Dan Rather, the Unelected Check and Balance

By kowalski Posted in Comments (3) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Dan Rather, the unelected spokesperson for the imaginary branch of government known as the Press (the members of which do not want to ever be subpoenaed -- no matter what) has defined for all of us what he thinks his role is:

"We've brought it on ourselves," he added, "partly because we've lost the sense that (the) patriotic journalist will be on his or her feet asking the tough questions. My role as a member of the press is to be sometimes a check and balance on power."

Nevermind the fact that journalists see themselves as being above the law. Nevermind the fact that all of the major news outlets in this country, at this very moment in fact, have been relentlessly critical of the administration but also scurrilous and malevolent. Nevermind that both Richard "Let This Leak Go" Cohen and David "A Flood of Silliness" Broder of the Washington Post as much as called the Valerie Plame kerfuffle an example of a mindless prosecution of a nonexistant crime and said that everyone in Journalism owes Karl Rove an apology for being well-paid conspiracy theorists chasing a ginned-up charade. And nevermind that not a single journalist in this country is an elected individual -- they are therefore unaccountable to the public no matter what harm they do.

Where is the apology, Dan? Is it in the mail along with the check?

Nevertheless, Dan Rather is sticking to his guns, [H/T: Drudge] because Jane Hamsher is asking the questions.

I don't feel sorry for Dan Rather, but I do think that he represents the worst of what Journalism has had to offer in the past three decades. It seems that all the retired '60s bigwigs have gotten together to become mawkish and maudlin in their final days. Dan isn't as articulate as Bill Moyers, but he says basically the same things. He's fake but accurate, I guess. [Update: I misspoke. Moyers isn't just mawkish and maudlin. He's also messianic, moody, meretricious, moribund and malcontented. He's Dan Rather with a functional oxygen tank.]

I hasten to note that if any FOX News anchor described themselves as a "check and balance" to a Democrat administration, Howard Dean would be calling for the FCC to take them off the air (oh, he's already done that).

Rather is correct in one sense, that they've "brought it on themselves" -- because advocacy journalism, the journalism of "competing narratives" and "imputed motives" has infected their profession completely. At the best it's harmless advocacy, but more often it's partisan propaganda. And they have willfully brought it on themselves. Jane Hamsher is one of the most determined and profligate examples -- her main claim to fame is being the producer of "Natural Born Killers" and being a Hollywood darling. Dan reminds me a little of another movie starring Juliette Lewis -- "Cape Fear". The final scene, where Max Cady is being dragged beneath the waves, thrashing, drowning in the apocalypse he's created, and speaking in tongues.

Update: I think it's fair to speculate that since Jane Hamsher is conducting this interview with Rather after having been mentioned in the New York Times while holing up in a Washington apartment to cover the Libby trial that Rather believes she's the next wave in journalism, and so does the Times. That's quite a partisan endorsement.

The perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr., former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, has drawn every major news organization in the country to the federal courthouse in Washington. But none has fielded a bigger team — or was more openly crushed by the defense decision this week not to put Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby on the stand — than Firedoglake.com.

Behold the future of "credible journalism" in America, according to Dan Rather.

Cross Posted @ The Minority Report

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