Inspection- Of Liars, Damn Liars and Diane Rehm’s Panel

I was cruising down route 28 in the Adirondacks today listening to a Sirius NPR stream. The Diane Rehm Show was on. I occasionally enjoy Diane even though her raspy, wavering, voice can be annoying. But it usually is good radio; despite that. Besides, I understand: it’s a medical condition.

She had on a panel discussing the Shirley Sherrod story, which should really be the right wing media manipulation story starring Andrew Breitbart, but I’m straying a bit from my point: let’s get back on track.

There were three panel guests. Here is what her web site says…


David Welna
congressional correspondent, NPR
Jeanne Cummings
Politico’s assistant managing editor in charge of Enterprise
Doyle McManus
columnist, Los Angeles Times

OK, so far. Well at least as far as I know. Not FOX. Not the Moonie Times. Not even National Review; which would be only slightly more “respectable,” though these days I hate to have even typed “respectable” and NR in the same sentence.

The discussion, as it has been, focused on what the Obama administration did wrong. Not what Breitbart did. Not how the media echo chamber made it worse. No one pointed out that the situation was a “no win” from the get go for the administration. Fire her and what happened might happen. Wait and check it out and the screams of “what’s taking you so long,” “why are you so indecisive,” “perhaps Beck is right: the president is a racist” begin. And the talking heads will blather as if it’s so obvious what they should have done: like the most dangerous and obnoxious of back seat drivers.

All this I expected.

All this I got.

But then a caller asked a question that made me sit up and take notice, damn near killing a squirrel who crossed my path somewhere near Blue Mountain Lake; making me wish it could have been certain talking heads instead: no names mentioned.

I’m kidding about the squirrel. The talking heads? Not so sure.

The caller mentioned that the media acts as if “both sides do this,” and asked them to mention a left wing equivalent to the Breitbart case. Attempting to find similar examples they stumbled a bit and then they brought up Vietnam, of course, and how the media “lied” about poisons being spread across the land by us. Hello? Agent Orange? Of course I was too lazy to look up the specific case they alluded to, especially since they did just “allude” to it. Too vague for even a decent Google.

But the second example was Dan Rather and George W. Bush in 2004, during the campaign.

Now wait a #@!& minute. Dan Rather did a report including a document that was proven to not be the original document, that’s true. But the damn secretary who typed it said it was the right information: just as she typed it, just not the original document. So that’s equal to someone who takes a quote so out of context it’s just the opposite of what was being said? Equal to using that in a way to destroy a career and tell a lie: a damnable lie?

No one challenged that assessment. No one said, “Not quite the same.” No. Like Andrew Breitbart they edited out the truth and turned it into a lie. And the host let them get away with it without a single scratchy, shakey, whisper.

Don’t think I’ll listen to Ms. Rhem much anymore. And I certainly have just lost a whole lot of respect for her and her program.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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