Friday, June 3, 2011

Mediaite Uses Double Standard to Attack Kos, Defend Breitbart- Updated

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite wrote a long post that has some good points in it (including a statement by parents slamming an irresponsible media's coverage of Weinergate), but bizarrely uses a double standard to claim that Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos is reprehensible and Breitbart an innocent victim.

Christopher claims that Kos is "reprehensible" because a diarist on Kos's site posted a screen shot of an iphone from one of the suspicious characters in the story, which showed a conversation between that person and a minor who was looking to push a false story about Weiner communicating with one of her friends. I had found the photo myself several days ago, and chose to redact the personal information on the yfrog image I posted because one of the people was in high school. I agree with Tommy to the extent that I personally did not want to share that information. However, that is a different context entirely from what Markos is being accused of. Christopher is attacking Markos because Markos owns a site that allows community diaries and has a policy that is biased very heavily against censorship of the community part of the site. The diary in question was not written by one of the paid front page authors: it was written by one of the community members. Thus, while I personally did not want to share the full information, I don't think it's "reprehensible" for Markos to choose not to censor the content choices of diarists except under extreme circumstances (which is what he said was his policy in an email to Christopher).

On the other hand, here's what Christopher had to say about Breitbart:
Through our contemporaneous conversations throughout this story, it has been clear that Andrew Breitbart followed leads that were submitted to him, rather than that he engineered any of this, and as far as presentation of documentary evidence, has acted responsibly throughout. He has also refrained from identifying the young women involved, unlike other websites on the left and the right, a fact that is to his credit.
This has led to idiotic gloating from the right-wing blogsphere. For example;

And Hot Air:
The big takeaway, however, is that the reporting from Big Journalism was conducted responsibly, and that Breitbart and Dana Loesch did what reporters do — get data from sources and report on them, rather than manufacture a story, as they were accused of doing.
The problem, however, is that Breitbart's sites clearly engaged in far worse pushing of innocent young women's personal information than anything on Kos. Check out this post from Big Governmnet, where Jim Hoft links to "young attractive coeds," including girls in high school:

After Hoft posted the personal information of these young girls for his knuckle-dragging followers, several of them complained about being harassed online. And unlike the Kos diary, which came from the community, Hoft's diary was hand picked by Breitbart's editors to appear on the site.

Furthermore, Breitbart went on CNN to claim that Weiner "had relationships" with "quite young girls" based on nothing more than this garbage and the lies from his sources.. In fact, contrary to what Christopher claimed, Breitbart specifically cited Wolfe for his despicable claims on CNN..

Yet Christopher claims that Breitbart has acted "responsibly" throughout this mess. Unbelievably sloppy "media criticism," if you ask me.

Update: Tommy Christopher claims that I am guily of several "lies by omission." I am assuming that he's primarily talking about the fact that I did not refer to this quote from him early in the article:
There are reasonable criticisms to be made of Andrew Breitbart regarding the Weinergate story (I have made many), and I haven’t seen every statement he’s made on Twitter or TV, so I cannot vouch for their fairness, but when it comes to the publication of factual evidence, Breitbart has acted responsibly throughout.
So the thought is that all Christopher is discussing is what was "published" on Breitbart's websites. While I suppose it is technically true that Breitbart didn't outright lie or use Wolfe's allegations online, this nevertheless undermines the significance of Christopher's post. What is relevant is whether Breitbart is honest and ethical, not whether he was honest-and-ethical-in-one-medium-but-not-necessarily-others-in-this-one-particular-story. In fact, Christoper himself lecture Lee Stranahan yesterday about the idea that it's OK to say lies on Twitter if you don't publish them on blogs:

So I admit, I should have included Christopher's quote in the original post. But what does it say about his post that he left out the fact that Breitbart was dishonest about this on Twitter, regularly practiced yellow journalism, and pushed Dan Wolfe's despicable conspiracy theories on TV?

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