May 14, 2005

This Weekend’s Unanswered Questions (TWUQs for 051405)

Another installment in a nearly-regular series of mysteries and pseudo-mysteries this inquiring mind would like to have answers for (many of the links included require free registration):

  • What is it with the antagonism towards blogs among the relatively few conservatives in the Mainstream Media? Two examples:

    - A nonpartisan blogger reports that Eason Jordan of CNN, witin the (he thought) safe confines of the World Economic Forum, has accused US troops of targeting journalists. Jordan doesn’t really back down when challenged, refuses to apologize, and his employer refuses to arrange for a release of a video of his speech. The blogosphere uncovers examples from previous speeches and columns that show that Jordan’s remarks and actions (including an incredible willingness to act as Saddam’s shill) are no aberration. Jordan resigns. The Wall Street Journal(!) whines that CNN was “stampeded by this Internet and talk-show crew” and about “the enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs.” Memo to WSJ–all CNN had to do was get the video, release it, and let the world decide. They wouldn’t, and Jordan was gone. What else do we need to know? And are you trying to pretend that the clearly deluded mindset of a high-ranking executive who works for a supposedly objective news organization isn’t relevant?

    - Just this week, veteran conservative columnist Cal Thomas proves that he so, doesn’t, get it:

    “With blogs, we do not know if what we read is true. For most blogs, no editor checks for factual errors and no one is restrained from editorializing. The Big Media sometime are guilty of these same shortcomings, but at least with them there is a presumption in favor of accuracy and fairness, plus there’s a way to shame them and occasionally force a correction if they mess up. Blogs have no checks and balances.”

    This is the same “guys in pajamas” garbage (note that the link is to a Wall Street Journal columnist!) that we heard during the Rather-National Guard flap. Who was on the story, Cal? While you acknowledge the “important role” of the blogosphere in that controversy, you won’t acknowledge that the blogosphere did ALL the down-and-dirty digging that the NY Times, Washington Post, and LA Times refused to do, and then attempted to ignore. In fact, these publications were nearly co-conspirators in the initial attempts to promote the Bush-Guard lies. And Cal, as with Jordan, as with the Swift Boat Vets, as with Trent Lott, who ended up being first with the information, and right?

    UPDATE: Trey Jackson has Fox News video where Thomas, in discussing the recent plethora of plagiarism and ethics charges against journalists, notes that “blogs are causing a lot of journalists to be far more accountable than they have ever have had to be before” (though he does think there is some overreaction). Not bad for a bunch of people with “no checks and balances,” eh?

  • Speaking of no checks and balances–Where were the adults when Wal-Mart ballot-initiative backers ran an ad equating supporters of a Flagstaff, Arizona ballot proposal that would restrict the company from expanding a local store to include a grocery to Nazis? It appears that the ad was placed by an advocacy group largely funded by the company but (supposedly) not managed by it, and that the company wasn’t aware of the picture that would accompany the ad. But rather than disavow the ad (picture that can be enlarged as a PDF is here) when they first learned of it, the company went into a “we don’t get directly involved with grass-roots campaigns” mode. This posture is of course helping their Flagstaff opponents immensely. I get the feeling that the folks at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas have developed a sense of entitlement to do whatever they want, whenever and wherever they feel like doing it. They seem to be long on bullying and short on common sense at Wal-Mart these days, which in my opinion is in marked contrast to how legendary founder Sam Walton ran it when he was alive. I believe the company is beginning to pay a price for its arrogance.
  • Why is Clarence Stowers not in jail? Stowers is the North Carolina subhuman who found a severed fingertip in a pint of frozen custard, hung onto it for days as potential lawsuit evidence, and then made a belated offer to return it to the unfortunate man who lost it in a mixing machine accident. By then it was way too late for any attempts at reattachment to work. Surely the DA in the area can find a crime that fits this horrid deed. Theft, anyone? Criminal negligence?