Friday, February 25, 2005

A Thank You to Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert of Salon, always a reliable source of good writing about the press, deserves a special mention for making a link that most others, including myself, had overlooked: The vast difference between the way the MSM covered the "hillbilly armor" story last December and the way it is covering the "divorced from reality" story now unfolding.
From Mr. Boehlert's column today:
"What's also curious is that last December another media controversy erupted
over the role a journalist played in posing a controversial question to top
White House officials. It involved a reporter for the Chattanooga Free Times
Press, Edward Lee Pitts, who helped a National Guardsman craft a tough question
posed to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld regarding the lack of body armor
for U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq. Rumsfeld's at-times-cavalier response
created a small firestorm. ("You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army
you might want or wish to have at a later time.") The revelation that Pitts was
involved in formulating the question, and the debate over whether he overstepped
a journalistic boundary, soon became a story onto itself in the mainstream
press. Unlike Guckert, who was criticized for bending the rules to toss softball
questions to administration officials, Pitts was accused of bending the rules to
ask a question that was too hard."

In the first case, a real soldier asked a real, relevant question to the Secretary of Defense. The fact that a reporter helped him to phrase the question is pretty much irrelevant, but it was treated by the MSM as if the sky had fallen in.
And now, the fact that a prostitute sat within their midst in the White House press room for nearly two years, possibly ushered in by Bush administration skirting their own security procedures, is given life only through the efforts of bloggers like
Not only is the "liberal" press a myth, but the notion of a free and open press is fading into the mists.