So I see splashed across the Drudgereport:
URGENT: NYTIMES AND ’60 MINUTES’ PLAN SUNDAY SPLASHES ON DRUG COMPANY MERCK AND ITS HANDLING OF EVIDENCE THAT VIOXX MIGHT POSE HEART RISKS… NYT STORY 6,000+ WORDS, LEAD OF PAGE ONES /// CBS PLANS TO SHOW ‘DOCUMENTS’… DEVELOPING..
Can you guess my first thoughts?
In the post Jayson Blair/Rathergate/missing-explosivesgate era, you’ll pardon me if I read that news somewhat incredulously.
How could I not? Like the boy who cried wolf, these two institutions have thrown away their credibility. We’re even warned by Drudge that CBS has ‘documents.’ Tangible evidence is no longer looked at as dispositive when provided by CBS but rather a reason for suspicion. And they have only themselves to blame.
The media love to lecture us barefooted peasants about their singular importance. That they and they alone have the charge to speak truth to power. The problem of course, is that first you need truth on your side. Compounding their problem is the fact that they not only made horrific mistakes, but more importantly, showed no remorse. In fact, they have attacked all who had the temerity to question their methods or motives.
And our nation is weaker for their arrogance. What should be a strong and viable Fourth Estate is flirting with irrelevance. How can we trust them to investigate another corrupt business when they themselves are poster-children for corruption? How can we trust them to act as a check on government when they so obviously have an agenda?
Traditionally a news story like this would make Merck’s stock nose-dive. I can’t help but wonder if the blow will be softened by the nature of the messenger. Traders are sure to have doubts about the credibility of the story. A reputation is a hard thing to get back when you just give it away.
And if you needed even more proof that these two institutions are dinosaurs, the blogosphere has been all over this story for months.