It was two years ago that one of the most infamous events in Journalism left CBS News "shakier than cafeteria Jell-O." It was also an event that provided the coming-of-age moment for Blogosphere. It was Rathergate. Legendary journalist and anchorman Dan Rather, along with producer Mary Mapes produced a story in which they presented Texas Air National Guard documents that they said proved that George W. Bush disobeyed orders while a member of TANG and that Guard officials were pressured to improve his Guard record and give him special treatment. Rather, Mapes and CBS claimed that the documents had been authenticated by experts and their main source for the story was a former TANG Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett.
The story quickly unraveled as the agenda of Burkett came to light and he was revealed to be a liar. Also, bloggers Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, "Buckhead" from Free Republic and others were able to prove that the documents were most likely forgeries. Everything started to crumble around CBS. Mapes was fired, Rather was eventually pushed into retirement and then completely out of CBS Headquarters and, perhaps worst of all to the gang at CBS, George W. Bush was reelected President of the United States.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the asylum. Despite the fact that Rather and Mapes had been exposed as frauds; Despite the fact that Rather and Mapes, faced with a mountain of evidence that their story was crap, refused to admit they were duped or lied; Despite that fact that Rather and Mapes to this day stand by the story giving us the new MSM catchphrase "fake but accurate,"; despite all of this, Rather and Mapes were awarded a Peabody Award for their coverage of the Abu Ghraib story. True, there's no evidence anything in the Abu Ghraib story was inaccurate, but it was produced by proven liars and dupes. Doesn't matter, at least not to their peers.
Then in 2005, the AP received a Pulitzer for a photograph from Iraq showing an election worker being executed by a gunmen. It had all the sings of being staged for the media, though this is debatable. However, such questions weren't enough to dissuade the Pulitzer Committee.
Now we move to the present, 2006, and we see they effect of Rathergate on mainstream journalism. There are more staged and altered photographs coming out of the Middle East than the Blogosphere can keep up with. See here and here.
The way I see it, until we can change the world, let's at least be honest about where we're at. I'm talking to you, Pulitzer Committee. The time has come to honest about where mainstream journalism stands at this point in history. It's time to be completely honest and tell it like it is.
In order to accomplish this, I am proposing a campaign that calls for Thomas and John Knoll, the inventors of Photoshop, to be award this year's Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism.
Photoshop has become the MVP for the MSM. It's time that the Knoll Brothers are recognized for their contribution the Fourth Estate. But if you don't believe me, just ask my friend here: