The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Broder: Shafer confuses with the facts on old-time journalism

One of the themes round here is the twin evils of anachronism and amnesia in American political life. Which is a shame not only for their maleficent effects on current policy and practices, but because the reality of American history is such damned fascinating stuff [1].

Jack Shafer takes David Broder to task for his Sunday piece of ahistorical bollocks - which boasts the flabbiest of kickers:
We've wandered a long way from safe ground in the news business. Sometimes I wonder if we can find our way back.

Shafer takes the old hack for a walk down Memory Lane at his own rag (Broder has been at the Post since 1966, apparently). With a mention of Jimmy's World, natch, and - one I hadn't heard of before - a little snafu from
Oct. 5, 1981, when the Post's gossip columnist, "The Ear," reported that President Carter had bugged Blair House, where President-elect Ronald Reagan and his wife had stayed before Reagan's inauguration. The Ear wrote, "And at least one tattler in the Carter tribe has described listening in to the Tape Itself."

And, according to Shafer,
The Post blustered in defense of the story, just as Dan Rather did in defense of his,
until threat of a libel suit wormed out an apology.

And follows up with some choice examples of journalistic malpractice from - what else? - All the President's Men.

Great stuff.

  1. Though poor textbooks and PC mania tend to kill the subject in US schools (April 25).

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