Thursday, January 13

Creative Analogies

Hugh Hewitt today has a column (here) drawing comparison between the paedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church and the resultant cover up and the CBS/Rathergate scandal and the resultant cover up masquerading as a investigation. Now as much as CBS deserves "bad press" on this, this comparison is not deserved.

Now back in my hoary youth, better known as High School, I recall expressing the opinion that Martin Luther King Jr and Adolph Hitler were comparable and bad. I derived this conclusion because both where demagogues and I felt demagoguery was bad in that it drove people to do things without thinking them through. That even though Dr King used his power of speech for good, and Mr Hitler for ill, it did not justify abusing their talents in either case. Of course, I had no good suggestion for putting a stop to a demagogue, but my teacher was too shocked by my comparison to point that out.

My logic was wrong. Likewise, I think, Mr Hewitt falls into the same trap I did in my youth. He seems to think a "cover up" is always bad, therefore CBS, the Roman Catholic Church, and perhaps many recent Administrations are all to be tarred with the same brush.

Now I would like to propose the following two ideas. First, let's all drop the pretense that News is unbiased. My blog clearly states, I am "right of center", which I take as short hand for being somewhat conservative (ok, ok perhaps very would be a better term). CBS, Newsweek, Fox News, and all should just go ahead and let us know where their allegiances lie. It seems clear to me that unbiased reporting, and editing is a fiction. It is a unattainable ideal, if in fact is even something for which we might strive. I haven't studied journalism, and have never been exposed to the arguments for why unbiased news might be a good thing. Perhaps it is just one of the un-examined axioms of American journalism.

Secondly, let's drop the pretense that all cover up is bad. The world is a more complex place than that. For example, the world would be a better place if the leftist press hadn't jumped all over the prison scandal in Iraq. The armed services had it is my understanding halted the problem and were proceeding with court-martial procedures before the story broke. It seems to me, there is only a story here worth uncovering if either of those two occurrences didn't happen (that is the abuses were on-going and no action was being taken against the perpetrators). Squelching the story (cover up) would have helped the American (and Iraqi) cause. Breaking the story up, only serves to aid the insurgency (or perhaps in a backhand fashion Mr Kerry). Yes I will freely admit that there are many cases where cover ups are a bad thing. But, in public relations between our country and the rest of the world, it is not a given that a cover up is "bad". We are all human and make mistakes. A cover up is only a "bad" thing when no action is being taken internally to correct the error. If an organization or country is actively and effectively taking measures to correct a situation or error, I see no real difficulty with them also trying to minimize the public relations effects.