Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Well-Spun Tale

On the drive in to work this morning, I heard a radio report that Bush has identified Appeals court judge Michael Chertoff as his nominee to replace Tom Ridge as Homeland Security Director. The report went on to note that the original nominee, Bernard Kerik withdrew from consideration because of problems arising out of payments to a nanny. And that was it. That was the story. No mention of conflicts-of-interest, mob connections, his poor performance both as a NYC poice commissioner or as a Bush flunkie assigned to set up a police force in Iraq (a job he bailed on in just a couple of months, without accomplishing anything).

I could almost forgive the radio station for this. It’s a music station and this was its ten-second bit during a two-minute news break. For Yahoo, though,working off an AP report, there is no excuse. They don't really have the time or space constraints of an oldies radio station. It's fine to report the "official" reason for a nominee to withdraw, but isn't there some responsiblity to the readers or listeners, of both Yahoo and AP, to then report the whole story, or at least what's known of it? The last I heard, it hadn’t even been verified that there was a nanny.

In the world of political spin, the words of Nathan Bedford Forrest apply; get there firstest with the mostest. Doesn’t even have to be true; anything that follows gets things too complicated, too nuanced, for the press to handle.
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