Media Matters For America is out to lynch another journalist (they started the Jeff Gannon witch hunt) who dares to be conservative.
While reporting on the 2004 presidential campaign for The Boston Globe, technology reporter Hiawatha Bray apparently wrote posts for several weblogs in which he declared his support for President Bush, attacked Sen. John Kerry, and bolstered discredited allegations by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth).
Lets play a game. How many lies are in that paragraph?
If you answered “2,” you’re correct.
We won’t get into the “discredited allegations” of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a claim which Media Matters has been repeating since Unfit For Command was first published. MMFA hoped that by preemptively calling the SwiftVets “discredited” they would sink their story without actually engaging on the issues. That strategy that didn’t work, but Media Matters continues to stick to that game plan.
The line “apparently wrote posts for several weblogs” is as dishonest as you can get given the content of the actual MMFA article linked. First the Media Matters hacks link to 3 actual Boston Globe stories they don’t like, proving… well nothing. Next they link to comments at two blogs (Dan Gillmor’s e-Journal and A Small Victory) that were made using Bray’s name. MMFA can’t prove that the comments were actually written by Bray, but that hardly matters to them. Evidentially they prefer their journalists to be automatronically liberal and never, ever engage in a discussion.
As much as I value the Wizbang comment community, neither I nor they would claim that they are “writing posts” for Wizbang – that is my job (and Jay Tea’s and Paul’s). The hundreds of regular commenters and thousands of infrequent commenters are doing just that… commenting. Discussions break out; people address each other; stories are debated; etc. In the case of Bray’s comments the only two people who write posts for the “several” blogs (which is MMFA speak for 2) are Dan Gillmor and Michele Catalano, respectively.
Another telling omission from MMFA is that Dan Gillmor’s was, at the time, a technology reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. Mr. Gillmor made no bones about his dislike of the President and support of Kerry. One of the Gillmor posts Bray commented on is actually about the Bush Texas Air National Guard. There was no cry from the right side of the blogosphere to demand that Gillmor be fired form his job for posting about politics, nor should there have been.
To their credit the Boston Globe handled the Bray issue in house, essentially ending the dispute by getting Bray to stop commenting on politics at blogs.
Update: Jeff Jarvis asks:
The other danger is that if you go after Bray for his anti-Kerry opinions, do you have to go after other journalists for their anti-Bush opinions? By this logic, shouldn’t MediaMatters also be going after Frank Rich because, after all, he’s letting political opinions seep — no, flood — into the arts section? Of course, not.
Of course that would go against everything Media Matters stands for. Only conservatives or perceive conservative sympathizers are subject to their attention.
There’s another situation involving a Boston Globe employee and a blog owned by the Globe where the line between journalist and blogger is even more blurred. In that case, unlike the Bray case, the employee is the blogger.
Steve Silva’s popular Red Sox fan blog, BostonDirtDogs.com, is owned by Boston.com which is the internet home of the Boston Globe, both of which are owned by The New York Times Company.
Silva. who is a member of the staff of the Globes sports section, published an exclusive story on the weblog that stated that Nomar Garciaparra didn’t really care if he got a World Series ring from the Red Sox. The problem was that the story was a hoax. Neither BostonDirtDogs nor the Globe seem to think that they should be required to retract or correct the story, because “it’s just a blog.” Boston Sports Media Watch broke the story of the hoax, and wonders if journalistic standards apply to a blog owned by a newspaper conglomerate.