewers. I think this because, although we warbloggers have been wrong about everything lately, there was that one time a couple years ago when we genuinely, honest-to-God caught that no-good CBS in some funny business--and by cracky, we're gonna ride that train 'til the track rusts to pieces and the wheels fall off.

Or, for brevity:

This is all Dan Rather's fault, really.

The meaning is no better, of course, but at least the afters read a solid 50% less like they were written by a jackass.

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