Gutting the media whores

Jon Stewart unsheathed his claws a long time ago, but for a long time he was merely poking gentle jabs at politicos and media idjits of all shapes and persuasions. Now he has joined the likes of Bob Somerby in unleashing the hounds upon the bullshit artists that surround and even inundate us with their crap.

Today's must-see tv? Follow the Jon Stewart link above and watch the piece entitled "Medicalert." Watch that and then ask yourself, "Why didn't I hear about this story on CNN? On Fox? MSNBC? Any of the freaking network news shows?" Ask yourself why you have to go to Comedy Freaking Central and watch a satirical news show to find out that the White House is sending out fake news to tv stations and that those stations' news organizations are actually running it as honest-to-God news?

Don't believe this is actually happening? Check out Krugman's latest.

On Monday, Mr. Letterman ran a video clip of a boy yawning and fidgeting during a speech by George Bush. It was harmless stuff; a White House that thinks it's cute to have Mr. Bush make jokes about missing W.M.D. should be able to handle a little ribbing about boring speeches.

CNN ran the Letterman clip on Tuesday, just before a commercial. Then the CNN anchor Daryn Kagan came back to inform viewers that the clip was a fake: "We're being told by the White House that the kid, as funny as he was, was edited into that video." Later in the day, another anchor amended that: the boy was at the rally, but not where he was shown in the video.

On his Tuesday night show, Mr. Letterman was not amused: "That is an out and out 100 percent absolute lie. The kid absolutely was there, and he absolutely was doing everything we pictured via the videotape."

But here's the really interesting part: CNN backed down, but it told Mr. Letterman that Ms. Kagan "misspoke," that the White House was not the source of the false claim. (So who was? And if the claim didn't come from the White House, why did CNN run with it without checking?)

In short, CNN passed along a smear that it attributed to the White House. When the smear backfired, it declared its previous statements inoperative and said the White House wasn't responsible.

In short, has CNN now officially lost its right to be call itself "the most trusted name in news"? And is there even an pretender to the throne? Is this our Howard Beale moment where we collectively stand and scream "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore?"

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