The Swiftboating of Aaron Brown
Aaron Brown, the four year anchor of CNN’s NewsNight was replaced in November.
His ratings stunk.
“Television is the most perfect democracy,” Brown said. “You sit there with your remote control and vote.” The remotes click to another channel when serious news airs, but when the media covers the scandals surrounding Laci Peterson, the Runaway Bride or Michael Jackson, “there are no clicks then,” the journalist said.
With the departure from the screen of the “titans” — Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather — who “resisted the temptations of their bosses to go for the ratings grab, it will be years before an anchorman or anchorwoman will have the clout to fight these battles,” he said.
He’s shocked “by how unkind our world has become,” he said. E-mail and talk radio appear to have given people the license to say anything, regardless of how cruel or false it may be, he said.
He cited the example of an e-mail faulting what the sender considered to be NewsNight’s inadequate coverage of an anti-war protest in Washington, D.C. The note ended with, “I hope the violence visited on the people of Iraq will someday be visited on your children.”
Those on the opposite side of the political spectrum are no more tolerant, Brown said. “Any criticism of the administration is regarded as hatred of the president and hatred of the country itself,” he said.
Important issues, such as the prosecution of the war in Iraq at home and abroad, are being clouded over by “mud-wrestling” that skirts substance, he said. Consider what he called “the swift-boating of John Murtha,” the Democratic congressman whose war record was smeared when he called for an exit strategy in Iraq. “Cable didn’t search for the truth, but engaged in mock debates pitting those making the charges against Murtha’s defenders,” he said.
First of all, Mr. Brown, about Murtha, what cable shows and what “mock debates”? Please, let it go!
Aaron Brown, like other liberals before him is at a crossroads of denial and facing the monster at the door, his biased reporting. But, Aaron is taking the “Road More Traveled” and is choosing not to face the truth in the situation. In fact, Aaron has been swiftboated himself and doesn’t even realize it.
There are essential requirements to being “swiftboated”:
First you have to have a person, usually a liberal, who is making untrue claims about a situation. In the case of John Kerry it was his “Magic Hat” story, among others. In the case of Aaron Brown it was the greatness of his reporting on NewsNight.
Next you have to have a group of people offer a different view based on their experience. In the case of John Kerry it was the 200 swiftboat veterans who joined together to oppose his “Magic Hat” story and his Senate testimony fabrications from 1971. In the case of Aaron Brown it was his dismal ratings.
The next step is denial. John Kerry and his supporters never were able to attack the accusations and instead ignored the points made by the swift boat veterans. Aaron Brown denied to look at the real reasons his ratings stunk.
Finally, there is lashing out at the accusers. John Kerry’s supporters lashed out at the 200 swiftboat veterans calling them all liars, drunks, bitter old men, etc. Aaron Brown today lashed out as the audience who did not like his biased reporting and his bosses who yanked him.
On the other hand, there are “faux swiftboating” allegations out there in the liberal media today as well. The democrats have a leaky boat if they think John Murtha was “swiftboated.”
John Murtha is a good example. Here is a man who’s service was questioned by a democrat. After the day the story broke on one conservative site, it was the democrats who kept it alive (see Washington Post and New York Times ). It was never a big deal to conservatives, see Instapundit and Mudville Gazette, but a political play by democrats to make John Murtha look victimized after all of his outrageous comments in the last two months.
That is not swiftboating.