10/14/2005

Daily Kos: Kabuki Journalism: What Chris Matthews Knows

Did I mention I'm a fan of Hunter's writings ? Only 10 times today, i guess... -- law

Pardon my bluntness, O heroes of journalism, O pundits who are constantly droning on about the importance of blogger ethics and journalistic integrity, but give us a.. cow-tipping break... you are an integral part of your own story... And you'd better figure out how to deal with it. Because two years after the Plame leak, your integrity is shot.


Kabuki Journalism: What Chris Matthews Knows
by Hunter

The Plame case isn't just a story about potential espionage in the White House. It isn't just about the hamfisted protections of the flimsy pretexts, and some would say outright fabrications, used to "sell" the Iraq War to a skeptical public. And it isn't just about the crass nature in which the politics of personal destruction is used by political strategists, and worshipped by media pundits.

A large -- very large -- part of the Plamegate story is the role of the media not as investigators or defenders of the public interest, but as self-appointed and self-interested filters of what they deem the public should or should not know. Plamegate, for them, is an inside game.

Chris Matthews, in particular, has a direct tie to the Plame case. One that, curiously enough, none of the Hardball shows this week has managed to touch on -- in spite of the fact that Matthews has personal evidence directly pertaining to the very questions his show is ostensibly asking. Evidence that, in fact, a number of Matthew's guests apparently share between them.

Pardon my bluntness, O heroes of journalism, O pundits who are constantly droning on about the importance of blogger ethics and journalistic integrity, but give us a eyebrow-raising, eye-rolling, burger-flipping, cow-tipping break. In a case where political figures took multiple concrete actions to push the identity of a CIA NOC operative into public view, using your resources to do it, you are an integral part of your own story.

And you'd better figure out how to deal with it. Because two years after the Plame leak, your integrity is shot. You're being openly mocked as airheaded, self-absorbed journalistic frauds. You're being roundly denounced as willing accomplices to a crime -- willing to cover up evidence of the scope and intent of the actions of your sources, in exchange for future access to the same deals and actions.

And you deserve to be. Because, quite frankly, the shoe fits.


What is particularly galling about the so-called Hardball coverage is that it purports to ask questions to which the journalists in question have hard evidence of the answers. From this Tuesday's Hardball, a truly bizarre piece of Kabuki journalism:

MATTHEWS: Mike Isikoff is an investigative correspondent with "Newsweek" magazine. Andrea Mitchell is chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News and author of the booming book "Talking Back to Presidents, Dictators and Assorted Scoundrels." And Jim Warren is deputy managing editor of "The Chicago Tribune."

Let me go to Mike Isikoff. You've been owning this story for years now. After two years of investigation, what do we really know that might incriminate the people around the president?

Good freakin' question, Matthews. I mean, you've really hit it on the head with that one. If only there was someone or someone(s) on your show who directly talked to people around the president about Joseph Wilson's wife, and why her identity was suddenly important, and could clue us in on that information!

But in large part, these Hardball stories have existed largely so that Matthews could play the part of his own Greek chorus, postulating theories of the case while feigning innocence at the evidence that he, as an arguable 'journalist', deems it unproductive to report on himself.

Daily Kos: Kabuki Journalism: What Chris Matthews Knows

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