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Greg Sargent Demands, But Doesn’t Give, Context for Alaska CBS Tape

Greg Sargent Demands, But Doesn’t Give, Context for Alaska CBS Tape

Greg Sargent, who for months has used his megaphone at The Washington Post to twist and turn almost every statement by Sharron Angle into a supposed call for violence or some other thing it was not, now demands Context! for the audio recording in which a CBS station in Alaska was caught planning negative coverage of a Joe Miller event.

Sargent misleadingly titles his blog post Alaska station says Breitbart Web site audio attack is bogus, but if you actually read his post, the quote from the Alaska station actually verifies that the recording was real.  So why the title?

Sargent goes on to suggest that the audio recording may be incomplete, but then acknowledges in an update (without updating the post title) that:

It’s possible that the audio Big Journalism posted is all that was recorded on the cell phone. But even if this were the case, running with this audio alone, if that was all that existed, seems pretty questionable.

So what else should they have run with, other than the complete audio recording?

That recording is pretty clear on its face that the reporters were hoping to find a “registered sex offender” in the crowd or capture a scuffle about which they could tweet and report.  Here is the relevant part of the transcript (full transcript available at Left Coast Rebel)(emphasis mine):

FEMALE VOICE: We know that out of all the people that will show up tonight, at least one of
them will be a registered sex offender.


MALE REPORTER: You have to find that one person


FEMALE REPORTER: And the one thing we can do is ….we won’t know….we won’t know but if there is any sort of chaos whatsoever we can put out a twitter/facebook alert: saying what the… ‘Hey Joe Miller punched at rally.’

FEMALE REPORTER: Kinda like Rand Paul…I like that.


FEMALE REPORTER: That’s a good one.

Notice the reporters are talking about what they are doing to do, not what someone else is going to do.  They will look for registered sex offenders in the crowd, or a fight, so that they can report on it.

That’s the context.  WaPo readers would know it if Sargent printed the transcript, which he has not done.

Once again, context is demanded for we, but not for thee.

Update:  Big Journalism makes the same point that the “context” actually contradicts the station’s defense.

Related Posts:
Greg Sargent Demands Context (for Rick Sanchez)
Greg Sargent Targets Sharron Angle, Hits WaPo
The War Against Sharron Angle Comes To WaPo

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Brazen isn't strong enough a word…

Thanks for reading Greg Sargent so we don't have too.

This reminds me of the JournoList scandal, where reporter Spencer Ackerman emailed to the JournoList group:
Take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.

That dishonest tactic was aimed at the spokesmen of conservatism. Take some statement, misinterpret it, assign bad motives, and ask what dark stain in their character makes them hold those (misinterpreted, misrepresented) beliefs.

The Alaska reporters wanted to extend this now standard strategy to a lowly attendee at a political rally for Joe Miller. Every large group has participants with bad records. Forget about what that group is saying and supporting as a group. Find a member of bad virtue, and apply the socialist Alinsky handbook: "Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It, and Polarize It". Propose that the attendee stand in for the entire group. For example, publish the ludicrous headline "Joe Miller attracts sex offenders to his rally".

Liberal reporters have commonly been doing this. One can see this in their reporting without knowing their backroom conversations. The strange thing is that many people will not believe what they see repeatedly with their own eyes, unless there is a confession on record from the back room.

Easy Opinions

To be clear, that example of a ludicrous headling is a speculation on what a newspaper could do. I don't know of that headline in reality.