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Network, Lapdogs, and Stonewalled

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"Stonewalled," by Sharyl Attkisson, is a new book that is being supported with a series of interviews and guest appearances by the author and when she did a guest shot on the November 14, 2014 episode of the Getty and Armstrong radio show, Ms. Attkisson sternly admonished CBS Evening News for using the anemic topic of weather on a network news show. We wanted to do this week's column about her new book but we couldn't find one available in Berkeley CA, so we had to travel to San Francisco for our quest. City Lights didn't have one in stock on Monday of this week but Alexander Book Co. did; so we bought a copy and started the process of writing a column/review on her new book (and a quick look at the history of press criticism).

Over the weekend, we viewed a DVD copy of the 1976 film "Network." It has not lost its "ripped from today's headlines" impact and is well worth seeing if readers aren't old enough to remember the impact it had on audiences when it was new.

Since Ms. Attkisson is concerned that her computers are being hacked, it seems likely that a comparison to Network's fictional journalist Howard Beal will be an easy cheap shot for liberal pundits to include in their assessments of this new book.

Liberals, who are nostalgic about the good old days when righteous indignation about the special kid gloves treatment that President George W. Bush got from the Mainstream Media (MSM), as reported in Eric Boehlert's book "Lapdogs," might want to buy "Stonewalled" for a quick easy political assessment that blames all the world's woes on President Obama.

Ms. Attkisson concentrates intensely on Bengazi, Bengazi, Bengazi and seems to consider the Dubya's handling of foreign affairs slightly flawed and hardly worth mentioning, while holding President Obama up as a disgrace for the nation.

Ms. Attkisson totally ignores the possibility that her co-worker Dan Rather may have been suckered into an ambush. She says she immediately recognized the material as counterfeit and concludes that Dubya has thereby been cleared of any malfeasance regarding his military service record. What if a trickster supplied Rather with doctored evidence just to discredit the whole topic of George W. Bush's military service?

Could Ms. Attkisson, who left the CBS organization earlier this year, be trying to land an anchor gig at Fox? Could her agent sell her services as the modern "mad profit of the airwaves" that nightly dispenses America's rage over the inept bungling of the Obama Administration in all aspects of their tenure in the White House?

"Stonewalled" does not contain a bibliography. That indicates that Ms. Attkisson's book is a one-sourced criticism of the entire journalism industry (both farm clubs and major league teams) and not meant to be a comprehensive look at the topic of Journalism in America. It is her gripe session. Poor baby, how (hypothetical speculation alert) would she have coped with the rigors of membership in Murrow's Boys?

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An attempt to take a comprehensive, critical look at American Journalism would mean that a bibliography section would indicate that the author had read George Seldes "Lords of the Press," Eric Boehlert's "Lapdogs," and A. J. Liebling's "The Press," Danny Shechter's "The More You Watch the Less You Know," and perhaps even "The New New Journalism," by Robert S. Boynton.

Since the New York Times' Book Review Section for last week's Sunday edition did not contain a review of "Stonewalled," the World's Laziest Journalist realized that if we cranked out a column/review for posting on Friday, November 21, 2014, we could claim a "scoop" of the New York Times.

Conservatives will want to own a copy of this condemnation of the Obama Administration as an example of what the fair and balanced journalism atmosphere can produce in today's America. Liberals might want to buy a copy as an example of how a one-sourced, diatribe heavily tinged with paranoia can be marketed as an indictment of America's shoddy journalism standards, while being guilty of the very "journalistic crimes" she decries.

The free press comes off as part of an elaborate dog and pony show in Eric Boehlert's book "Lapdogs How the Press Rolled over for Bush," but Ms. Attkisson is blissfully unaware of any shortcoming Dubya may have manifested or she summarily disregards the negative implications out of biased partisan loyalty.

That in turn gives readers a preview of the challenge that historians in the future will face when they evaluate America at the dawn of the Bush Dynasty. If American media has been tailored to provide only the conservative version of current events then historians will only be able to provide a biased and skewed assessment of the time. Any Liberal sentiments will be denounced as an example of shoddy scholarly research and students of the future will not notice any inconsistency if Obama is impeached and removed from the White House for doing what St. Ronald Reagan and other Presidents also did. (I.e. use an executive order to deal with the problem of immigration.)

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Walter Cronkite is quoted in the aforementioned Sheckter book as saying: "In a healthy environment, dissent is encouraged and considered essential to feed a cross-fertilization of ideas and thwart the incestuous growth of stultifying uniformity."

The World's Laziest Journalist purchased a copy of "Stonewalled" and is entitled to his subjective reactions to the book and can still (last we checked) include those highly personal opinions in this week's column under the privileges of America's Free Press rules of conduct.

As this week's column is in the final stages of preparation, disgruntle students at University of California Berkeley started a tuition fee hike protest in the form of an Occupation of Wheeler Hall. The World's Laziest Journalist, who did visit the Columbia campus during the 1968 student strike and covered the Vets occupation of the lobby of the Veterans Hospital in West Los Angeles in the late Seventies, will try to write next week's column about the latest UCB protest. We did cover the student occupation of Wheeler Hall about five (?) years ago.

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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