Patterico's Pontifications


Venus Transit Picture

Filed under: Space — Patterico @ 10:22 pm

A good picture of today’s Venus transit is here.

NBC News and the Power of Editing

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 7:05 pm

Who’s more powerful than the President? The media. The President can try to communicate what he wants — but you get to hear it only if the elite media decides you should. Illustrating this concept, my friend the New England Republican has a great post about NBC’s skewed editing of Tom Brokaw’s interview with President Bush.

Obviously, editing is a necessary evil in television journalism, and any editing will remove some context. It’s easy to point to any excised portion of an interview and say that it should not have been removed. However, even taking these caveats into account, New England Republican identifies some cuts that are really inexcusable.

For example, Brokaw challenged Bush regarding the purpose of the war in Iraq, noting that Bush had justified the war in part by reference to the 9/11 attacks, and asserting: “But that wasn’t Iraq, that was al-Qaeda.” Bush’s response began as follows — with the bolded part edited out:

Right. But– no question about it. But I also went on to say that part of winning the war on terror is to deal with regimes that harbor terrorists, that feed terrorists. And there’s no question that Saddam Hussein did that.

He had Zarqawi in his midst. He had Abu Nidal. He’s been paying families of suiciders to attack Israel. He had also posed a threat with weapons, and he used them.

(Names corrected to conform to typically used spellings.)

This is a piece that lasted almost 18 minutes, yet NBC excised two short sentences that conveyed information not repeated anywhere else in the interview. What’s more, Bush’s reference to Zarqawi was directly responsive to Brokaw’s point about Al Qaeda — more so than much of what was left in.

As N.E. Republican says: “This is important information that needs to be repeated to the American people but is filtered right out of the President’s message. Don’t tell me that those two sentences were edited out for time constraints either, as they were very short.” It is also interesting to see what was left in that NBC considered more important — like Brokaw’s boasting about having visited with Jacques Chirac.

What’s more, the edit — like all of the edits — is completely seamless, so that the viewer is given no clue whatsoever that anything has been removed. If not for the transcript, we’d never know what was missing.

And this is just one example. Read New England Republican’s post for the rest. The most interesting way to read the post is to follow along with the video while reading the post at the same time. This way, you get to see exactly what was left out — and how that omission came across in what was broadcast.

I am not saying this is a deep, dark conspiracy. If it were, then the complete transcript wouldn’t be on NBC’s web site. But it is something to keep in mind: what looked like a full, fair opportunity for Bush to answer some critical questions was actually nothing of the sort. NBC editors, not Bush, had the final say over what viewers got to hear.

This is how it always is, with all the media. But when we read the newspaper, for example, we don’t get to see the reporter’s notes to learn what was left out of the article. That’s what makes this such an interesting and sobering glimpse into what the elite media thinks it’s important (and unimportant) for you to know.

(Cross-posted at Oh, That Liberal Media.)

SoCalLawBlog in California Lawyer Article About Blogs

Filed under: Bear Flag League — Patterico @ 6:15 am

The current edition of California Lawyer magazine has an article about law blogs. Jeff Lewis of the Bear Flag League’s SoCalLawBlog gets a nice mention alongside luminaries such as Howard Bashman and Eugene Volokh. Nice going, Jeff!

(Link via How Appealing.)

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