NEW YORK – Assorted pundits enjoy quadrennial denunciations of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions – because they no longer provide any suspense and extended balloting for who will be the nominee.
But these are the only national gatherings of elected leaders and delegates of our two major political parties. And they are also the only times that all of our nation’s media come together.
For many of this country’s left-wing-dominated Big Media, there is an acute and often apparent discomfort in being under the same roof and in the same convention sections as “The Rest of Us” – including what might be described as The New Media Thrust.
This includes those like Washington’s new Weekly Standard magazine – which is distributed daily at this convention and which featured a report headlined:
HOW THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WERE FORCED TO COVER A STORY THEY HATED.
That story, on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and how they exposed Sen. John Kerry, is, along with the same-sex marriage issue, one of the two hottest issues of this presidential campaign.
Editor Jonathan Last of the Standard reports the following – which, with national reports of big daily newspaper-circulation frauds on Long Island, in Dallas and in Chicago, is a strong indication of a media revolution. He reports:
“An informal network – the New Media – has arisen that has the power to push stories into the Old Media. The combination of talk radio, a publishing house, blogs and Fox News has given conservatives a voice independent of the Old Media.
“Talk radio kept the story alive on a daily basis. … Network television and most cable news shows stayed away from the swiftboat story as long as they could.
“The swiftboat story first surfaced on May 4, when an op-ed by John O’Neill ran in the Wall Street Journal, in print and online, and the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to which O’Neill belongs, held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event received scant notice by traditional media. CBS News mentioned it briefly and tried to tie the group to Bush. The Washington Post and New York Times had short items about it, as did the Boston Globe. The most in-depth coverage came from the Fox News Channel. On the May 4 edition of Special Report, Carl Cameron reported on the press conference, aired some of the Swifties’ allegations, and then reported that certain of these veterans – Grant Hibbard and George Elliott – had previously supported John Kerry, immediately casting doubt on them.
“The story went away for a while, but was always lurking in dark corners of the Internet, on websites like KerryHaters.blogspot.com. And clearly the big media weren’t blind to it. ‘There are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership,’ Peter Jennings noted during an ABC News broadcast on July 29. ‘We’ll hear from them in the weeks ahead,’ he continued, moving abruptly on to a pre-taped package on Kerry’s Vietnam heroism.
“The next big break for the Swifties came on Aug. 4, with the release of their first TV ad. Fox News covered the ad closely. The next night, ‘Hannity & Colmes’ featured members of the swiftboat group as well as veterans who supported Kerry.
“That same day, some print media outlets covered the ad buy, but not the substance of the ad’s allegations. On television, only one broadcast network mentioned the spot: CBS spent two sentences on the ‘harsh’ ad, in order to air John McCain’s denunciation of it.
“On Aug. 6, NBC also reported on the ‘harsh’ ad, but only as a way of segueing into a segment on ‘527 groups,’ independent political organizations funded with soft money. On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann mentioned O’Neill’s forthcoming “Unfit for Command.” Since it’s published by the conservative house Regnery, Olbermann reported, ‘You now bring in the whole mystical right-wing conspiracy jazz.’ The night before, Olbermann had repeatedly referred to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Bush.’
“But the big news on Aug. 6 was that Regnery allowed people to download the ‘Christmas in Cambodia’ section of O’Neill’s book. While Olbermann and others were worrying about mystical jazz, the New Media swung into action.”
The book, Unfit for Command, is now No. 1 on both the New York Times best-seller list as well as Amazon.com.
And this swiftboat issue is huge in this campaign thanks to the New Media of which talk radio and the Internet are leaders.