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The Death of Spin

Hugh Hewitt | The Weekly Standard | Thursday, November 6, 2003

The Death of Spin

THE VERY BEST ASPECT of the decision by CBS to cancel its network showing of the Reagan miniseries was the first paragraph of CBS's statement explaining its decision:

CBS will not broadcast "The Reagans" on November 16 and 18. This decision is based solely on our reaction to the final film, not the controversy that erupted around a draft of the script.

Sure. And New Coke really did taste great. And Michael Dukakis is glad he rode in that tank. You can hear Jon Lovitz in the background going, "Yeah, yeah. That's the ticket. Nothing at all to do with the controversy."

The New York Times dutifully reported Barbra Streisand's angst--"today marks a sad day for artistic freedom"--and managed to find the nearly invisible Bill Maher, who intoned, "It looks so bad." The Times then solemnly editorialized that "CBS was wrong to yield to conservative pressure and yank it."

Everyone on the left seems to know that CBS crumbled under pressure, but CBS boldly asserts that it didn't. This stubborn refusal to cop to the facts is more significant than the movie itself. A network that just trotted out Uncle Walter to help celebrate its 75th birthday should be more circumspect in its lying.

There is a pervasive dishonesty running throughout elite media. CNN admitted its cover-up for Saddam earlier this year. The Los Angeles Times is still reeling from the fallout from its recall bias which it swears didn't exist. Maureen Dowd got caught slicing quotes to fit her needs, and now CBS is standing by its story on why it is not standing by its movie.

Truth is taking a beating on the left this fall. It turns out the entire "get real" Democratic debate on Tuesday night--with its turtle-necked general, its open-collared Senators, and its shirt-sleeved rolled, feisty stars-and-bars Vermonter--was contrived. CNN selected the audience, screened the questions, and even decided to which candidates those questions would be directed. "Rock the Vote" was as authentic as Velveeta. Al Sharpton dominated the debate. Al Sharpton!

None of this trifling with the truth is playing well because America is at war, and war demands seriousness. The elites continue to rage about talk radio and the blogosphere, but it doesn't look like anyone is buying their spin. Voters in Kentucky and Mississippi continued Terry McAuliffe's streak and the president keeps moving forward in a serious purposeful fashion.

Hugh Hewitt is the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show, a nationally syndicated radio talkshow, and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard. His new book, In, But Not Of, has just been published by Thomas Nelson.

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