Skip to comments.CBS BLASTS THE BLOGS
Posted on 11/13/2004 6:26:15 PM PST by CHARLITE
As amazing as it might seem, a retired correspondent for CBS News recently wrote an op-ed for his previous employer wherein he suggested that the worst news coverage of an election in history was likely performed by Americas bloggers this past November 2.
''As a retired mainstream media ('MSM') journalist--and thus a double-dinosaur--I dont begrudge these knights of the blog-table their grandiose dreams. But I worked on a school paper when I was a kid and I owned a CB radio when I lived in Texas. And what I saw in the blogosphere on Nov. 2 was more reminiscent of that school paper or a ''Breaker, breaker 19'' gabfest on CB than anything approaching journalism.''
Now, before delving any further into this ranting, you might be interested in knowing who the source of this drivel is. For those who have forgotten, Eric Engberg is the former CBS News correspondent at the heart of Bernard Goldbergs op-ed in the Wall Street Journal back in 1996 that eventually led to Mr. Goldberg leaving CBS and, subsequently, writing the book, ''Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.''
To refresh everybodys memory, in February of 1996, Mr. Engberg was interviewing Steve Forbes on a CBS Evening News segment called, ''Reality Check.'' Mr. Forbes at the time was running for president, and advocating a flat tax. In an apparent effort to discredit Mr. Forbes, Mr. Engberg used extraordinarily inflammatory words like ''wacky,'' ''scheme,'' and ''elixir'' to describe the candidates fiscal plan. Additionally, Mr. Engberg had cut-ins of three different liberal economists opinions of this tax proposal without the balance of a conservative viewpoint while-- apparently counter to the edicts of his bosses--never identifying their political leanings.
Mr. Goldberg was so angered by what he perceived to be intentional distortions in this ''hatchet job'' that he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal a few days later wherein he specifically used this incident as evidence of a liberal bias at CBS News:
Which brings us to a recent ''Reality Check'' on the CBS Evening News, reported by Eric Engberg, a longtime friend. His subject was Steve Forbes's flat tax. It's not just Democrats and some Republican presidential candidates who don't like the flat tax--it's also a lot of big-time reporters. The flat tax rubs them the wrong way. Which is fair enough--until their bias makes its way into their reporting. And Mr. Engberg's report set new standards for bias.
This was certainly not the first time that Engberg was accused of bias in his reporting. In fact, the Media Research Center lists Engberg as being part of The Starting Line-up of the Pro-Clinton Press Corps. They actually have a whole page at their website dedicated to some of his most scandalous reports during that era. There is also a similar appraisal of his apparent biases dating back some years previous outlined in a MediaWatch column from 1989 that refers to Mr. Engberg as ''The Spin Doctor of CBS.'' In this piece, all of Engbergs reports from July 1, 1988 through June 30, 1989 were scrutinized producing some rather shocking findings.
Given this history of ignominy, we shouldnt be at all surprised that a few years off to play golf and save money at early-bird specials has in no ascertainable fashion altered Mr. Engbergs modus operandi. Hence, after presenting a rather scathing account, and--imagine this--biased view of what transpired at the blogs on election night, Engberg offers the following conclusion: ''One of the verdicts rendered by election night 2004 is that, given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility, the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on.''
Im sure that all of the bloggers in America will be thrilled to know that they are being likened to fleas, mites, and ticks. However, the first issue at hand is the fact that it wasnt the blogs that got this story wrong. Quite the contrary, they merely disseminated information that was being reported by Drudge, Slate, and, potentially most important, John Zogby. After all, this is an extraordinarily well-regarded pollster who accurately predicted Al Gore receiving more popular votes in 2000 than George W. Bush. As Zogby had been reporting from 2 pm EST on Election Day that there were some huge surprises brewing in states like Virginia, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, all the blogs were doing was addressing the opinion of one of the most respected pollsters in the nation. Ditto their announcing his 5 pm prognostication of Kerry winning the election.
However, potentially one of the differences between how the blogs reported this information versus the way the MSM did in 2000 is that the bloggers at least made their readers aware that the numbers seemed rather suspicious. I dont recall this emanating from the MSM during the 2000 election when they called Florida for Al Gore almost exclusively as a result of exit polling information that had been supplied to them by the VNS.
In fact, suspicions regarding the accuracy of these early exit polls were conspicuous at both the liberal and conservative blogs that I was feverishly switching back and forth between. For instance, at National Review Onlines blog, folks like Kate OBeirne and Jonah Goldberg were checking in and sharing their incites from data collected prior to the election as well as from 2000 to illustrate how questionable these numbers appeared to be. Furthermore, Drudge reported that the first wave of exit polls might be unreliable, as they had been weighted as 59% women, and 41% men. As such, in my view, the bloggers didnt get anything wrong.
What Mr. Engberg is also conveniently missing is that the bloggers have no similar responsibility or moral requirement for accuracy as the MSM. A web log is inherently somebodys opinion. I would fervently suggest that the overwhelming majority--a number likely approaching 99%--of the Internet surfers understand this fact significantly more than the gullible masses that on a daily basis turn on any of the news hours presented by the MSM. In fact, it is indeed the MSM that has such a responsibility to be accurate for exactly this reason--the public blindly accepts everything they report as the gospel truth. By contrast, the folks who visit blogs are quite aware of the editorial nature that is inherent in this medium, and, as a result, take much of what they read with a grain of salt.
Moreover, it is organizations that are part of the MSM who have been continually betraying the publics trust in this regard, not the bloggers. In fact, even John Zogby had the decency to come out and apologize for his poor call on November 2. By contrast, many Americans stopped holding their breath just in time to avoid asphyxia waiting for CBS to be so graceful.
Of course, it is quite fitting that Mr. Engberg refers to himself in the midst of this prattle as a ''dinosaur.'' Now, to a certain extent, this almost rises to the level of braggadocio inasmuch as when the dinosaurs died off, at least they continued to be useful by becoming fossil fuel. By contrast, it appears that not only didnt Engberg ever have any value to the population when he was a news correspondent, but his retirement has in no way improved his standing in this regard. As such, his perceptions concerning the future of the news industry are likely as worthless as most of his reporting throughout his undistinguished career.
Consequently, regardless of the protestations of this Stegosaurus--a dinosaur noted for its lack of intellect due to its walnut-sized brain--the MSM in its current form is indeed moving towards extinction. More and more, America wants its news raw, unfiltered, and unadulterated the moment its happening, not up to 24 hours after the fact neatly packaged and presented by correspondents who are hired more for their attractiveness than their grasp of the information they are disseminating. Beyond which, people who actually wait until 6:00 each evening to find out what transpired in the world since 6:00 the previous evening is probably just as close to extinction as the news divisions they hold in such high esteem.
In the end, irrespective of its lack of merit, one still has to love the delicious irony inherent in somebody associated with CBS News having the gall to chastise anybody about a lack of integrity in presenting information to the public--especially someone like this who has been the catalyst for multiple op-eds and a rather defamatory book written partially about him by a former colleague. It makes one wonder how many of Mr. Engbergs fellow Stegosauruses are going to be required to facilitate the removal of his dorsal phalanges from his toothless beak.
About the Writer: Noel Sheppard is a business owner, economist, and writer residing in Northern California. Noel receives e-mail at email@example.com
cull the writter out and freep his personal life and post it for every one.... keep doing this ....
Sour grapes, $crew you CBS.
Got that guys? You people have no moral obligation to tell the truth! Only institutions do, like MSM and government.
One t will be just fine.
To THEM is this absolute truth. It is them coming to the realization that they no longer have a monopoly on information and now they must go through the five steps of grief. Most of them are stuck in denial and anger.
But those writter critters must be exposed
We dispel one more error in our detractors mantra. That is, we have no editors.
But we're fleas, mites, and ticks in pajamas!
What Mr. Engberg is also conveniently missing is that the bloggers have no similar responsibility or moral requirement for accuracy as the MSM. A web log is inherently somebodys opinion. I would fervently suggest that the overwhelming majority--a number likely approaching 99%--of the Internet surfers understand this fact significantly more than the gullible masses that on a daily basis turn on any of the news hours presented by the MSM. In fact, it is indeed the MSM that has such a responsibility to be accurate for exactly this reason--the public blindly accepts everything they report as the gospel truth. By contrast, the folks who visit blogs are quite aware of the editorial nature that is inherent in this medium, and, as a result, take much of what they read with a grain of salt. <
Wow, this guy gets it.
That's where I stopped reading.
The old MSM is dying. It was a self inflicted wound. Good riddance.
Another good line would have been: "Engberg should be controlled by the EPA for the gaseous emissions coming from his mouth!
Everybody needs to realize the ongoing plan is to prove the internet/bloggers are not a credible source for information.
This is being done for Hillary's benefit. She must be able to control the media flow when she runs for president. Without that, she will be exposed for who she really is and that will doom her candidacy.
The first attempt to do this was the recent blogs with all the election conspiracy theories. These blogs caused ABC and others to start questioning the election itself (or that was their excuse). Then .. when the theories started being debunked - IT WAS THOSE IDIOT BLOGGERS WHO DID THIS.
My theory is that these bloggers were only in business as a vehicle to launch the conspiracy theories (meaning they were liberal bloggers) .. which then allowed the rest of the liberal, complicit media to follow through with exultations of disgust for the non-credible information from the internet.
Interesting huh ..??
Mr Shepard writes a good read. He slammed the fingers of the MSM in the door pretty hard.
They are not going to stop the bloggers. Intelligent people will always look for alternate sources of news..now that there is some. I am SICK of being spoon feed by these Neanderthals and I won't take it anymore! Now that's progressive for ya.
I'm betting that they will stay at "denial and anger" -- right up to the day they have to give up their license because they no longer have enough viewers to attract any revenue.
Make that "Mitey ticked off Fleehadeen!":)
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