Once Fox sets the agenda, and its allies in the administration, talk radio and the Internet ride herd, its rivals want to get in on the act, if only out of ratings envy and sheer inertia. Though the best-selling "Unfit for Command" was the work of a longtime Kerry antagonist and a writer best known for his anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic comments on a right-wing Web forum, its facts were challenged on TV at a far slower pace than the books of Seymour Hersh and Kitty Kelley, whose reporting was targeted in advance by administration talking points handed out before the books could even be read.
In this environment, even a beloved right-wing anecdote of flyweight content, like Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it!," can overwhelm all other headlines in the 24/7 news ethosphere. Afghanistan, tumbling into chaos, has all but fallen off the TV map. So to some extent has Iraq. How many Americans know just how much of the country has been ceded to the insurgents? Perhaps only Armageddon there or in North Korea can change the subject from George W. Bush's National Guard career, a story that has been known since The Boston Globe first reported it in May 2000, and whose embarrassing outline would remain the same even if "60 Minutes" had never done its piece.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Frank Rich in today's NYT:
Posted by Roger at 10:25 AM