Pajamasphere Citizen media in action.

CBS -- again!

The truth of the e-mails were absolutely irrelevant to the piece, because all the story said was that people were worried.

Linda Karas, CBS producer, in an interview on INDC

The story in brief: On Sept. 28, Dan Rather (anchor), Richard Schlesinger (reporter) and CBS Evening News aired a story on Reviving the Draft, part of their coverage of "The Issues" for the upcoming electon. The story points out that neither candidate is in favor of the draft. So ... what's the story and why is it newsworthy???

According to CBS, "mass e-mails are circulating among parents worried their kids could be called up". I get lots of bogus emails; not sure why this one deserves attention. But, perhaps it does. The media's role is to inform the citizenry, right? So, the focus of the story should be obvious:

If CBS News knows that a whole bunch of voters are scared due to false or misleading information about a draft, wouldn't it be their job to quell those fears by presenting the truth? Chadster

Instead, CBS just amplified the fears. It's possible that we can just dismiss this as another example of sensationalism; an old-fashioned bit of scaremongering and drama to increase ratings. (Of course that alone isn't very flattering to CBS, which maintains the pretense of being a serious news organization.) But three points suggest there's more to the story.

  1. There's an organized campaign to convince young voters that a new draft is likely if President Bush is reelected. To their shame, this one is run by an allegedly non-partison "get out the vote" group.

  2. Although the CBS story was ambiguous (blaming Bush only by implication), the emails clearly target the Bush administration.

  3. Senator Kerry's campaign discusses the draft as if it were an issue where the two candidates disagree. It's not.

I have no idea whether CBS purposely chooses its topics and slants how they are presented in an attempt to influence the election, or whether the people and company are just so biased and isolated that they don't even realize what they're doing. Fortunately, thanks to the Pajamasphere, you can get the full story. (No, not thanks to ME; I make no attempt to be on the leading edge of these stories. The thanks go to the following and many, many more.)

A roundup:

  • INDC Journal has the interview mentioned above, plus ongoing coverage. Many of the comments are excellent. (That's where I first saw Chadster's quote.)
  • (no permalink?) has full details and lots of links ... mirrored by

And, an earlier bit of humor seemed to anticipate this story:

  • Dan rather retires on windfall from Nigeria. The guy is Sharp as a Marble.


Posted Sept. 30, 2004


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Copyright 2004 by Scott S. Lawton. All Rights Reserved.

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