The facts have an anti-Bush agenda

The "liberal media" charge is losing its charge. It'll take a while but the gig is up. One of the death knells (can you have more than one death knell?) will prove to be the fiasco over Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's botched handling of a botched column.

Two botches = very bad journalism.

Briefly, a Washington Post story reported the GOP talking point that the Abramoff scandal was bipartisan. When readers (led by bloggers) questioned the claim, Howell, the readers' liaison to the publication, defended the claim -- again, using GOP talking points that although no money to Dems came from Abramoff, it was directed to them via the casinos Abramoff did business with. Which is BS. Dems received more from the casinos before Abramoff's hooves hit that bank.

In a classic switcheroo, the Post and Howell focused on a few nasty letters rather than deal with their enormous mistake. It took days to attend to it. In today's Times, Paul Krugman, calling out several journalists by name writes:

"...the reluctance of some journalists to report facts that, in this case, happen to have an anti-Republican agenda is a serious matter. It's not a stretch to say that these journalists are acting as enablers for the rampant corruption that has emerged in Washington over the last decade."
Digby launches into an analysis of the way "the mainstream media internalize the criticisms of their right wing critics" inspired by a "wildly enjoyable recounting of a close encounter between the barbarian bloggers and the Beltway Quilting Bee and Ladies Circle Jerk Society, also known as the DC press corps."

The recounting is essentially a mea culpa from Howell and a whine from some DC press regulars about the lashing they receive from the blogs. Howell reportedly said: "I made a mistake ... and I am heartsick about it." I hate to be cynical in the face of what appears to be a heartfelt apology but it's too bad it took a high profile lashing for her to do her job and examine the facts.

A calculated effort has been underway for decades to paint liberals as "unhinged" and, in this instance, that's exactly what the Post saw in reader responses.

Coincidently, a new Washington Post article compares the power and intransigence of the progressive blogs within Democratic politics to the rise of the talk-radio right within the Republican party in the early 80s. Digby on the crossroads:
"We can be nice liberals and continue that highly successful strategy (for them) or we, the great unwashed blogosphere, can mau-mau the media into being accountable for what they write. It isn't pretty --- they are calling us nasty names and everything. But for the first time in memory we actually have a vehicle for pushing back from the other side and we literally represent millions of people who are willing to take the time to join the fight. That's powerful juju."
(SteveGilliard, Digby)

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