Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
CBS hoax may be a defining moment..
Published on September 15, 2004 By Draginol In Current Events

Years from now I suspect they will be able to say that the Bush National Guard hoax on CBS's 60 News was the moment when "old media" jumped the shark. 

Jumping the shark is a term that refers to when something has passed its peak and is on its way down. It originates from a Happy Days episode where Henry Winkler as The Fonz, jumps a shark complete with leather jacket on.

Old media avoided covering Swift Boat Veterans where it could. Its controversial claims are considered dubious by some and with merit by others.  But this past week, CBS's 60 Minutes, which had ignored the charges of the Swift Boat Veterans had made against Senator Kerry, quickly, and apparently without sufficient consideration, did an in-depth interview on charges that Bush didn't complete his National Guard Service commitments.

The evidence for these claims largely came from a series of "newly discovered" documents allegedly written by now deceased Colonel Killian. Based on these documents, CBS's 60 Minutes gave significant air time to the claim that Bush didn't meet his National Guard duties and therefore has less credibility in what he says and does.

Here's a link to one of the documents:

What is surprising is how transparent the forgery is. It doesn't take an expert to look at these documents and recognize Times New Roman font, the perfect centering of the address at the top, the curly quotes, Word's 1.25 inch margins, the superscript, proportional fonts, word-wrap, etc..  Not exactly standard issue in 1973 typewriters. I mean, you just look at this and it screams "modern word processor".

But it wasn't CBS that caught this error but rather the blogsphere.

Here are just some of the sites that quickly exposed this pretty obvious hoax:

Already techs ites like and and many other such sites have taken over from "old media" when it comes to tech news.  But people have traditionally still thought that these web sites, these blogs, these "new media" lack the thoroughness and maturity that powerhouses like CBS News bring to the table.

And yet here we are, blogs ites and tech sites being right on top of things. It took until yesterday (Sept 14) for the cable news channels to finally start getting serious about this (i.e. taking a MS Word made version of the memo, printing it out, scanning it and overlaying it onto the alleged 1973 document). 

Increasingly, if you want accurate news quickly, new media seems to be the place to go.

Years from now, when Americans are mostly relying on electronic news compilation sources rather than network news to get their facts, people will be able to point out to this incident as the day old media jumped the shark.

on Sep 15, 2004
I could could not be more amazed (in a good way) at the way [most] of the media is covering the hoax. This could be the wake-up call that I believe most of the country needs concerning how far the media has run away. It is about time that the media is put on a leash (not by the government of course) by the viewers and therefore held responsible for their actions.
on Sep 15, 2004
Well first of all you turn on CNN or CBS or any other news network on TV, all your getting is a load of celebriety trash, they just feed you drama, and hype. The beauty of the Internet media, is that its forced into a text first of all (unless you down load clips of the news, which is just lame) so its alot easier to pick apart things, and to get quotes right. and then most of the sites come with forums, and the thing is, something you see on TV, its in one ear out the other. their just buying your time with pretty colors for ratings... An internet news site actually has to provide something to bring you back, and the biggest bonus of this is like i said when your sitting around watching TV your just sitting at home. the scope of discussion on what you see is actually quite limited. Where with forums and hoardes of other sites like this, the material gets shot around at increidble speeds, picked apart by thousands and thousands of people, and you very quickly see what it really is.
on Sep 15, 2004
I remember in school reading about a Washington-based national reporter who had an anti-Reagan slant to her stories... and the way they used to combat it was they would always pan over to the White House as she closed her stories, as the positive connotations of the office took the sting off her words. People remember seeing the WH, but they were hard pressed to tell you exactly what was said.
on Sep 16, 2004
"But respect has been slow coming as there was always the believe that there was something inherently less reliable about the news from a Neowin or a blog site or what not because they don't have the editorial controls that traditional media outlets such as the New York Times or network news have."

whoever trusted news papers anyway?

tbh a news outlet with no politically jaded editors can only be a good thing.
on Sep 16, 2004
One of the things new media has taught us (we should have known it before) is how important fact-checking is. CBS didn't. It isn't the first time or the only network. I thought old media (include newpapers as well as TV broadcast "News") "jumped the shark" years ago. Now I get all my news from radio (for local news) and the Internet (for everything else). I've got a set of usually reliable sources (which I still fact-check when something sounds too good or too bad).
on Sep 16, 2004
I don't think it's simply a matter of "old media" giving way to the newer, better, more accurate "blogosphere" or similar internet news outlets. However, I do think that blogs (and the like) might change the media and for the good. A recent poll of journalists shows that most think the bottom line and unrealistic expectations (supposedly based on competitionfor "scoops") are compromising the quality of journalism in this country. Some call this the "CNN effect" -- what 24 hour news has done to the well researched, well reasoned news story. What might happen is that blogs and some cable networks can duke it out for the up to the minute breaking story. Other news services might then get out of the "scoop" mentality and concentrate on more in-depth analysis. But maybe that is just a pipe dream...

One good thing. At least blogs and the internet seem to be offering a counterbalance to the concentration of the media into a few hands. Whether you are on the Left or Right or in the middle, we should all be very wary of media consolidation (choose your enemy: so-called "liberal bias" in the media or the alleged evil machinations of Rupert Murdoch).
on Sep 16, 2004
Have pity on Rather in his senility, he thought this was to be his last hurrah.
on Sep 17, 2004
amazing. Good point about old media. I learn more about what is up on the net then anywhere else. I have to say that 'jumping the shark' might have happened already. Then again news stations like Fox brings in new blood. I am sure CNN will follow or MSNBC.

Well, who knows what is next, but one thing for sure, blogs are here to stay.
on Sep 21, 2004
I still don't think it means the old media has "jumped the shark". The internet was supposedly going to be the death-knell for all old media - we probably read a lot of the same articles seven or eight years ago suggesting the same. Instead, people continue to turn to trusted sources - despite obvious missteps such as these - because the source is vetted, and the story examined by someone experienced.

While that process won't find every mistake, it's a lot better than the process at (which is no process, no vetting). However, bloggers WILL play an increasingly important role, in my opinion, in examining stories with a critical eye, and giving immediate feedback. In the old days, a few columnists might have written about this one, then it might have died. That's unlikely to happen in the future.

Old media die - nah? Old media vetted by the public - yah!