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Friday, September 10, 2004

Prediction: No Biggie
Despite all the excitement, I don't think RatherGate will amount to much. I seem to be swimming upstream here. Ace calls it "devastating." Roger Simon calls it "far worse" than Jayson Blair. Powerline has a source saying "the race is over."

I just don't think that there will be a widespread belief that this is intentional malfeasence instead of incompetence. Sure, we all recognize that this was "Too hot not to push" only because they were anti-Bush stories. Sure, we now have a million and one examples of that liberal media. But as long as it is just a mistake, I think CBS will quickly put this behind them. It is not like the memos in question are even that interesting. It's just as bad that CBS felt this "sugarcoating" allegation is so much more inportant than Christmas in Cambodia. But they won't get any blowback over that either.

I think the one definite result is that the bar on Bush-AWOL stories will be raised a lot for a few weeks, which should see us clear through to the election. The one possibly juicy angle here is the source of the documents. Although the story is still developing, it looks like it was one lone zealot who created the memos and passed them to the DNC, who passed them to CBS. Bushies will want to blame the DNC, but they will pass themselves off as an innocent mediary. The forger is the criminal and CBS should have known better. Especially with these other actors on the scene, the DNC will probably be able to stay mostly in the shadows.

I think this does hurt CBS, it will open a few dozen eyes to the biases of the MSM, and it may even get Bush a short-term point in the polls, but I don't think this will be any kind of watershed. Now, let's just see if I'm right, or a fool.

Update: Let me refer you to the phantom boos story. Blogger outrage, check. Reporter fired, negative. Retraction issued, negative. MSM coverage, negative. AP lies established in conventional wisdom, check.

Update: This post is not meant to belittle the great work done by numerous bloggers. Within the context of this single story, I think they have had a big impact. This one story will get retracted. I'm just saying I don't see far-reaching consequences.

Update: I listed to 2 hours of NPR news and 1 hour of BBC news and neither made any mention of this.

Update: It turns out NPR has run a story, (at a different time? a different affiliate?) a story with significant errors.

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