A left-wing blog called Media Matters recently provided us with a vivid illustration of Churchill's aphorism that a lie gets half-way around the world before truth can get its pants on. Media Matters ran a smear of Bill O'Reilly that was so dishonest it should have been criminal. Nevertheless, CNN and NBC picked up the libel and repeated it themselves.
When eventually confronted with the transcripts of what O'Reilly actually said everyone refused to recant. The damage had been done and O'Reilly has been trying hard on his show to recover something of his reputation. Columnist Juan Williams who was a witness to the remarks for which O'Reilly has been vilified recounts what really happened here.
But blood was in the water so this week Media Matters decided they'd shamelessly repeat the same dishonest tactic by completely distorting something Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program. Referring to frauds who claim to be combat veterans with eye-witness experience of war-time atrocities, but who had in fact never been in the military, Limbaugh called them "phony soldiers."
Never mind the context, Media Matters smeared Limbaugh for having called military critics of the war "phonies," and not only MSNBC repeated the slander but several Democrats rose to the floor of the House and the Senate to blast Limbaugh for his appalling lack of patriotism and whatever else they thought they could stick him with.
In a post-modern world where truth is whatever you feel it to be, and all that counts is winning, where peoples' reputations are fair game in the no-rules world of political combat, I guess this sort disreputable behavior is to be expected. Those of us, though, who believe that truth is of paramount importance should maintain a prudent skepticism toward anything we hear on CNN or MSNBC or indeed CBS, after Dan Rather, or The New Republic, after twice having carried columns by fabulists whose claims were subsequently found to be fabricated. These journalists apparently subscribe to the belief that even if you have to retract a claim later no one will notice, and the damage you had hoped for will already be done.
You might wonder how people can be this way. One of the heroes of the secular left, Karl Marx, once stated that the left's view of the world (communism) "abolishes all eternal truths, all religion and all morality." This pretty much explains everything.RLC