Skip to comments.Embarrassing Coverage : What do John Mark Karr and Joseph Wilson have in common ?
Posted on 09/06/2006 6:49:35 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
Embarrassing Coverage Chum in the water sets off media feeding frenzy.
By Jonah Goldberg
Now is the time to ask: What do John Mark Karr and Joseph Wilson have in common? Wilson is no more a would-be pedophile than Karr is a former diplomat. But they are both attention-seeking liars who deliberately helped launch criminal investigations that should never have gone as far as they did. Moreover, they launched media feeding frenzies that wasted everybodys time.
Its this second point that interests me more than the first. Ever since it was reported that Karr wasnt the right guy, the media cable news networks in particular have been taking a beating by the professional fingerwaggers. The Washington Posts Howard Kurtz declared that the Karr episode instantly goes down with the greatest media embarrassments in modern history.
In fairness, the fingerwaggers have a point. A woman who flew on the same plane as Karr, for example, was interviewed as if she had survived the downing of the Titanic. The Karr family baby sitter was filmed in shadows for her interview, as if she were in witness protection for ratting out Vincent the Chin Gigante.
The problem is that the New York Times devoted in one of their articles ... 13 reporters to John Mark Karr. They dont have 13 reporters in Iraq. Thats the embarrassment, exclaimed media writer Neal Gabler on Fox News.
But when it comes to the Joseph Wilson story, the wagging fingers shudder to a full stop. Wilsons allegations were all outright lies or, at best, deceitful insinuations. At least when Karr lied, he put the blame on himself. In Wilsons telling, he could do no wrong even as he was a one-man sprinkler system of false accusations accusations that launched an absurd investigation, cost the vice presidents chief of staff his job, put a journalist in jail and threatened to do likewise to many more, and hurt Americas image around the globe.
As it turned out, Wilsons accusation that President Bush lied in his State of the Union speech about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium was debunked by the Senate Intelligence Committee. As was Wilsons repeated denial that his wife didnt help him get the Niger assignment. His suggestion that Dick Cheney sent him to Africa and that Cheney deliberately ignored Wilsons shoddy report was pure Wilsonian conjecture. And, of course, his self-lionizing speculation that the White House launched a vengeful campaign against his wife never had any basis in fact. Indeed, theres good reason to believe Wilson himself leaked the information that Plame was an undercover agent.
But that didnt stop the press from going hog wild. The New York Times led the clamor for an independent prosecutor (who, once appointed, put the Times own reporter, Judith Miller, in jail). And unlike the journalists who insisted that John Mark Karr was innocent until proven guilty, the Times mob of liberal pundits worked from the opposite assumption when it came to Karl Rove et al. Paul Krugman suggested Rove should be in a jail cell when he receives his medal for ruining America. Maureen Dowd insisted, The issue is the administrations credibility, not Joe Wilsons. And, of course, the left-wing blogs spewed bile about treason all day long.
Now, Im not saying the press shouldnt have investigated Wilsons allegations. Even if we now know he isnt a serious man, the charges surely were. But I dont think it was wrong for the press to cover Karr exhaustively (as opposed to excessively) either. The press has been in the true-crime business for centuries. The JonBenet Ramsey murder was a huge story, and a man with a reported record of interest in underage girls confessed to the crime in Bangkok a Mecca for perverts. The Karr story was unfolding in real time, and the news is supposed to cover, you know, news. Most important, unlike Wilson, Karr was in a position to know the truth of the matter.
Kurtz wrote this about the Karr story: Facts dont matter in frenzies; what matters is camera-ready speculation, where opposing lawyers and ex-prosecutors can argue on one talk show after another. Just replace lawyers and ex-prosecutors with spinners, pundits, and consultants, and the same holds true.
I dont know if the Wilson fraud will instantly go down with the greatest media embarrassments in modern history. However, the press doesnt seem to mind beating itself up when it overindulges the publics passions. When its own self-indulgence is the issue, theres never any need to feel embarrassed. Indeed, theres no need to say anything at all.
It looks like even John Mark Karr has Joe Wilson.
The Media feels shame? Don't bet on it. They are still laughing at Rove, Chaney and Libby when they should be chastising Wilson, Armitage, Powell and Schumer.
They both hate BUSH..............
I hope someone (maybe Ann Coulter) writes a book laying out this greatest media embarrassment in chapter and verse.
Clever and sick at the same time.
Jack(the-hack) Cafferty, CNN
They both took their undeserved 15 minutes of fame as far as our sorry media would let them.
They both hold views that are dangerous to the future health of American children? ;)
That quote came from Fox NewsWatch last Saturday -- I found it interesting that this show, whose purpose it is to follow the media, didn't mention the Joe Wilson, Richard Armitage story... I guess Neal Gabler hadn't yet received his Democrat talking-points so they had to defer (or perhaps delete) the topic.
When do the Wilson perjury charges and defamation suits get filed?
Filthy, lying leftist swine.
The MSM will stoop to any level, tell/repeat any lie, and fail to investigate any truth in order to push heir "Let's Hate Bush" agenda.
No he wasn't. He faced no charges in Thailand, and was only detained by Thai authorities when the Colorado investigators there asked them to. Given what those investigators told the Thai authorities re his outstanding warrant from California on child porn charges, the Thai government was prepared to simply deport him as an "undesirable". They detained him for a few days as a courtesy to the Colorado investigators, who needed to get their ducks in a row to have him delivered to them, rather than just stuck on a plane unaccompanied, and free to disappear upon landing at whatever airport was cheapest for the Thais to fly him to (since he had no trouble departing the US with an outstanding warrant, I doubt he would have had any trouble getting back in without being detained).
Interesting. That is NOT what I read back when this all started. Well, I hõpe his California charges work into something truly long term.
There were mentions in a few news reports in the first couple of days after the story broke that Karr was being held in Thailand "on unrelated sex charges" (with no additional detail). But subsequent news reports all said that the timing of the arrest had been at the behest of the Colorado investigators, and that the grounds for the arrest were US charges. A lot of stuff that was publicized in the first couple of days, as Thai officials admitted they weren't sure about some of the things they had reported Karr had said (re drugging JonBenet, picking her up from school, etc). It seems the Thai authorities are pretty loose-lipped, and that could well account for these early references that seemed to imply Thai sex charges.
A Reuters report on Aug. 17 (the story broke on Aug. 16) said he had been "detained in Bangkok on a U.S. warrant seeking his arrest for murder, kidnapping and sexual assault" http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1685494/posts .
By Aug. 19, Boulder DA Mary Lacy had spelled this out in a press conference:
"At a news conference Thursday, Lacy indicated that "exigent circumstances" forced the arrest of Karr to occur before she would have preferred. She did not disclose any of the evidence she has that could tie Karr to the crime. She added that an investigator from her office was dispatched to Bangkok on just a few hours' notice before Karr was picked up at Boulder's request."
Also on the 19th, a Thai publication gave details which made clear that Karr was being handled by immigration authorities (detained at an immigration bureau center, visa cancelled, etc.) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1686612/posts and makes no mention of any current or former charges for crimes allegedly committed in Thailand.
Frankly, the only place I ever saw any specific claim that Karr was facing criminal charges in Thailand was in FR posts, accompanied by speculation that fear of the Thai justice system was Karr's motivation for babbling about JonBenet and getting extradited.
Thanks for that.
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