Pent-up truth released

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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 06:36 am

Dan Rather sure was impressed by mainstream Katrina coverage:

“It’s been one of television news’ finest moments,” Rather said … He likened it to the coverage of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

“They were willing to speak truth to power,” Rather said.

Trouble was, they didn’t, as Mark Steyn pointed out:

The facts they put in front of us were wrong, and they didn’t talk truth to power. They talked to goofs in power, like New Orleans’ Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass, and uncritically fell for every nutso yarn they were peddled. The media swallowed more bilge than if they’d been lying down with their mouths open as the levee collapsed. Ten thousand dead! Widespread rape and murder! A 7-year-old gang-raped and then throat-slashed! It was great stuff—and none of it happened. No gang-raped 7-year-olds. None.

In the November Vanity Fair, noted hurricane enthusiast James Wolcott—my, how happy he must be these days!—joins in the praise (no link available):

In the week following Katrina’s marauding of the Gulf Coast, American journalism magically awakened, arose from its glass coffin, and roused itself to impromptu glory …

In contrast to the invasion of Iraq, the network reporters and anchors covering the chaos and misery in the foul floodwaters of Louisiana and Mississippi were unembedded—free to report what was unraveling before them without military or government muzzlers playing chaperone. For once they didn’t have to behave as if they had electronic bracelets beeping their every move. To hear Fox New’s Shepard Smith release an angry howl that hasn’t been heard since Allen Ginsberg went atomic, to see CNN’s courtly Anderson Cooper tell Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu to wake up and smell the corpses (she got the message, later threatening to punch President Bush if the feds kept bad-mouthing local officials), to witness the sobbing breakdown of Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard as he told Tim Russert on Meet the Press about the drowning death of an emergency worker’s elderly mother, who had waited four days for a rescue that never came—it was like removing a lid and and releasing the pent-up truth.

Well, it was like releasing the pent-up truth … except for the truth part. It’s revealing of Wolcott and Rather that inaccurate reporting so awes them.

Posted by Tim B. on 10/22/2005 at 12:36 PM
    1. “They were willing to speak truth to power,” Rather said.

      Some words and phrases make you automatically dismiss the people saying them. This is one of them.

      Posted by Dave S. on 10/22 at 01:01 PM • permalink


    1. Rather made a career of “made up sh*t”, so it’s not at all surprising he’d bring up his own glory of 1963—when he falsely and knowingly reported the story of Texas schoolchildren “cheering” the death of the President.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 10/22 at 01:44 PM • permalink


    1. “It’s revealing of Wolcott and Rather that inaccurate reporting so awes them.”

      Only in the sense that it’s revealing that the sun rises in the East.

      Posted by Barbara Skolaut on 10/22 at 02:09 PM • permalink


    1. Hmm. Maybe it would’ve been better as:

      knowingly reported the false story of…

      “Fake, but accurate” was Dan’s motto long before the 2004 election.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 10/22 at 02:19 PM • permalink


    1. Actually, the MSM’s performance was more like removing the lid from a tupperware box filled with tuna salad that had been in the trunk of a car for two weeks.

      Love the “glass coffin/sleeping beauty” analogy. One has visions of Dan Rather in the role of the Prince, creeping up to the coffin, puckering up his wrinkled, rubbery lips. That would have been enough to arouse ANYBODY from the dead.

      Posted by paco on 10/22 at 02:42 PM • permalink


    1. Paco, I don’t know if Dan’s wrinkled, rubbery lips would have arounsed me. It would certainly have frightened me to death ;-).

      Posted by Retread on 10/22 at 02:49 PM • permalink


    1. “Speaking truth to power” has become one of the best modern examples of Newspeak.  In practice it is “spouting opinions to a sympathetic audience.”

      In many of Dan Rather’s formulations, the word “truth” (or accurate) means “critical of Bush.”

      Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 10/22 at 02:56 PM • permalink


    1. Truth to power…How ‘progressive’.

      Posted by monkeyfan on 10/22 at 03:16 PM • permalink


    1. more like pent up intestinal pressure

      Posted by jlyoder on 10/22 at 03:54 PM • permalink


    1. I was a Texas schoolchild in 1963 (well, actually, high school).  I don’t remember cheering.  What I remember are the pale, red-eyed faces of the frightened teachers who sent us home early.

      My father, who hated JFK but acknowledged him as the President, only muttered, “He shouldn’t have come to Texas,” and didn’t say anything else for the rest of the day.

      Dan Rather, and James Wolcott, and all their kind, are soulless bastards who would sell their own mothers for a scoop, and never mind the facts.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 10/22 at 04:19 PM • permalink


    1. I don’t know about Wolcott, but Rather does not have to sink to selling his mom for a scoop.  He just makes one up.

      Posted by Becker on 10/22 at 05:17 PM • permalink


    1. Retread: I meant “arouse” as in “wake up”, not, er, in any other context.

      Posted by paco on 10/22 at 05:19 PM • permalink


    1. Dan Rather sure was impressed by mainstream Katrina coverage

      It’s just that the only real hurricane coverage occured before the storm hit land.

      After the damage was done, the only “coverage” was the finger pointing and blame (Bush) game!

      Posted by rinardman on 10/22 at 05:28 PM • permalink


    1. I’d Rather Rather Be Sailing.
      Somewhere in the Caribbean.

      Posted by blogstrop on 10/22 at 05:40 PM • permalink


    1. I broke the dam!
      You’ll need to go here to get that one.

      Posted by CB on 10/22 at 05:46 PM • permalink


    1. Amazing, right down to the bit about Broussard who, as it so happens, lied.  This nonsense has been out for awhile now, what’s Vanity Fair’s excuse?

      If James Wolcott didn’t exist, the right would have to invent him.

      Posted by Sortelli on 10/22 at 06:26 PM • permalink


    1. #12 paco


      Posted by madawaskan on 10/22 at 07:07 PM • permalink


    1. Comment #5

      Was the pent-up truth.

      Living with the monks can be hell but are you soooo frustrated that you are contemplating-

      Kissing Dan!

      For the love of all that is holy-take a shower and go look at your favorite Sports Illustrated issue.

      Posted by madawaskan on 10/22 at 07:13 PM • permalink


    1. Great idea, Mad, but the monastery only has copies of Baseball News (and only up to 1949, at that).

      Posted by paco on 10/22 at 09:20 PM • permalink


    1. Assistant Village Idiot:

      “Speaking truth to power” has become one of the best modern examples of Newspeak.  In practice it is “spouting opinions to a sympathetic audience.”

      In many of Dan Rather’s formulations, the word “truth” (or accurate) means “critical of Bush.”

      Reminds me of an Indiana Jones quote:

      “Archaeology is the search for fact… not truth. If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.”

      Posted by Andjam on 10/22 at 10:21 PM • permalink


    1. Funny, I don’t remember Rather speaking “truth to power” when he interviewed Saddam in 2002.

      Posted by wronwright on 10/22 at 10:57 PM • permalink


    1. Wrong way around. In Rather’s mind, that was probably Saddam speaking truth to the powerful Dan Rather.

      Posted by PW on 10/23 at 12:36 AM • permalink


    1. Ah, Dan Rather, a shining example of life after death.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 10/23 at 02:54 AM • permalink


    1. This would be the “speaking truth to power” that doesnt include telling multi millionare actors to put up or shut up.

      I much prefer speaking swahili to frenchmen.
      Makes as much sense as the other vacuous statement.

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 10/23 at 06:29 AM • permalink


    1. I broke the Dan!

      Posted by Paul Zrimsek on 10/23 at 12:31 PM • permalink


  1. I want more Gunga Dan in his military reporter’s gear.  It was so much like a 70-year-old hooker pretending to be a Catholic school girl.

    Posted by JorgXMcKie on 10/23 at 09:09 PM • permalink