I hope it’s not premature to start dancing on the grave marked “Right Wing Blogger Relevance”, but reading this quick link from Atrios certainly made me strap on my dancing shoes. Somehow, it had passed my notice that Dan Rather is suing CBS for unlawful termination after they shit-canned him because the howling monkeys of the right thought they’d had a slam dunk in disproving a single document of many that proved that the Shrub used the National Guard to dodge the draft and then dodged the National Guard and hid behind his daddy to keep from having to be held responsible. The merits of their argument were minimal, and really all they wanted was to get Dan Rather fired by throwing a screaming temper tantrum, and using that as “proof” that they weren’t a bunch of insecure cowards who get off on war, as long as they can safely view it on TV in the comfort of their own home, but were big, powerful people who can get you fired. Harassing people and trying to get them fired has since then been the right wing blogosphere’s attempt to claim legitimacy as “citizen journalists”. Yes, a title they adopted, despite the fact that their biggest victory was shutting down a real journalist for reporting the truth.
But for various, complicated reasons I don’t want to bother recounting now, the howler monkeys have been allowed to shape the narrative about the Rather firing, claiming that it was a legitimate response to his poor reporting, instead of something CBS was bullied into doing for illegitimate reasons. I always thought this would be one of these injustices that wouldn’t get resolved until decades from now, and some devoted historian researched the timeline of everything that happened and made the case that in this, as in all other things, right wing bloggers were full of shit. But no! Rather is suing and now he and his lawyers have been given access to thousands of internal CBS documents. As Media Matters reports:
My guess is that that will translate into more embarrassments for CBS. Because you’ll recall that late last year we learned, via Rather’s lawsuit, that internal memos indicated that CBS when first facing the right-wing firestorm over its 60 Minutes report about Bush’s National Guard years, considered appointing Matt Drudge to sit on an “independent” fact-finding board to investigate the scandal. (A board which Bush refused to answers questions about his Guard service from.)
In fact, we learned that CBS was in full panic mode and was willing to take whatever step necessary to placate the right-wing fanatics frothing about Memogate. The picture painted by the CBS memos and documents already reviewed by Rather suggest a craven news organization that was less interested in uncovering the truth about the disputed memos, and more interested in appeasing Rush Limbaugh. It wanted to “mollify the right,” as one internal CBS memo put it.
It always grated on my nerves how wingnut bloggers patted themselves on the back for getting Rather fired for what they’ve been led to believe was a legitimate reason. Being completely full of shit is one of the major causes of right wing insecurity, and so they hung a lot of the fact that this time, they were kind of sort of in the right. But were they? Sadly, no. It appears that CBS wasn’t responding to legitimate concerns about journalistic integrity—which Rather has more of in his pinkie fingernail than the entire “citizen journalist” right rolled into giant Cheeto-dust-covered ball. Nope, they were given into demands that were forceful because they were loud and grating, not because they were justified. Right wing bloggers who view the Rather firing as a fair and square point scored will have to face, within our lifetimes, the fact that it was just another response to their bullying that has nothing to do with truth or fairness. And that when we say they’re full of shit, we mean they’re brimming with it, and that it seeps out their pores to the point where they can’t touch anything without smearing shit all over it.