I Don’t Think They Like Us

Tomorrow’s New York Times has a “news analysis” piece by Adam Nagourney on the question whether the Kerry campaign hurt itself by waiting too long to respond to the Swift Boat Vets’ initial television ad. While it never mentions the Vets’ specific allegations, Nagourney’s piece assumes throughout that they are a pack of lies. On the whole, he agrees with the view that Kerry should have responded sooner, although he expresses sympathy for Kerry’s campaign and points out that by not striking back, they were following the conventional wisdom. Basically, they assumed that because the Vets had so little money, they couldn’t do much damage. They failed to foresee the traction the issues the Vets raised would receive with the public. They also failed to foresee how effectively the non-traditional media, especially the blogosphere, could disseminate the substance of the Vets’ claims despite the mainstream media’s blackout.
What really struck me in the Times’ piece, however, was this paragraph:

In fairness to Mr. Kerry, his aides were faced with a strategic dilemma that has become distressingly familiar to campaigns in this era when so much unsubstantiated or even false information can reach the public through so many different forums, be it blogs or talk-show radio.

Oh, sure, that’s the problem all right. Now that the Times’ mighty truth squad has lost its monopoly on the news, you never know what kinds of ideas–facts, even–people might into their heads.
That sound you hear is the crumbling of a once-imposing, but now mostly pathetic facade. With a little whistling in the graveyard mixed in.

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