Before a final farewell to Sarah, a comment about mainstream media hypocrisy, dishonesty and pretentiousness
…while the real stories unfold outside their cloistered havens
There’s a guy named Howie Kurtz who spent a long time at the Washington Post sucking up to people in power.
That eventually got him on TV.
Howie subsequently left the Washington Post and went to the online site, Daily Beast.
But he kept his CNN Sunday morning gig.
On Sunday, Sept. 18, Howie hosted a panel of people who had not read THE ROGUE, but who felt entitled to comment on it anyway.
Most egregious was Steven Roberts, (husband of MSM/NPR doyenne Cokie Roberts,) who used to work for the New York Times, but who now finds himself teaching “journalism and media ethics” at George Washington University. For which fate I pity him.
Roberts felt entitled to say, “I would give Joe McGinniss a failing grade for ethics in my class from that book…I think the McGinniss book is a heap of trash from everything I’ve read about it.”
Question: Steve, what grade would you give yourself for commenting on–indeed trashing–a book you hadn’t read? Do you let your students at GWU turn in critiques of works they haven’t read? Do you grade their papers without reading them?
Michelle Cottle of Newsweek had the good grace and common sense not to denounce a book she hadn’t read yet. Nor to denounce its author. Thank you, Michelle. You behaved as a professional journalist should.
The third panelist, Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review–a magazine that has been gushing over Sarah Palin ever since its editor, Rich Lowry, became infatuated upon meeting her in Juneau in 2007–said, “I think McGinniss is coasting on his reputation.”
Question: Ramesh, what’s your basis for saying that when you haven’t even read The Rogue?
But I should be grateful to Ponnuru.
At least he acknowledged that I have a reputation.
Our friend Howie jumped all over him for giving me even that much credit for the twelve books I’ve published over 42 years.
Howie: “But that reputation in itself is controversial. He’s been accused of plagiarism, he was sued by the subject of one of his stories for deception. It was an out of court settlement.”
Question: Howie, do you want to discuss any of your accusations face to face, man to man? I was accused of plagiarism in the media, never in court, by an admitted plagiarist, Doris Kearns Goodwin. It was a baseless accusation, which Doris–a wonderful biographer and excellent historian–never pursued. As for deception: you are talking about the convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald, a man who bludgeoned and stabbed to death his pregnant wife and two young daughters. I never paid a nickel to MacDonald, who remains in prison today. I had no say over a decision made by my former publisher’s insurance company. So, Howie, those are two dishonest comments.
But now for an honest comment by Howie.
In fact, let’s call it a confession.
In The Daily Beast yesterday, Howie wrote, in regard to why Sarah Palin was permitted to soar so high for so long:
“We in the news business were her enablers, broadcasting her tweets, following her Facebooking, chasing after her aimless bus tours…What explains such behavior? Palin is box office. She drives traffic and ratings.”
Thank you, Howie.
You call yourself a whore more plainly than I would have dared to do.
All I want now is your apology for calling THE ROGUE “unattributed crap,” without having read it.
As for Steve Roberts, I can only hope he doesn’t have tenure at George Washington. Any “media ethics” professor who could profess about an author’s lack of ethics prior to the publication of the author’s book, and without having read the author’s book, but based only on “everything I’ve read about it,” ought not to be professing about ethics. Or journalism. Or much of anything else.
And you wonder why the public doesn’t trust the media?
Humble Howie says it all, referencing Sarah: “We…were her enablers…Palin is box office. She drives traffic and ratings.”
MSM, losing traffic and ratings and print circulation, didn’t want to kill the goose who made herself their golden egg. So they screwed over the rest of us, pretending to take Sarah seriously, foisting her upon us, failing to expose her for the fraud she always was and that they knew her to be.
Mainstream Media allowed the 2008 campaign to become a “reality” TV show.
Here’s the equation: “reality”=unreality.
MSM never apologized, and never explained. And they were prepared to do it again, even more shamefully, next year. It’s the country’s good fortune that Sarah herself couldn’t carry the hoax forward. The Howie Kurtz’s of our world were waiting with bated breath and tongues hanging out. “BOX OFFICE…TRAFFIC…RATINGS…”
They trashed Andrew Sullivan for even raising questions about Sarah’s utterly implausible story of giving birth to Trig.
And they came after me, hammer and tongs, for telling the full truth about her in The Rogue.
I killed their golden goose.
I don’t suppose I should have expected Howie, or Cokie’s husband, Steve, to have killed a fatted calf–or even a skinny moose–with which to fete me.
* * *
I began my writing career working with and being schooled by true journalists. I learned from and knew personally Jimmy Breslin and Murray Kempton and Pete Hamill, and Peter Arnett and a dozen other women and men who cared more about digging out the truth and telling it straight than about looking at themselves in the mirror in a makeup room at a television station, while talking to their agents on their cell phones.
I seem destined to end my career being judged by phony suck-ups like Howie Kurtz and Cokie’s husband, Steve.
So be it.
I play it as it lays, guys.
I’m happy to be outside the Beltway.
If you’d ever had any integrity, I’d pity you for having bartered it for what you see as stature.
As it is, Howie & Friends, I’ll let Bob Dylan have the last words:
I’m just gonna let you pass
Yes, and I’ll go last
Then time will tell who fell
And who’s been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine