Great Moments in Journamalism
So, Sen. McCain gave an interview with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News last week. Pretty standard stuff, right?
Sure, except that CBS cut up the tape such that McCain appears to be answering one question, but is really answering another. And because they must have been on a roll, CBS did St. John one better and spliced in heroic still images of him visiting American troops, and footage of American soldiers in action in Iraq.
No, really. Here's video of McCain's bogus answer and the actual interview playing out together in real time, on a split screen.
I'm not quite sure how to express what an egregious breach of journalistic ethics this is. Now, interviews are edited all the time for the sake of brevity, but there's an implicit understanding on the part of the reader/viewer/listener that when you read/see/hear a given question, you're going to be given the answer to that particular question, and not another one. That CBS led its viewers to believe that McCain was talking about something else is incompetent at best, and possibly criminal at worst.
Those of you who roll your eyes when you hear me say that the news media are in the tank for McCain should watch the video again.
And not to be dismissed is the message delivered by the intentional pairing of a question with its non-answer: not only is McCain's ignorance of recent Iraqi history omitted from CBS' broadcast, but it is replaced by McCain's smear of Senator Obama's (accurate) knowledge of factual events and a question of his fitness to be president. St. John knows how to handle the terrorists and win the war, not Obama the dirty fucking hippie.