CBS fucks up in its sloppy hit piece on Dubya, and it's on the news for three months, providing fodder for all the enduring liberal media conspiracy theories, and leading to a blue ribbon investigation that ultimately led to yesterday's axing. Bush won, Rather lost, Howard Kurtz concludes.
Can't disagree with the conclusion, and yet... There are countless examples of media fuck-ups that end up favoring the right -- Judith Miller's neocon fantasies printed as fact in the NY Times, the pre-Iraq media war dance, the disgusting attention paid to the Swift Boat Liars, Whitewater -- end with no one led to the guillotine. Why?
It's really because liberals don't apply enough pressure. There's no left-wing echo-chamber, or if there is, there's no amplifying device like Fox News to take the crap to the real world, just Krugman and Herbert, who push lines for a couple of newscycles and then move on to something else. Maybe it's the nature of the liberal mindset that prevents the kind of rabid, single-minded doggedness you often find among conservatives. Wingers will grind you down by repeating the same inane lines over and over. Liberals, we say our piece, and once we're satisfied with that demonstration of our fairmindedness or intelligence or whatever liberal virtue we believe we own, we soon tire of the topic and move on to something else. Remember Abu Ghraib? If you read the liberal blogosphere, you'd barely know there's a trial going on.
It's trendy to finger "failure of framing" as the culprit of Democratic ills. I've beat that drum repeatedly here myself, and nodded along to George Lakoff's prescriptions like every other chastened Democrat. But I can't help but think that liberals are losing the war in the trenches because too many of us are not wired for close-quarter fighting, lacking the wherewithal, thick hide, and ruthlessness to take down the wingers.