Mark Steyn sums up Dan Rather's and his cohorts stupidity best:
Yet Hurricane Dan professed himself delighted with his successors. "They took us there to the hurricane," he told Larry. "They put the facts in front of us and, very important, they sucked up their guts and talked truth to power."Sadly, we here in Canada will again be treated to our daily dose of media stupidity with the return of the CBC news crews.
Er, no. The facts they put in front of us were wrong, and they didn't talk truth to power. They talked to goofs in power, like New Orleans' Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass, and uncritically fell for every nutso yarn they were peddled. The media swallowed more bilge than if they'd been lying down with their mouths open as the levee collapsed. Ten thousand dead! Widespread rape and murder! A 7-year-old gang-raped and then throat-slashed! It was great stuff -- and none of it happened. No gang-raped 7-year-olds. None.
Most of the media are still in Dan mode, sucking up their guts and congratulating themselves about what a swell job they did during Katrina. CNN producers were advising their guests to "be angry," and there was so much to get angry about, not least the fact that no matter how angry you got on air Anderson Cooper was always much better at it. And Mayor Nagin as well. To show he was angry, he said "frickin'" all the frickin' time so that by the end of a typical Nagin soundbite you felt as if you'd been gang-fricked. "That frickin' Superdome," he raged. "Five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people."
But nobody got killed by a hooligan in the Superdome. The problem wasn't rape and murder, but the rather more prosaic lack of bathroom facilities. As Ben Stein put it, it was the media that rioted. They grabbed every lurid rumor and took it for a wild joyride across prime time. There was a real story in there -- big hurricane, people dead -- but it wasn't enough, and certainly not for damaging President Bush.
Think about that: Hurricane week was in large part a week of drivel, mostly the bizarre fantasies of New Orleans' incompetent police chief but amplified hugely by a gullible media. Given everything we now know they got wrong in Louisiana, where they speak the language, how likely is it that the great blundering herd are getting it any more accurate in Iraq?
Four years ago, you'll recall, we were bogged down in "the brutal Afghan winter." By "we," I don't mean the military but the media. The line on Afghanistan was that it was the white man's grave. Actually, it was the grave that was white; the man was more of a blueish color thanks to temperatures "so cold that eyelids crust and saliva turns to sludge in the mouth," according to Knight-Ridder's Tom Ifield. "Realistically," reported New York's Daily News, "U.S. forces have a window of two or three weeks before the brutal Afghan winter begins to foreclose options."
Er, no. "Realistically," U.S. forces turned out to have a window of four years, which is how long they've been waiting for the "fast, fast approaching" (ABC's ''Nightline'') brutal Afghan winter to show up. It's Knight-Ridder's news reports that turn to sludge on your lips. The "brutal Afghan winter" is a media fiction.
Oh heaven help us.
By the way, since the CBC was basically off the air for the last several weeks will I be getting a tax refund for the money the network didn't spend? Here's hoping against hope.