That said, highlighting Rathergate as the issue on which the award turned is a kind of sleight of hand by the Old Media. The award could just as easily have gone to Glenn Reynolds for his outstanding work on the SwiftBoatVets story, serving as a clearinghouse for research on their charges, from Christmas in Cambodia to the Sampan Incident, from the Magic Hat to VC the Wonder Dog, and so many more — here’s the list. Reynolds even did original research, including producing the picture below from the Congressional Record of 1986. Moreover, Instapundit was averaging over 3 million visits per week at that time, making it far and away the most popular blog. But recognizing Instapundit would have entailed the Old Media’s covering a story they, to this day, do not want to touch.
Thus, instead of giving Instapundit the credit it deserves, TIME lumps the highly respected and influential site with fake-lesbian blogs and others and has this to say:
So your blog hasn’t succeeded in getting national attention for your pet issue? Don’t lose heart. Just blog, link and repeat. It worked for conservative bloggers like Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, who trumpeted the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s claims this summer, as well as for liberal blogs like Daily Kos, which investigated evidence that President Bush wore a wire in his first debate. Some of the issues had questionable merit, but persistent bloggers made the subjects tough to ignore. Say it enough times online, and someone is bound to hear you.
Evidently not TIME Magazine, however, which not only ignores Instapundit, but Hugh Hewitt, Tom McGuire, Ed Morrissey, Bill Dyer, and the many others who made serious and substantive contributions to the SwiftBoatVets story.
The still-unreported major story of 2004 is a tell-all by someone in the Old Media on the degree of their complicity and coordination with the Kerry Campaign. Bruce Kesler of the SwiftBoatVets reminds us of some of the facts (hat tip, Powerline, of course):
Early in the year a friend with access to the Kerry campaign warned me it was digging for any kind of dirt to destroy us. Contrary to the liberal media’s story that we surprised Kerry in August, he thought the mainstream media could succeed in ignoring and stifling the Swift Boat veterans, and he had long planned a new smear campaign against us.
The surprise to the Kerry camp and liberal press was that the new media did break through and that Vietnam veterans could not be intimidated. In August, as reported by Newsweek, Kerry operatives fed negative documents and talking points to the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe. Subsequent articles in those newspapers reflected negatively on the Swiftees.
With only one halting exception, the mainstream media refused to investigate the sworn affidavits of 60 credible witnesses to Kerry’s behavior, or to follow up on the abundance of additional information given them. The New York Times repeatedly used “unsubstantiated” as its adjective describing the Swift Boat veterans’ allegations without ever exerting its considerable power to investigate. Kerry wasn’t pressured by the mainstream media to reveal his full military records to resolve issues, nor questioned as to what he was hiding. The mainstream media’s zeal in chasing down every scrap of trivia about Bush’s service stands in sharp contrast.
Guys like reporter-biographer Michael Kranish of the Globe, who penned the first, inaccurate hit piece on the SwiftBoatVets in August, have a lot to answer for, as do institutions like the New York Times (though maybe its eye-popping 22% decline in circulation is punishment enough). More to the point: TIME Magazine itself published a pre-emptive hit piece by Doug Brinkley on Kerry shipmate Steve Gardner on March 9, 2004. When Unfit for Command debuted in August, TIME joined the other Old Media outlets in silence, its few stories appearing only after Kerry went public. In late August TIME published its only piece addressing the SwiftBoatVets’ charges directly, an impenitrible, pro-Kerry list of “charges” and “evidence” which, of course, mentioned Christmas in Cambodia last, and confusingly. Elsewhere, in its insider report on the Kerry campaign, TIME referred to the SwiftBoatVets’ “phony charges.” In all, TIME had no more than half a dozen pieces that even mentioned the SwiftBoatVets prior to the election, and that included anti-Swiftee columns by Joe Klein. Hence, TIME’s reporters must have breathed easier at the thought of mocking CBS’s lack of professionalism rather than their own.
There’s plenty of money to be made in a tell-all of the sort we are suggesting, and, with the Old Media monopoly in tatters, there’s the slight chance some member of the Gang of 500 will trade in some dinner party invitations for a house on Nantucket. Let’s hope so; it would be a terrific book.