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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Return of the hack

The great Brown has more revisionist history up at Public Address, not in the usual Hard News section which appears to be now at least openly waving the Labour party flag, but in the great argument section where he has a transcript up of a speech at the National Library about "Information Entrepreneurs". Not much remarkable in that, just his take on the internet etc. Has a section on blogs as may be expected, with a good promo of PA and I think Scoop was the only other NZ site mentioned. The funny thing is where in a speech at the National Library he can't keep his pet hates out of it. Yes, I'm talking about his great bugbear PowerLine.
During last year's US election campaign, CBS News' 60 Minutes programme ran a controversial story on President Bush's military service, based on a hitherto unknown memo from his commanding officer. The conservative blog Power Line was annointed "weblog of the year" by Time magazine for its work in showing that the memo was forged, but in fact Power Line's authors did little more than ask the question: the real legwork was done by a horde of readers, some of whom displayed a zeal and expertise that put professional journalists to shame.

More recently, blogs on the other side of the divide used a similar division of labour to demonstrate that a mysterious conservative journalist given press accreditation to the White House was working under an assumed name, that the news organisation he worked for was nothing of the kind, and that his services as a gay prostitute were being advertised - explicitly - on the Internet. In that case the labour of investigation was explcitly allotted to willing readers; volunteer investigators.
Now why do you suppose it was written this way? The Rathergate affair culminated in the resignation of Dan "fake but accurate" Rather, indeed coined the term "fake but accurate", a spectacular achievement for a horde of readers. The sideways derision of PowerLine for "doing little more than ask the question" is selfevident, how could Time give them weblog of the year indeed? Contrast this to the unnamed blogs on "the other side of the divide" who organised a witch hunt of a journalist because he was conservative and asked the wrong questions. Why aren't the blogs named or Jeff Gannon/James Guckert mentioned by name? Because someone might go look them up and find out that it was in fact a witchhunt that went after a conservative gay reporter who was pitching easy questions. Now it is funny he doesn't mention Dan Rather either, because then you'd be left wondering why CBS has had more scandals than the "non-existent" Talon. One might also wonder how an one reporter being a party shill is comparable to a respected nationwide anchorman actively touting a forged document prior to a general election, insisting that even if it is a forgery it is accurate and finally resigning in disgrace. In fact one might in the end discover that the hunting of Guckert was the result of these blogs on the other side of the divide trying desperately to find a story of the magnitude of Rathergate with which to strike back and this was the best they could find, a gay shill.

Even funnier if you listen to the speech as well as read the transcript you will find this omitted in print
My tertiary study career consists of one essay on the Merchant of Venice that I wrote without the benefit of having actually read the play.
It's hard to believe. Unless you read Hard News and realise pretty quickly that Russell doesn't read half the stuff he links to but rather seems to pull the appropriate quotes and links from other blogs.

It really does look like another blogger, with a bit more aptitude for reading before writing and respect for knowledge, was correct in using the phrase "sordid little hack" after handing Russell his arse on a plate. Ironically that was about the Plame affair which Guckert was at one time supposedly invovled in. Russ never knows when to quit.
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Posted by Chefen | 9/06/2005 10:50:00 pm

14 Comments:

Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Little Green Footballs published the comparisons between a Word document and the Rathergate memos. Again Brown is incorrect. Who takes this moron seriously again? Apparently some people at the National Library (of crap?).

9/07/2005 12:27:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

LGF has the nifty overlay piccie. PowerLine seems to be the "first" to question the whole thing. If PowerLine drives Russ bonkers then LGF must have him being rushed to A&E. What IS with that man and PowerLine anyway? I mean, what is his beef with them that he makes a dick of himself time and again about what they write?

9/07/2005 12:46:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I dunno. I don't think he even reads it - he just skims the biggest US lefty blogs which obviously dislike the Powerline guys and everything they've accomplished. And one of them even believes in God! Holy crap, must make Russ's face twitch. He had a go at Adolf once because of his religion. Then when I pointed out how wrong another post of his was on some US Christian group, he called me lame.

Well I think we all know who the el-lamo extraordinaire is.

9/07/2005 12:51:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

If he had just left it at the PowerLine example, rather than spinning it with a follow on about the whole Gannon witchhunt, he'd have sounded OK. Now he just sounds like a sour weasel prone to gay bashing. The omitted transcript excerpt is priceless, specially in the audio where it follows a selfdeprecating joke about being "an ignoramus" that falls flat on its face.

9/07/2005 01:01:00 am  
Anonymous Psycho Milt said...

Boy, you guys really have a thing about Russell Brown. I'm pushed to see any sniping at Powerline in there, and while it's hard to see what's great journalism about discovering that a White House accredited journalist peddles his arse on the internet, the other features of the case made it newsworthy. And it seems entirely plausible to me that he didn't mention Dan Rather because it would be entirely irrelevant to the point he was trying to make.

In fact, you seem to have missed the point he was trying to make. He's not discussing the two cases because they're deemed to be of comparable newsworthiness, he's discussing them because they both feature the active participation of the blog readership to break the story. Perhaps if Chefen were giving the speech he'd have stopped for a good long discourse on why Powerline is such a great blog and what a creep Dan Rather is and how awful it is that liberals would get a journalist hounded out of the White House just for falsifying his credentials, but that presumably is why NLNZ invited Russel Brown and not Chefen to speak.

Finally, that Mr Brown might have written an essay on the Merchant of Venice without reading it isn't hard to believe for anyone who's studied or taught English literature at University level...

9/07/2005 03:24:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

Psycho
You can view it that way if you like. As you say he mentioned the two cases to illustrate a point. However, that doesn't mean that we can look through it and notice the glaringly obvious in how he presented the two readerships or indeed that truly noteworthy business of Memogate was not a forged memo in and of itself but the person involved. Both cases were about the people involved, one a well respected anchorman and one a party hack who had his former lifestyle used as a weapon against him. Besides, if what you say was the case, why lead into it with "on the other side of the divide"? The forged memo stood on its own merits and is the premier example, who now recognises the name Guckert? Just noticing is all. Of course NLNZ will not invite me to give a talk, I have no pretensions to being a journalist or historian.

I don't think PowerLine is a great blog in fact. I don't often read it, just as Russell doesn't. He just seems to have a bug up his bum about them for some reason.

As for the Merchant of Venice, it was only noteworthy as it was edited out of the transcript midparagraph when it was the punchline to a joke. Does show how Russell operates though, it isn't the first time anyone has noticed he doesn't read what he comments on and presents as news.

Think of this more as an installment in an ongoing character study if you like. Tune in next week.

9/07/2005 03:49:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

PM, what are you talking about. Browns lack of factual accuracy is legendary.

In the Rathergate case the "legwork" was actually a couple of people, only one of whom was a blogger (LGF author Charles Johnson). LGF ran a rather simple and devastating comparison of the memos versus copies made up in Microsoft Word.

I did it myself. Its not hard. Once people (including reporters for other major media outlets) saw the comparisons, Rather was a goner.

In general it's not the readers who do most of the legwork - its the bloggers who invest time in the research and fact-checking reporters often seem to avoid (or cannot do because they aren't knowledgeable enough in a particular field). Readers provide tips of course, but its the bloggers (and editors of Internet media sites in general) who have to keep it all going.

The real story was how a blatantly leftist mainstream media outlet tried to alter the course of an election by participating in a smear campaign against a sitting President. And the right no longer had to rely on a biased TV and print media to give the issue coverage.

The 'Talon' business was a non-story. Some poor guy had creepy lefties publish his identity all over the web because he was gay. What a proud moment.

As usual Brown is making money out of sounding like he knows what he's talking about, when in fact hes full of crap. However he uses enough buzz words to make laypeople think he's knowledgeable. And in that speech he got to promo a Kos Kids fetish AND suggest Powerline is nothing more than its readers.

I'm surprised you've signed on to that PM.

9/07/2005 04:07:00 am  
Anonymous Psycho Milt said...

Don't be surprised, AL - one reason I like to come here and debate (for want of a much lesser and more trivial word) with you guys is that I'm at least as left-wing as RB is, and discussing things with people you totally agree with gets old pretty quick.

9/07/2005 04:46:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

Agree PM. I think one of the reasons Russell comes in for such a hard time occasionally is that it is impossible to do this with his posts. Still, that's how they run PA. It's better if people come and have a go, keeps one sharp.

9/07/2005 04:51:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Public Address has some good bloggers, e.g. Keith Ng and Graham Reid. It's a pity they're stuck using limited software.

9/07/2005 05:04:00 am  
Anonymous Psycho Milt said...

"It's better if people come and have a go, keeps one sharp."
Agreed! I've often wished they'd build commenting into PA, things would get very lively.

9/07/2005 05:53:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

No doubt they would. I've heard that they don't because of worries about policing the comments, which seems a bit strange. There is registered commenting and everything after all and most people behave most of the time. Still, their loss I guess.

9/07/2005 05:58:00 am  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Naaaah chefen. Narcisists don't like seeing criticism in their very own mirrors.

9/07/2005 06:55:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

Yeah well I didn't want to say it first. I mean, when Peter Metcalfe had Russell reeling on the ropes about Plame over at kiwiblog what did he do the next day (or was it the day after)? Put up a big post about the Plame affair completely disregarding anything Peter had brought up. Looks a lot like taking your toys and going home to me.

9/07/2005 07:10:00 am  

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