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the watergate effect

janittdott's picture

RE: A BLOG I MADE LAST NIGHT

Hey lambert, and all,

I posted a unsourced "rumour" about Obama's Muslim ties in Kenya last night
in an attempt to find out what our educated bloggers knew about it.

Sorry about that, truly, One of the difficulties of being...new here.

I appreciate the high road approach I see in effect at Corrente
and I understand that we do not want to be seen as rumour mongers.

That was not my inttention and I hope I was not misunderstood

What I posted was a bulletin floating around Myspace with no direct link
but some mention that it MIGHT be from the Wall Street Journal.
And, as I explained, I had never heard any of that information before
and it would be quite troubling...if true.

So I posted it AS an UNFOUNDED rumour hoping that someone more knowlegable at corrente knew more about Barack & Kenya than I do
and could confirm or refute it one way or the other.

The first poster gave what I thought was a complete contradiction
of the "story" and some balanced information about what their own
reseach has found in defence of Barack's uneventful relationships there.
So, in my view, we succeeded in squashing a salacious rumour

about the same time shystee posted about the "no rumour" thing,
which I totally understand and agree with so,

since it's clearly not true, I did ask her to delete the whole blog cause
I don't know how to delete one myself.

I think the lesson learned is positive all around and that is that this
site is both well informed and intolerant of "gossip"

And that means the system actually...works...here.

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scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

Honestly, if it reads like a bullshit chain mail you get from your wingnut uncle, it probably is.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

janittdott's picture
Submitted by janittdott on

Sure, I agree in principal.
duck. quack. toss it.

but this is the thing about...that.

I was in journalism school during Watergate, working as a reporter,
for the regarded Minnesota Daily (3rd best college paper in America)
I could walk into the break room and "tear" a story, literally, off
huge clattering AP /UPI wire service machines spilling endless
"news" stories out in a heap of rolled paper on the floor.
Before the net, that's how newspapers stayed connected to the world.

And before the net, to get on AP/UPI a "news" story had to be...news.

It's amazing how GOOD the reporting was when it was much harder
to come by, but good journalist took their job as a public trust then.

I had the honor, as a student, to hear the great I.F Stone speak.
When blacklisted, he lost his press privileges including the wires
ALL he had access to were the the daily papers. And yet by carefully
reading between the lines and connecting the dotts...

I.F. Stone broke some of the most important stories of his time.

I'm coming to doubt Watergate would've been detected these days,
The open primary story is being (I must believe intentionally) ignored!
News departments are openly supportive/dismissive of candidates.
Noted journalists went their whole career without tipping their hand
to their personal politics. Now it's required to declare yourself.

But is it good journalism?

"News" is considered at best a ratings game, too often seen as mere entertainment, a cynical joke, and at worst very close to abandoning
well, it already has, it's dedicated role as the forth estate.

But if you worked for a newspaper back in the days of watergate,
you read a breaking story a day before the rest of the world saw it.

And when the watergate break in story first "broke"
It came of "the wires" like something from the keystone cops.
It looked...absurd...completely idiotic, totally unlikely.
but then...over the coming days...it proved to be true.
Even then it was seen as just a goofy act of zealotry.
The Merry Pranksters, Dicky's dirty tricks.

It was actually quite a bit of time before it began to emerge
as a story of any real merit.

The rest is pretty much as it's presented in All the President's Men.
certainly a sobering film worth seeing every now and then,
I've seen it dozens of times but, I think, I'll watch it...tonight.

My point is that NO ONE could have possibly predicted that break-in
would EVER result in the impeachment of A President.

The reverse also being true that as a watergate era journalist I would
have resisted the Whitewater story.

For it was obvious from the start that the Newts were trying to
RECREATE the watergate scandal in the Clinton presidency...

Look how HARD they tried to write a story where there...wasn't one.
Look at the terrible price the country paid...The Clinton's paid...
for bad journalism and the worst use of it.

We've yet to see how Barack's "land deal" shakes out. There are some
troubling details. To dismiss it as "boneheaded" "a mistake" would
NOT have cut it back when I was...gonzo.

Which brings Barack's "muslim question" to the forefront not cause
he is or he isn't but because people still seem to not be...sure.

I chose to...investigate...that unauthorized rumor and ONLY because
the Wall Street Journal was said to be...attached to it in the bulletin.

A good journalist doesn't go into a story hoping it breaks EITHER way.
They just want to know what is TRUE (as much as we ever know that)

A blogger here who had researched that aspect of Barack's narrative
corrected the "rumour/slur" within minutes of when I posted it.

I'm now willing to accept, on his information that it's, defamatory
That there is nothing particularly troubling or irregular at this point.
So I ASKED shortly after that post for the blog to be deleted AS a lie.
(would have done it myself but I don't know how)

That said.

AS a lapsed gonzo journalist, I'm frustrated that, at THIS stage
in the primary, after "twenty debates" that few have seen first hand
(I drove sixty miles, twice, to watch those debates, myself)
a story like THAT comes to my inbox at myspace
and I don't personally KNOW for a FACT at a glance if it's true or not.

This man could BE the candidate for the Democratic party.
In which case he would have defeated a woman of a known quantity

There should be NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER at this late date
in any reasonable American's mind that Barack Obama is

1)
first and foremost loyal and committed to the complicated cause of
the united states of america

2)
NOT attached in ANY way to ANY extremists ANYWHERE here or abroad
and that includes, for most people, Louis Farrakhan's movement.

3)
not embracing in ANY WAY SHAPE or FORM the subjugation of women.
in ANY part of the planet.

Am I "out of line" to ask those questions? Can't we even...ask him?

And instead of his mocking Hillary's explicitness as...just words...
(to the audible smirks of his smug followers)
Barack Obama, like Mitt Romney and Huckaby and Jack Kennedy
NEEDS, as a man with an activist past, to clarify his personal beliefs
and his belonging to what many consider a controversial church.

He needs to spend time EDUCATING and ASSURING the Voters that
these seemingly strident associations NOT a conflict of Interest for
the president of the United States.

The horror of watergate is that the story broke...before the election.
But because, at first, it was not taken seriously...enough...in the press,
people went to the poles without that information.
I'd rather retract with apologies, just as I did...this time.
The FAIL to investigate and report something that could...change...
A voter's mind.

And these obamacrats attacking ME and MY MOTIVES for asking
the tough questions that the Muffled Media is NOT asking Obama
(so both Hillary and her supports have to get shrill on the issues)
is just

shooting the messenger.

...

Submitted by lambert on

Enlightenment values, and all that.

Of course, snark doesn't have much of either, but we tend to be either analytical, or snarky (or, as Xan points out, storytellers).

Unsourced rumors don't fit any of those categories.

DIY journalism is great, but let's actually do it, mkay?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.