CBS Just Can’t Get Along with Bloggers?

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It was bloggers who forced CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather into early retirement, and yet CBS – at least somebody there – is still being condescending towards the new media.

How CBS Blew Up My Puff Piece
How CBS Blew Up My Puff Piece

This story began in pursuit of an ironic 300-word puff piece about somewhat of a catfight between MoveOn.org and CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. WebProNews is not in the habit of dabbling in political squabbles, lest they directly involve Internet and Web issues that affect online business. We also cover Web 2.0 and blogs – the new citizen media.

In short, we didn’t have a dog in this fight, and your humble author who, just like Ferris Bueller doesn’t believe in isms, would tell you he is neither Right nor Left, but maybe, if he had to label himself, is a John Stuart Mill Utilitarianist with Thomas Paine Libertarian tendencies and a slightly Aristotelian disdain for the unwashed masses* (so maybe you shouldn’t ask).

Regardless, WebProNews becomes involved because someone at CBS allegedly (a CBS spokeswoman was quite adamant about the "allegedly" part) insulted viewers who complained about Couric’s "softball" reporting from Iraq and mocked them for getting their information from blogs.

Oh, and Katie Couric’s publicist threatened to sue us, which also gets us involved in a much bigger way, and makes this story, much, much more newsworthy, but we’ll get to that later.  

The story begins this way:

MoveOn.org posted a scathing video on YouTube accusing Couric of not doing her job as a journalist and just parroting government talking points, and encouraged MoveOn members to email CBS to complain.

One such member, Errol Siegel of Austin Texas, heeded the call and emailed CBS Evening News on Monday, September 10, at 11:42 a.m, CST. He wrote:

I started watching Couric’s series of reports hoping to learn something valuable..  All I learned was that CBS is content to produce puff pieces scripted by the institutions it purports to be investigating.

I did not hear Couric push for real answers on one single issue!  She simply took everything she was told and parrotted it back to the masses.

I’m embarassed and saddened.  You should be too.

A reply to the email appearing to be from CBS Evening News, with the address Evening@cbsnews.com, arrived just 23 minutes later reading:

Actually most intelligent people were very impressed by the quality of our reports from Iraq and Syria …Apparently you missed most of the interviews that were done over there…imagine you got your information from a blog somewhere…

Siegel tells WebProNews, "I have spent years writing letters, sending e-mails, and making phone calls. This is the first time I have been personally insulted by a major news organization."

At CrooksAndLiars.com, a commentator named Dominic Lucarelli recounts a similar response to his complaint:

Sorry you didn’t get a chance to see much of the reporting from Iraq….if you had, you wouldn’t have written such a note…imagine all your info came from a blog…too bad.

"Not TOO condescending, eh?" remarks Lucarelli.

This is all very interesting to me, only because of the irony. It wasn’t too long ago that Dan Rather was shamed off the airwaves by the very medium CBS News is allegedly disparaging. This is the same medium that even the New York Times has credited as a viable news source, as bloggers are often first on the scene at major news events; Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.

It was also interesting to me that the once "liberal media" was now being accused of being a government mouthpiece, but I was more interested in confirming whether or not a representative of CBS made those remarks, and if I could talk to Katie to get her reaction to the accusations, to talk about the new media and how the established media is handling it.

When asked about the comments in the email, CBS Evening News Communications Manager Jennifer Farley (Couric’s publicist) said, "It’s very easy to make it look like it came from us," and would not confirm that the email came from CBS News, despite the email address. 

I understood the comment, "It’s very easy to make it look like it came from us," as well as other comments she made as a denial that CBS sent the email, and so, out of professional courtesy, not out of any type of journalistic requirement, I contacted Ms. Farley the next day (before I wrote the 300-word ironic puff-piece) to confirm CBS’s position.

I did it politely, because I’m from the South, thanked her for her time and wished her a nice day. My understanding: CBS denies sending the email, cannot confirm that it came from there.

A few minutes later, Ms. Farley, by telephone, insists that everything that was said yesterday was off the record, that CBS didn’t even have a "no comment" because there was nothing to comment on, and if I printed that I could expect to hear from CBS’s legal department. Very suddenly, then, she has turned my puff piece into a major story about a major network trying to bully a Web-publication with the threat of a SLAPP suit. And I am stunned by how she has transformed something routine into something newsworthy. 

I’m also aware (because she told me) that Ms. Farley graduated top of her class from Columbia Journalism School, and was quite willing to let me know how much I had to learn about journalism, but she should be at least vaguely familiar with the First Amendment, and that a source can’t just give information and say it’s "off the record" with any type of viable legal grounds. It’s a professional courtesy, not a legal mandate, and that courtesy sort of flies out the window when lawsuits are threatened.

But enough about me and Ms. Farley. Let’s get back to the email.

MoveOn traced the IP address of the email addressed from Evening@cbsnews.com, the one that would be very easy to make look like came from CBS to, which resolves to a mail server at CBS Inc., 524 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019.

Adam Green, Civics Communications Director for MoveOn.org, says, "It’s a real problem when big media corporations like CBS refuse to ask tough questions challenging President Bush’s lies about Iraq, yet feel fine threatening little-guy online news sites for daring to hold CBS accountable."

Yeah, well, we’re not that little. We can hold our own. And though the New York Times mistakenly called me a blogger, I didn’t take any offense, just appreciated the name drop, and that at least some part of the established media recognizes the power of citizen journalism, and that the new media has the right – and ability – to stand up to the old media.


*Warning: Philosophical joke. It’s hard to be at once humble and Aristotelian; this is in no way a swipe at the poor or the homeless, but meant only as a way of expressing a distrust of mob rule, and therefore a preference for representative democracy rather than direct democracy.

CBS Just Can’t Get Along with Bloggers?
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  • Imajoebob

    Any fifth grader knows that you can click “expanded header” or “more information” and get a trace of an email message. And if it doesn’t tell you the owner of the address there are only about a bazillion web sites that can fill in the blank for you.

    That’s just embarrassing, saying it might not have been from CBS.

  • Steve

    How would anyone other than CBS even be in a position to respond to the guy’s email, 20 minutes after it was sent? Are they under the impression he cc’ed it to the whole world?

    • http://www.slugsite.com Nemo

      I think the inference was that the guy was just making stuff up, to make CBS look bad… not that they evidently need help in that department.

  • Timroff

    As a working journalist, I have never agreed to keep something “off the record” unless it was agreed to IN ADVANCE. you can’t retroactively ask for something to be off the record after you’ve said it, especially if I’m taping the interview and haven’t turned off my recorder — which is how I separate the two. Asking for something to be off the record after the fact is like aking for your virginity cback once you’ve lost it. Just can’t be done, sorry.

  • Jim Randell

    the person you are arguing with starts quoting their resume.

  • Sirocco

    Just to second the above posters comment, it’s well understood within the journalistic profession if something is agreed to be “off the record” IN ADVANCE then it’s off the record. Trying to take it off the record retroactively doesn’t work.

    Now, having said that … as a practical matter if the person in question may not really understand how things work (i.e., is not someone who regularly deals with journalists) I will usually give them one free pass, move a comment they regret making to “off teh record” status, take the time to explain how “off the record courtesy works” – and then they never get a free pass again.

    Ms. Farley, however, certainly knows better, and wouldn’t qualify for my “free pass” exception.

  • Avvorio

    I sent an email to the NewsHours asking why David Brooks was comparing Osama’s latest video content to left type organgization blogs. I said that I had noticed this apparent “right-wing talking point” from several commentators, written and verbal since the video was aired. Thought Brooks was out of line but realized he is very conservative and often carried that line. The NewsHour sent me an almost page long email saying that Brooks had not done this, Osama had done this and instead of an apology from him, I should have asked the NewsHour to make him explain his remarks with more clarity. I think this mainstream organizations have decided to try to intimidate people espousing a certain viewpoint on an issue. The email specifically stated that I probably had been asked to write by DailyKos or some other left group. I was so amused.

    • Mauimom

      I guess the trade association for MSM “news” broadcasts held some sort of a teach-in, or sent out a press release, to let its “members” know that the latest talking point to refute criticism is to blame it on bloggers.

      Hell, they probably also think all bloggers are Dirty F****ing Hippies typing in mom’s basement in their pjs.

  • http://supak.com Scott Supak

    So, this:

    “…a John Stuart Mill Utilitarianist with Thomas Paine Libertarian tendencies and a slightly Aristotelian disdain for the unwashed masses…”

    Means you used to be a Republican, until they lost their minds?

    • Jason Lee Miller

      I said you probably shouldn’t ask…but since you did…

      I did used to be a Republican and I am severely disappointed in how the current Republicans are handling things — you know — in quite un-republican type ways…however, the older I’ve gotten, the more liberal I’ve become as I’ve observed the real world in action and realize that sometimes people need help and sometimes programs are quite necessary and that sometimes the government needs to step in, and the gov’t has no business in our sex life or faith…yadda yadda…the John Stuart Mill part of me says whatever promotes the most happiness among the populace, right? and the libertarian says keep the gov’t out of it until the populace needs protection from things they can’t protect themselves from (which is in line with the happiness philosophy I think) and the Aristotelian part of me says that the general public knows nothing of either of these philosophies and shouldn’t be left to its own devices entirely (don’t forget Nietzche and his distrust of the mob as well)…but I can be a snob sometimes while standing up for the rights of the ignorant simultaneously — call it a philosophy of parodox

      which brings me to the crux of the matter…my full feelings, which tell me that all philosophies are prisons because they exclude valid points of other good philosophies that might be right at least some of the time and we should draw from them when necessary…saying that all philosophies are prisons is an ironic stance in itself, for it is by definition a philosophy, but if contradiction and paradox are good enough for God, they’re good enough for me.

      Just sayin’, not everybody’s always right all the time, and part of the problem, if may be so bold to assume I’m right at least this time, is that we have two sides in our country these days that are no longer allies with common goals and a disagreement on how to achieve them, but are instead brandishing each other enemies and traitors from within (the words "liberal" and "conservative" or more recently "neocon" have raised to the level of racial slurs, at least, are said with as much hatred)…and that, I think, is sad and dangerous.

      What I believe in most is liberty. My hero is Thomas Jefferson and, quite bluntly, I think he’d be really mad at us.

      In a nutshell…that’s what I meant, and I meant it when you probably shouldn’t ask…after all, this isn’t a political publication. :-)

      • Sherry R

        You are now a Democrat? I don’t claim to be anything. It’s hard I know, but I try to vote for the issue or the person instead of the party. I hate it when people place tags on everything. However, I will say this, the Republicans, specifically Mr. Bush, has ruined this party. AND, I don’t want to see the government take over my life, thank you. The government is too big as it is. So, what do we do now? I see a revolution coming down the pike. As for your dilemma, we all have to take a stand for something in life – sooner or later.

        • Jason Lee Miller

          not Democrat either…don’t care for them for completely different reasons…

          If you must know, I’m registered Libertarian…with an open mind, but don’t ask me to join any groups…sooner or later I’ll disagree with the herd…

      • http://www.osgfx.com Scott Adie

        The labels won’t stick, I am teflon. I have found that labels are a positioning tatic to establish a base to fight from or put someone else in a disadvantaged position to be able to assault more readily. On everything it is best to be pragmatic, waive our emotions, faithfully study the cause and effect of issues and pursue the most practical compromise available. There are black and white issues on everyone’s palette, including my own, but for the most part, we live in a very gray world.

  • http://www.newsgroper.com/katie-couric/ MJM

    Read the piece above, and found it pretty interesting.

    I do the fake Katie Couric blog on newsgroper.com, and while I wasn’t all that keen on Couric before she went to Iraq, I’ve been quite interested in reactions to her work afterwards. Thanks for the insight.

    Here’s the latest entry, if you want to read it. http://www.newsgroper.com/katie-couric/2007/09/17/catcher-lie/

  • fred mertz

    katie couric is only a softball player. it would be fairer to take to task those social engineers who have assigned her to the position of poilitical know-it-all/ journalist.

    she is a light-headed, pleasant talking head who should have her own gardening show in san diego.

    the fault lies entirely with the corporate goons who continue to subvert the purpose of the free press by massaging it ever more entirely into a mass-media message delivery system controlled by capitalist oligarchs.

    i would suggest strongly that you consider writing a script for a project about suing cbs for harassment in order to report to the world what the results of such an experience will be – sort of an adventure novel. then go ahead and live it. sue the columbia flunky who threatened you, let the cbs lawyers prevaricate about whether they should pay for her defense, prepare for slanderous stories front-paged on every news outlet of the western world, and see if you can win your court case. i think you have a defensible position, don’t you?

    sue the bastards back.

  • bob phillips

    well, I hadn’t read anything of yours until
    the puff piece article. didn’t visit cbs pages.

    here I am reading yours… that’s journalism
    for you ;)

    somebody ought to have a money meter for
    the money spent being snide to customers…

    cost/benefit of snideness

  • jet

    Better be careful, it looks like Jennifer might be a commando, A LOVE commando!


    [She] sometimes need[s] to buy a half-size up in clogs to accomodate the slightly broad, very high arch of [her] pedicured, yoga-stretched, regularly treated to reflexology feet.

    If it is her, man she sounds like a royal pain in the ass – No wonder she’s still single!

  • maddashell_womaninnj

    This is why CBS and FOX are not even on my remote control. I have them blocked out. Couric-like reporting is on the rise, and Americans have to say HECK NO to this stuff. If you send CBS or Fox to report on anything political, what can you expect? Junk just like Bush. Junk!

  • p_lukasiak

    “It was also interesting to me that the once “liberal media” was now being accused of being a government mouthpiece….”

    Gee, I guess you MISSED all the controversy over the “so called liberal media” and its stenographic reporting on Bush administration claims regarding WMDs in Iraq….

    • Jason Lee Miller

      I didn’t go into that much did I?

      Just meant, that a few years back, during the period you’ve mentioned, conservative pundits were continuously lambasting the mainstream media (and still do today, I understand) for being liberally slanted. I thought it was an interesting turn of events, a shift in things…didn’t mean to imply one thing or another, just an observation.

  • JL

    I think Katie made a great job… a bullshit for those naysayers

  • TekBoss

    Just read your piece about CBS bullying you. Well done. I’ll be back.

    Oh and give them hell. They like to wave their credentials and then parrot everybody else. God forbid they should do actual work.

  • clamdigger


  • LRicci

    Sad to hear CBS unable to behave professionally and then try to hide. Gee. They sound like one of the culprits 60 Minutes uncovers.

  • http://dalkoyo.wordpress.com dal Koyo

    I think what it is boiling down to is that ‘professional’ journalists are starting to feel threated by bloggers that have eye-witness accounts and are not controlled by specific media political agenda. Imagine real information coming directly from the place it happened within a few seconds of the event.

    Has anyone out there seen ‘raw’ video of an event from a mainstream source without any verbal comments? Maybe it indicates ‘get the video first and then fill in the blanks with our interpretation’. Something like shot first, and ask (soft) questions later?

    • Cynic

      The msm is petrified of the blogosphere, because 1. you can’t call bullshit when you’re watching CBS (or anyone else)….no comments section, and turning it off (as did the WaPo is even worse) and 2. You can have something up a few seconds after it happens. All you need is a cellphone camera or a little better digital camera, a cell phone, and a Youtube account.

      Well, too bad. They lose

  • Dan

    Thanks for having the courage to post this news story. CBS (and all of the networks, but especially CBS) have been lying to us for years. It’s nice to see someone have the guts to stand up against them. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.osgfx.com scott adie

    Actually, no the News Media is not held to certain standards. It takes self-policing to accomplish that and the mainstream News Media aborted any semblance of self-regulated standards and policies years ago. If fact today, there are one of our best resources if we want to see what anarchy can accomplish. They control so much of our exposure to the world outside of our individual spheres of existance as to have more ‘power of the press’ than at any other time in US history.
    They are totally fearful of bloggers access to their markets for fear that some of us may actually learn the truth or generate an opinion based on something other than the propaganda they spew forth on a daily basis. MORE POWER TO THE BLOGGERS!
    Whether from the News Media or the Bloggers, it is up to each individual to sift through the grain, keep the wheat and throw away the chaff. The mainstream media is in trouble and that’s really GOOD FOR AMERICA!

  • Sherry R

    I discount ANYTHING the major news networks tell me because I have seen time and time again discrepancies in their reporting. No, I am not left or right either – I just want the real NEWS, not some version of a reporter’s views. It just isn’t there anymore. They all have specific agendas – mainly political agendas that cry ‘foul’ to me. I stopped watching ABC, CBS, NBC – period. THEY HAVE NO CREDIBILITY and I don’t know why you even waste your time quarrelling with them. How do I get my news? the drudge report and other outlets via the web. Now, maybe that sounds drastic to some of you, but I don’t see that there are any better in the major news networks. Take the Dan Rather incident. How can you believe anything they say after that fiasco? Their news is either bias towards the left or one big Dan Rather lie.

  • Sal

    Welcome… To the beginning of the end, Old Media! :)

  • Sal

    I stopped watching and reading the news from major publications a long time ago… Thousands of people every day are realizing it’s just a bunch of nonsense. It’s only a matter of time before the “sheep” are a minority in America.

    If CBS, Fox and all the rest of ‘em want to stay in business, they’d better start being honest now or it’s only a matter of time before no one will be watching (or listening).

  • http://OnlineErie.com Dave Martin

    It’s not that CBS can’t get along with bloggers…it’s CBS can’t get along with ANYBODY that dares question their reporting.

    As we have long surmised, large news organizations are obviously puppets of the government. Are the news organizations afraid they will be whisk off in the cloak of darkness for questioning the government? What is the price of honesty…
    who really knows, we can’t seem to find it.

    Blog on America!

  • steve

    If, as Jason Lee Miller claims, bloggers had anything to do with “forcing” the early retirement of one of Americas most celebrated, award winning and conscientious news anchors; Dan Rather, then indeed “bloggers” deserve the reputation Mr. Miller claims they might have… poor.

    Lets get a clue here? It is beyond doubt that America’s mainstream news services have been half asleep during the assault on anything approaching reason or intelligence during the last 7 years and indeed, some bloggers have striven to make up for some of it. But, and its a big one, any old crap can be posted on a blog or the internet without the slightest fact or reason. 90% of it is pure biased opinion.

    Mainstream media sources are still held, or in the case of Fox News, supposed to be held to some semblance of journalistic integrity. Otherwise you get Mr. Millers very point about repercussions as in the case of Mr. Dan Rather suffering a lack of his fellow newsmens due diligence in launching the story that led to his demise.

    I would say, given the short time blogs have actually existed, they get a surprising amount of attention and credibility from the more traditional news sources.

    When in fact, 90% of it… is still crap.

    Best Regards,

  • Tim

    Long live Freedom of the Press!!!

  • Don Eilenberger

    Stopped reporting on the news – and became talking heads parroting whatever spin they were fed decades ago.

    The problem is – the Emperor doesn’t want anyone to see they’re wearing no clothes, although they know full well they’re standing there starkers for any intelligent person to see…

    CBS news obviously views any new medium as being a threat to some very well paying jobs, and instinctively reacts to them by attacking and denigrating the value of the medium. The problem they’re having is – the new medium in this case – is more honest than they are, more up to date and more trusted. TV news lost their trust by the people of the US about the time they started looking at themselves as entertainment.

    Using Blogs and RSS feeds – it’s possible for a computer literate person to get the news they want from the sources they trust. I regularly read the WSJ, Fortune and Forbes – all via RSS feeds. Between the three – I get a balanced view of the news of the day, not distracted by “Murder at 11..” or “Medical Breakthrough? At 11..” and I don’t miss it at all.

    Sorry CBS – you’re old media an becoming increasingly irrelevant to modern society.

  • Josh Bowers

    Awesome! Blogs and Mainstream media are matched equally then! They are both full of crap.

    At least on the internet you have a little more control over the crap.

    One other benefit the internet has over mainstream news is we don’t have to watch those stupid Viagra commercials! So, that in itself makes online news the winner.

  • http://www.christianmontoya.net Montoya

    I just want everyone to know that I HATE CBS!!! I think Katie Couric is spineless and if she’s been receiving any positive reviews for her work lately, it’s probably just from people who support the war and don’t really care what the anchors are saying.

  • http://bitchslappin.net bj

    Bloggers are the ones who are trying to have net neutrality reinstated, which might someday take away Katie’s cushy job. Mainstream Media wants to turn the internet into more Home Shopping Network and Bud TV so they can sell us more corporate goods made in China while feeding us “important news” like who impregnated Anna Nicole Smith and how fat Britney is (she isn’t. But that’s a whole ‘nother rant about Male Owned Mainstream Media and Media Consolidation.) Meanwhile us wild wild westerners here on the frontier that is the Internet want to decide what we want to see, read, and report. Imagine that!

    We bloggers are also the ones who got NBC slapped down for selling advertising on “Disney owned Radio stations” that were run by right wing hate mongering bigots. We outed Bush’s trashing of oversight in the DOJ, the DOI and the EPA, we reported on the Spectrum Auction and how important it is to US Citizens (while Mainstream Media, most of whom are also ISPs, would like us to stay asleep about it.) We are the ones who are making sure that the FCC meetings on Media Consolidation are well attended by people other than Mainstream Media shills.

    No wonder they’re trying to disparage us. We scare them to death.

    And they should be scared. Very, very scared.

  • Ron Russell

    We stand behind you. As everyone knows, CBS is owned by GE Corp and it’s hard to be objective about a war as a news agency when your parent company is the establishment and a defense contractor. GE has a long history of fraud as a defense contractor and has paid the US Government billions of dollars over the years in penelties for its fraudulant activities in selling to the Defense Dept. It’s not a surprise that they use such tactics on you for wanting to hold them accountable.

    Ronald Russell

    • Jake

      Actually, GE owns NBC, not CBS. CBS Corp. runs CBS News.

  • http://www.wizodd.com Charles M Barnard

    Given the seeming inability of any of the mainstream media in the US to relay ANY news of real importance with accuracy–and their consistent habit of publishing government and industry press releases as news, without any vetting, investigation or questioning of the “facts,” I’d say we have a strong psychological case of projection–seeing your own flaws in someone else.

    While it is incredibly obvious that Fox News stopped being accurate many years ago, the other news outlets are only a step away.

    The mainstream media may have once been held to journalistic standards, but that was long ago in my youth, Today, if one questionable source with a vested interest in a story confirms something, it’s considered truth.

    Bloggers may not be held to the same standard (I think they are actually being held to higher standards, as they are the first to be questioned about their information by other people.)

    But bloggers don’t tell 200+ million people a “true” report–verified or not.

    The very volume of information distributed by mainstream media multiplies the impact of their lies, misstatements and un-verified stories–affecting far more people than any blogger.

    Case in point is the method used to discredit those who felt, even early after 9/11 that there were major discrepancies in the official story of what happened–Fox “interviewers” resorted to calling people liars and talking over their statements–this is high standards journalism?

    The only way to get any accurate news for the past 10+ years has been to check multiple overseas sources.

    At the height of the cold war, Pravda was more truthful than today’s US media–and when they lied, that was done better too.

    Democracy demands an informed citizenry–if their main sources of information deliver crap, the citizens are merely slaves.

    All of these things have created a government which, instead of serving the people, as it was intended, serves only it’s self and plays Master to the people.

    The Government is supposed to work on our behalf, not have us work on it”s behalf.

    It’s true, you get the government you deserve. Decades of assuming that there are only 2 parties–and that there was some actual difference between them. Of voting for “a winner” rather than the best person for the job. Of voting based upon a candidate’s stated stance on a single issue–and not calling them on it when they fail to follow through.

  • http://9planetreviews.com/blog.shtml John Stankiewicz

    Hi Jason,

    I’d like to say that you wrote a great article! Ok, you DID write a good article.

    I’m a blogger and some of us great unwashed out there do know what’s going on. We know that the MEDIA is, for the most part, controlled, that’s why all the paroting.

    We also know the truth about 911, that it was an inside demolitions job. Anyone with any reasoning ability can come to that conclusion, and based on a lot of evidence that is readily available.

    And finally, yes, the new media IS challenging the old (controlled) media, at least for now. More and more folks are getting online and finding out the truth!

    Keep up the good work Jason. And thanks for standing up.


    • Jason Lee Miller

      thanks John…

      I updated the article with a disclaimer about the "unwashed masses" part considering the response that comment has gotten…I don’t want to come across snobby: here’s that disclaimer

      *Warning: Philosophical joke. It’s hard to be at once humble and Aristotelian; this is in no way a swipe at the poor or the homeless, but meant only as a way of expressing a distrust of mob rule, and therefore a preference for representative democracy rather than direct democracy.

      need to learn to stay away from the philosophy jokes…they’ve bitten me before :-)

  • jtf

    Although I agree that the “old media” has not come to grips (and maybe even resents) the “new media”, I don’t think that the email replies from CBS are an example of such. Just judging from the quotes in your article, it seems to that the replies are a denouncement of the complainant rather than a hit at bloggers.

    Someone at CBS probably got hit with several hundred identical complaints instigated by the MoveOn call-to-arms and recognized them for what they were; “seminar” or “call-to-action” complaints identified as mass complaints that parrot the views of the party making the call to action. They are readily identified when you get hundreds of identical emails or calls all making the same “points”.

    The person at CBS was probably (correctly or incorrectly) commenting on the fact that most of these persons making the complaints did not watch the series themselves, but were simply parroting the complaints of the person or organization that reported on the series to them.

    I am not saying this is right or wrong, or even commenting on the legitimacy or efficacy of “call to action” campaigns. I am just illustrating why I don’t think that the emails were a denigration of bloggers.

    CBS’s subsequent actions with regard to denials and threats, however, is another issue…

  • http://www.simegen.com/staff/midge/ Midge Baker

    I agree that the major mainstream news media should be held accountable. I also agree that CBS’s use of cyberbullying was uncalledfor.

    I like that you are sticking up for the “little guys”.

    I dislike your comment about having “disdain for the unwashed masses”.

    Having been homeless, I an extremely aware that getting to bathe is a luxury at times. Beware of what you say. I hold you accountable, too, for your words and actions. This “little guy” fan of yours was at one time an unwilling member of those “unwashed masses.” Disdain us? For shame!

    • Jason Lee Miller

      I’m sorry about that…I meant it only as a figure of speech (and as a bit of a philisophical joke that, obviously, failed), and in no way was a swipe at the homeless. Only in political terms, Aristotle and, later, Nietzche (can’t spell Nietsczhe)…had a profound distrust of the mob, for various reasons that influenced the development of representative democracy rather than direct democracy, and that’s all I meant.

      sorry about the misunderstanding…but like I said, I’m open minded…I might become more populist as time goes on…we’ll see

  • Joe Tedesco

    Though I know being a journalist is difficult, what with the demand of the newest thing and deadlines, etc. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be a journalist (hence the lousy pay). Main stream media is seeing regular Joe’s researching and uncovering more, or more accurate at any rate, info on a subject than they themselves do and the powers that be are threatened by this new trend.

    • David A. Utter

      Are you referring to the same rocket scientists who mixed up English and metric measurements for the Mars Climate Orbiter, and scattered the probe across the Martian landscape?

      Or maybe you mean the ones who installed the gravity sensors backwards on Genesis, which caused it to crater into the ground in Utah?

      No one’s perfect, journalists, rocket scientists, or abusive potty-mouthed communications directors for network news anchors.

  • http://commart.typepad.com James Oppenheim

    I’ve learned as a blogger how much energy it takes to follow a story from more primary news sources. It’s not easy, but it provides us with a chance to compare and cut through information, formulate opinion, and mark our notes along with so many pundits in print.

    Blogging need not be about having a stance and sifting for the news the best supports it; it can be about looking over reports from such events as the student offensive at Lal Masjid in Pakistan or the AQ-type invasion of Lebanon by Fatah al-Islam through the Palestinian camp at Nahr al-Bared and looking for overarching truths or lessons out of such stories in terms of their contribution to global culture and our understanding of contemporary politics.

    Best regards,


  • Charles Read

    I have to say I never expected to agree with anything that MoveOn.Org (The Clinton House Organ)had to say. But they are right network news does suck. Now if they would just complain on how CBS does not represent the real views(socialist and elitist) of Hilary Clinton I would have seen/heard everything. LOL

    • Peter Lortz

      A fight between MoveOn.org and CBS. How much better can it get! Each represent the worst use of two media. They deserve each other- may neither win, but just fight on.

  • Jim

    The part of this story that struck me to be the funniest is where you mentioned “…that bloggers are not held to the same standards as the mainstream press….”

    I don’t believe that the mainstream press has any standards! They all have their own political agenda, which is quite apparent when you really watch a newscast or read a story.

    Nice job Jason! Don’t let the bastards keep ya down!

  • Earl Roland Wilson

    Mr.Miller, if you would ever meet me in person, you
    would assign me to the plebeian horde that you have”disdain” for, so do me a favor. Do not send me

    P.S. yes, I do know I’m using a Roman term for a
    commoner. but I’m not a right-wing elitist snob
    whom cannot handle the fact that he is a right-wing
    elitist snob so to sooth one’s psyche, call oneselves a “libertarian”.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      that failed philosophical joke really struck a nerve, a joke because "humble" and "aristotelian" don’t really go to together…i thought about leaving it out…my colleague david utter said I probably should…

      really was just saying I didn’t ascribe to anything specific, and didn’t trust the mob, understand…just kidding around

      "unwashed masses" is just a figure of speech…and I was only playing, no need to be offended…power to the people was sort of the point

  • Suzanne Renaud

    Let’s face it, unless you are independently wealthy and don’t owe your wealth to anyone or anything, you are always going to be “watching your back” most of the time. Except when your ego and pride get in the way. THEN, you find yourself back-peddling like crazy and trying make yourself look better after the fact. Every generation has its “bloggers” – how about the hippies of the 60’s vs the Establishment? – yet I would NEVER silence anyone, and the day that this country allows THAT to happen, we may as well kiss our lives good-bye. Since we do not vote worth a darn and we certainly do not seem interested enough as a country to really tune into C-span and listen to those “wonderful” people we have elected act like morons, I suppose blogging is the next best (and perhaps laziest) thing to do as a “free” society. Everyone has an agenda. I am very glad, though, that more and more people are openly questioning our government, our policies, but most of all our president! It’s a shame that the so called mainstream media can’t do this more regularly (except of course for Jon Stewart).

  • http://www.cornermark.com Tom Brewitz

    One of the issues that I cannot seem to get passed with the media is the way they disregard the evidence of Saddam Hussein’s shadowy connections to virtually every attack on America from his failed suicide bomber attack on Bush Sr. to the fact that the Czechs never backed down from their claim that Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi Consul in Prague resulting in the particular Consul, Ani, being booted out of the country prior to 9/11 air and anthrax attacks.

    There is so much evidence that the Democrat Party Media just plain dismisses. Anyway, here are just a few. Best wishes, Jason.

  • http://www.kylelawrence.com Kyle Lawrence

    I read the story about the little squabble between CBS and bloggers (which, as I blogger, I don’t have any desire to be a journalist, but I do make sure I use credible sources in my posts)…anyway, I found the story interesting, I have one question for the masses though:
    Haven’t we already learned that CBS is an untrustworthy, power-hungry, “look at us” type of corporation which doesn’t care to tell true, honest, informative news, but simply seeks to push whichever agenda will increase their revenue the most?
    I know you asked for opinions, I’m sorry I could only post facts, :-)

  • Jim Marshall

    Bravo! Let ‘em have it! They are not journalists; just a spineless bunch of a– kissers…

  • http://www.lbsglobe.com David Williams

    I didn’t watch Katie Couric in Iraq, but I find it incredible that anyone would accuse her of being a government mouthpiece. After all, this is the person who dressed (all in black), looked, and acted as if she was in mourning the day after George W. Bush was re-elected. She couldn’t disguise her liberal bent if her life depended on it.

  • http://ottoblotto.blogspot.com Natalie Schorr

    Bloggers have every right to criticize the government, the news media, and each other. Thousands of Americans over hundreds of years have given us that right. Sorry if it doesn’t agree with CBS, or the government at hand currently.

  • Thom Johnson


    Nothing pertaining to the blogging incident, but the news in general. It is true that the news is run by big business who in turn are controlled by the government. This is all common knowledge.

    My big concern is the cover-up of 911. The no sign of a plane dragging through the grass at the Pentagon, the removal of tapes from the cameras which had a view of the incident, the lack of debris at the impact site. The coercion of survivors telling them it was a plane that struck the building, this is a fine example of brainwashing.

    Did the media investigate? No. The government said it was a plane, case closed.

    World Trade Center, hmmm tiny building falls, was it the intended target? Tax information, important government documents, is this the true target covered up by the twin towers?

    What were the explosions on the lower floors which brought the towers down? Were there explosives planted a few days earlier by the insurance/inspection team to bring the towers down? No questions by the media. They took for granted what the gov’t said was gospel and repeated it to the masses.

    Oklahoma bombing, why were the ATF departments empty that day? No one noticed and no questions were asked. Makes you wonder who the good guys are doesn’t it?

  • http://www.joeknockz.com Joe Knockz

    After reading this article I emailed ABC with this:

    How about those of you who respond to these emails (yes, that would be YOU the one reading this) reply with more professional answers?

    Responding to someones concern that Katie Couric lacks to push for real answers on issues with this:

    “Actually most intelligent people were very impressed by the quality of our reports from Iraq and Syria

    • http://www.joeknockz.com joe knockz

      i meant cbs, ha, whatever..

  • http://mousecount.com Kathy Bunn

    The essence of this story is nothing new it is as old as the internet itself. I run into this kind of insulting & belittling from other industries that rather fight the credibility of the internet and it’s active members than go with the flow. I can tell you horror stories of the print media who purposely make any internet graphic designer walk through the fire of hell before they will accept a design created by a web based designer. Main reason is the very core of their old way of doing things is dieing and they fight the last throngs of their death. Think how terrible it was and is from all those print houses when Staples and Kinko’s took over the world.

    I image it is the same way now for the news industry …. the old way of doing their business is on the way out. They feel the noose tightening and they be little the very thing that is evolving into a higher form of life. I was on the internet when the wall in Germany came down. I and others where in chatrooms with the very people ending the divided Berlin. How very exciting to be a part of such a world event …. and it was the infant internet that gave the people in Germany the encouragement to do what they did.

    That is when I realized the power of the net ….. that the old ways were soon to die. This great mass of the common man/women had the power to take down Communism …. to spread words of hope to those under Taliban rule ….. and become the loving embrace of those who suffered loss in 911.

    We are there CBS …. in fact we are not only there we are involved …. not only the eyes and ears but the very essence of what it is you report. How sad you turn a blind eye to what the internet is….. it is all of us.

  • Fred Wilson

    Nothing makes CBS look more “big brother” than threatening lawsuits when other journalists ask questions. I imagine the other network news organizations are salivating over this…

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