Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Journalistic Standards

What can be said of the journalistic standards at Newsweek? It was just 6-1/2 years ago that Michael Isikoff had a story -- one that he worked hard to source -- spiked by the editors of Newsweek; many credit Matt Drudge for helping break the story of Monica Lewiniski, and forcing the hand of those same editors.

Mr. Isikoff was no stranger to such conflicts; years earlier he built the story of Paula Jones, and the Washington Post refused to run it.

So now we're in 2005; this time, Mr. Isikoff is reported to have submitted his resignation to Newsweek, due to the scandal that came from his poorly sourced story of 'Koran flushing'. I will give Mr. Isikoff credit in this: if it is true he tendered his resignation, at least a portion of his journalistic standards remain.

Mr. Isikoff's resignation was turned down and considering his skills and experience, it is not a surprise, although his reputation is surely tarnished. I won't fault Newsweek for not accepting his resignation, but rather for their assumption that the military was wrong. Clearly their journalistic standards are tainted, evidentally once again in a liberal bias.

Rich Lowery of National Review Online made the following point:

During the fallout from last year's CBS forged-documents flap, shrewd Newsweek political writer Howard Fineman said: "A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don't mean the Democrats. I'm talking about the 'mainstream media.'" He argued that the media had been identified with a crusading liberalism since Watergate and Vietnam, but their power was waning in the new political and information environment: "It's hard to know who, if anyone, in the 'media' has any credibility."

It's only getting harder. Back in November 2003, Newsweek complained in a cover story that Vice President Dick Cheney "bought into shady assumptions" leading into the Iraq war, partly because of his "dire view of the terrorist threat." In its Koran story, Newsweek itself bought into shady assumptions, partly because of the media's dire view of the U.S. military. And so the media party continues its decline.
It is stories like this, and the criticism that the White House was 'too slow to deny the story' -- as if it is the Administration's fault Newsweek ran the story -- which only leads me to reitierate how the mainstream media has lost much of its credibility in my eyes.

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