I'm more exercised by the harm school administrators and their stupid policies do to kids than I am bothered by news that Rush Limbaugh won't get to own a piece of the St. Louis Rams. But I'm still plenty bothered.
Limbaugh was slandered and libeled. Without question. Cable news networks aired wholly fabricated quotations attributed to the conservative radio talk show host. Worse, when those networks were called on the fabrications, they refused to retract or apologize. CNN's Rick Sanchez aired the phony quotes. Sanchez later said that although the phony quotes were "in dispute," Limbaugh had said plenty of offensive things. So there!
John Hinderaker at Powerline observes: "It is worth noting, as a kind of macabre footnote, that CNN found it worthwhile to 'fact check' Saturday Night Live when that program had the temerity to ridicule CNN's President, The One. Maybe CNN could become a respected news organization if it tried to fact check news stories as well as comedy skits, starting with--is this too much to ask?--its own broadcasts."
And Mark Steyn asks: "Can Rush buy the St Louis Rams if he gets Roman Polanski to front the deal?"
Incidentally, Steyn points to an excellent piece by Toby Harden in the London Telegraph, who writes:
The irony is, of course, that the people reporting this as fact are the same types who are always denouncing bloggers and the internet as forces of evil intent on destroying proper journalism – proper journalism being the kind that involves checking facts. In the case of Rush Limbaugh, however, it seems to be enough that the intention (i.e. to show the talk radio host is a racist) is considered pure.
Even those who have been primary movers in spreading these malicious falsehoods – which would lead to payouts of hundreds of thousands in British libel courts if lawsuits were ever filed there – are brazenly unapologetic.
Thus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell pens this column containing the slavery quote and then follows up with another column with a kind-of-sort-of-well-not-really-at-all mea culpa in which he states that the quote seemed “so in character with the many things that Limbaugh has said before that we didn’t verify it beyond the book”.
OK, so it sounded right and it was on the internet or in a book or something so it was fine to just go ahead and print it as stone-cold fact without any attribution? I wonder which journalism school teaches that?
None of them. And all of them.