Some dare call it journalism

Our round-up of commentary on CBS and the bloggers would not be complete without the clueless reflections of Richard Cohen, in a piece called “Journalism Happens.” Cohen’s concern is that “more and more Americans are getting their news through partisan filters — talk radio, Web logs, Fox News, and the like.” This phenomenon “enhances the importance of national or regional outlets that do not have, or share, an ideological purpose.” Cohen does not cite any support for the view that those who listen to talk radio, watch Fox News, or read blogs do not also consume the MSM product. If our mail is any indication, readers of Power Line are still getting information from the MSM, with unfortunate consequences for their blood pressure.
But Cohen’s more fundamental fallacy is his assumption that there are significant national and regional outlets that do not have an ideological purpose. Worse, Cohen assumes that CBS News is such an outlet. He writes off Dan Rather’s use of fraudulent memos as an example of overzealous journalism, and asserts that “Rather would have done the same story on Kerry.” Cohen thus overlooks more than 30 years of history, as recounted, for example, in this piece by John Podhoretz and this one by Victor Davis Hanson. Can Cohen provide any significant example in which Rather ended up in a flap as a result of something he did to the detriment of a Democratic candidate or cause? For that matter, does Cohen read the New York Times corrections page in which, as Rocket Man has pointed out, nearly every correction on a point of partisan interests involves a statement that, before the correction, redounded in favor of liberals or liberalism?
Cohen may be right that “journalism happens,” but precious little unfiltered journalism is happening. If it were otherwise, this blog probably would be known only to the friends and family of its proprietors.

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