SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

AND NOW…PEGGY NOONAN. In today’s OpinionJournal, Peggy Noonan tackles Rathergate, the Whitewash Report and the future of media. In a nutshell, Noonan declares Old Media/Legacy Media’s monopoly over—as the Rathergate/Whitewash Report makes clear.

I do take some exception to Noonan’s describing the refusal of the Whitewash Report to discuss the bias of the CBS crew as “annoying.” She insists that it wasn’t within the purview of their charge. But quite frankly, if a Report can call things what they are, then they are only of questionable value. Furthermore, some of the CBS folks have—as bloggers have noted—taken the Report’s refusal to proclaim their bias and the fraudulence of the memos as something of a mild vindication.

In any event, Noonan concludes by giving something of a picture of the future of media:

…A world where National Review is defined as conservative and Newsweek defined as liberal would be a better world, for it would be a more truthful one. Everyone gets labeled, tagged and defined, no one hides an agenda, the audience gets to listen, consider, weigh and allow for biases. A journalistic world where people declare where they stand is a better one.

Amen to that, Peggy Noonan. A great source of frustration with many Americans is the fact that many folks in Old Media/Legacy Media routinely engage in agenda-driven journalism, but try to masquerade as fair, neutral and even-handed. An admittedly biased journalist will get more credibility with folks than one who falsely maintains that he or she is impartial.

Noonan then offers a vision for the future role of the Networks:

…The days when they could sell a one-party point of view is over…But everyone will buy the networks when they sell what they're really good at, which is covering real news as it happens. Tsunamis, speeches, trials--events. Real and actual news. They are really good at that. And there is a market for it…

Plus, Hugh Hewitt offers a provocative article at Weekly Standard today entitled “A Cover-up is a Cover-up,” comparing the Rathergate cover-up with other cover-up operations, including the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal.

(Twilight Zone, USA)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

ONE MORE RATHERGATE/WHITEWASH REPORT REFERENCE. David Limbaugh is back from a few days of light blogging to give his take on the disappointing Whitewash Report and Dan Rather's reaction. He makes a few going points worth reading.

(Parts Unknown, USA)
CLOUD OVER THE INAGURATION. Be sure to read Dino Rossi's statement concerning the inaguration of ex-AG Christine Gregoire--available at Sound Politics. Stefan Sharkansky continues to do an amazing job in leading that VERY IMPORTANT blog.

Unfortunately, the staff editorial at OpinionJournal is not so enthusiastic about the prospect of a re-vote. Voters in Washington State, however, are of a different mind. (Again, see Sound Politics for more.) A better view is presented by Hindrocket at Powerline, who concludes by asking: "why isn't this a scandal?"

(Somewhere, USA)
TODAY'S RATHERGATE/WHITEWASH REPORT READING. Go to Powerline an excellent critique of Dorothy Rabinowitz's article on the Whitewash Report. The BIG TRUNK is EXCACTLY right in taking the Panel to task for its almost unreachable burden of proof in this matter (i.e., "metaphysical uncertainty).

(An Undisclosed Location, USA)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

MORE MUST READING ON RATHERGATE AND THE WHITEWASH REPORT. In "It's Worse Than You Thought ">"It's Worse that You Thought," Jonathan V. Last of Weekly Standard digs deeper into the recent Rathergate Report. Also be sure to keep your eye on Ratherbiased.com. Likewise, Prestopundit has much to say on this (and much praise for Sound Politics and the diligent work of Stefan Sharkansky).

Last's latest makes it all the more unfathomable as to how this Report can fail to acknowledge that these fake documents are really FAKE! If the Commission can't face up to the facts and call things for what they are, then it was pointless to call for it in the first place? But the top-tier bloggers aren't going to sit still for this and I expect the swarming over Rathergate and the Whitewash Report to continue. Perhaps we will get a Congressional investigation out of this.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
GONZALES LIKELY TO GET THE GREEN LIGHT. Today's Washington Times' political blog (registration required) contains a post by correspondent James Lakely, who predicts that Judge Alberto Gonzales WILL be confirmed as the next U.S. Attorney General.

As expected, Senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy bomarded Judge Gonzales with a string of misleading and unfair attacks upon his performance as White House Counsel. See Rich Lowry's NRO article "Bring it On" for a much-needed corrective concerning some of the more ridiculous charges levelled against Judge Gonzales.) However, Lakely is of the view that Judge Gonzales will make it through the Senate:

The Democrats will bloody Mr. Gonzales to extract the damage they could not inflict on Mr. Bush before Election Day. Condoleezza Rice will get the same rough treatment when she faces the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later this month. But both will be confirmed, and the White House will continue to take the high ground by not retaliating or even rising to publicly defend their nominees.


Lakely goes on to say that President Bush is saving his political muscle for other battles--including the nominations ot the Supreme Court. This is consistent with the views related to me last week by a staffer at a high-powered DC-area think-tank.

But just because Judge Gonzales is likely to survive the confirmation process, there is absolutely NO REASON to let either left-wing interest groups or Old Media/Legacy Media/MSM folks get away with slandering Judge Gonzales' record and his character. The blogosphere needs to hold these folks accountable for their misleading portrayal of Judge Gonzales. Again: read Lowry's NRO piece. I read over some documention on these matters over my Christmas break and Lowry's assessment is right on the money.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
THE LAST WORD: WHITEWASH. Must reading is Jonathan V. Last's article "Whitewash," in the Weekly Standard. He takes the Commission Report to task for its inability to call things as they really are. Says Last:

Surely the blue-ribbon report had the responsibility not merely to critique CBS standards and practices, but to help us find out the truth about the incident at hand. To return to the New York Times analogy, it would be like judging the Jayson Blair case without knowing what he had and hadn't made up. By assiduously avoiding conclusions of any kind, the report has left only one possible conclusion: The Thornburgh-Boccardi panel believes that the way in which CBS went about its business may have been improper, but that the story they produced wasn't necessarily wrong. If anything, this represents a step backward in the official reckoning of the case.

Last has it EXACTLY right. Folks look at these Reports as authoritative, though not legally binding. Thornburg and Baccardi are not dim bulbs and so they MUST have know--or at least SHOULD have known--that Americans (including CBS folks and other legacy media types) will see an unwillingness to pronounce the fraudulent documents as frauds as a VINDICATION. The Report may not have been intended to say that, but that is the basic effect of the Commission's apparent unwillingness to call things for what they really are.

A recent post at Evangelical Outpost takes on the shortcomings of the Rathergate Report and the blogosphere's reaction to the whole thinig. Also worth reading is Powerline's take on the situation.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Monday, January 10, 2005

UPDATE ON BLOG. I'm now halfway through Hugh Hewitt's new book--and its a good one folks. I do recommend it! A pity review is sure to follow soon. Not to mention the brief blurb I plan for the other half-dozen books I've read as of late.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE SEAHAWKS DISAPPOINTING LOSS... Enough time has now elapsed since Saturday’s Seattle Seahawks loss for me to get it together and offer a few brief words.

It was a tough, disappointing loss. I actually thought the Seahawks had their touchdown to tie the game on 4th and 4 with about 25 seconds to go. But alas, the pass was not completed and their season ended with the St. Louis Rams emerging triumphant for the third time in as many meetings between the team this season. Though it pains me to say it: if you lose to a team THREE times in one season, you simply don’t deserve to move on in the playoffs.

Particularly sad is the fact that I won’t get to see Matt Hasselbeck, Shawn Alexander and the rest compete for a whole year!!! But the Sonics’ and the Husky basketball teams are showing real promise…and then there’s always the Seattle Mariners!

One of the more interesting parts about Saturday’s game wasn’t the game itself, but the two drunken guys who sat nearby for part of the game. One man was particularly loud, obnoxious, drunk and vulgar—but in a (usually) light-hearted way, if you can picture it. His companion really added a dimension to the whole thing, since his had read “F*ck Off” and all he did was make whiny-sounding comments between his cackle of a laugh.

Moreover, on the way back to the car after the game, I saw to guys smoking POT on the street. The both wore #80 Steve Largent jersey’s, of all things. This was the first time I’ve ever seen sports fans leaving Qwest, Safeco, or even the old Kingdome doing drugs.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
STATE SUPREMES SWEARING-IN. This morning’s ceremony for the swearing in of Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, Justice Barbara Madsen & Richard Sanders, and Justice-elect James Johnson was a delight. AG-elect Rob McKenna gave a wonderful introduction to Justice Sanders and Sen. Slade Gorton likewise made a fantastic intro to now-Justice James Johnson. All in all, it was a wonderful event, with Rabbi Lapin providing some words at the close of the event, with Justice Sanders even making a joke about dead people voting.

But by far the most electric moment was when Justice James Johnson took his seat on the Court. He will be an excellent jurist and the Court—and all of Washington State—will be better served by his presence in that group.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
A WHITEWASH REPORT? The CBS Rathergate Memo Report, a product of the Thornburg-Boccardi Commission, has now been released and the blogosphere is beginning to weigh in.

So far I’ve read some preliminary remarks by Hugh Hewitt and Powerline. Those are both interesting posts and worth reading. Hewitt is on the air as I type this—again calling this report a Whitewash and hitting upon the complete pass given to Dan Rather and his CBS President. Wizbang also has some good early analysis (including here and here). I've also been going over some information at Ratherbiased.com, where there is more worthwhile reading.

***Hewitt reports that early sentiment on the blogosphere seems to be kind to the report, but he expects this to change in short order. Should some of the key players in the blogosphere fail to come through, Hewitt predicts the following:

My guess is that the bloggers will shake this off after a day or two of reading the report, and especially after reading the Moonves declaration of exoneration receives wider attention. (And possibly as the CBS fall gals start asking themselves why they should go gently into the night bearing all the blame for CBS' sins.) But if not, then a new generation of bloggers will simply push up and demand the answers that didn't arrive today. In fact, the partial pass that CBS is getting from some of their past critics is an invitation to traffic-hungry start-ups to make a name for themselves.

I think Hewitt is right on with this point. Don't give up, bloggers! Old Media wants this to go out with a whimper. There is a demand out there—the blogosphere audience wants hard-hitting analysis and won’t be satisfied with halfway, half-hearted coverage of the Memogate Report.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
SOUND POLITICS HITS NATIONAL SCENE. The MUST-READ story of the morning is "Don't Count Rossi Out" from "John Fund on the Trail" at Opinion Journal.

I type this just a few blocks from the Washington State capitol building, here in Olympia. Tomorrow there will be a massive rally, where voters from across the state will demand a re-vote. Delivery of signatures from www.revotewa.com will be presented. I signed the petition last week.

Sound Politics and the brilliant work of Stefan Sharkansky are spotlighted in Fund's article. As always, Fund does an excellent job of summarizing the situation in the Evergreen State. This morning Fund appeared on Kirby Wilbur's radio program, discussing the whole situation. As Fund notes, the New Media has been leading the charge in bringing light to all of the problems with this state's recent election.

Once again we are all bearing witness to a media reformation, as Hugh Hewitt describes in Blog, his recent book. I received my copy on Friday and cracked it open yesterday. I'm already two chapters into it and LOVING IT! Get it!

Now, I'm about to depart from Starbucks and attend the swearing-in ceremony for Justices Sanders and Madsen, and Justice-elect Jim Johnson...

(Olympia, WA)

Sunday, January 09, 2005


(Inspired by an election mess...and by great blogging at Sound Politics.)