MSM On The Frosts

by digby

TIME magazine picked up the Foster story and got the story pretty much right, as far as it went. What it didn't get into was how the entire right wing noise machine cranked up the swiftboats to get it going. The article seems to imply that this story was confined to the blogosphere (without the requisite distinction between who did what) and neglects to properly indict the worst perpetrators. Still, it's not bad compared to this:

CNN’s John Roberts reported: “Some of the accusations [against the Frosts] may be exaggerated or false. But did the Democrats make a tactical error in holding up Graeme as their poster child?” A CNN political analyst then placed the blame squarely on the Democrats’ shoulders:

I think in this instance what happened was the Democrats didn’t do as much of a vetting as they could have done on this young man, his situation, his

family. […]

More and more, Congress is acting less like a deliberative legislative body, and more like a political campaign. We’ve been seeing the politicization of every aspect of government.

Right. It's the fault of the Democrats, of course, who according to John Roberts didn't "vet" this family. Except, of course, they did, as has been incessantly disseminated by the progressive blogosphere and the mainstream media over the course of four days.

So whydid Roberts say that the family hadn't been properly vetted?

ABC News reported earlier in the week that an e-mail sent to reporters by “a Senate Republican leadership aide” in McConnell’s office suggested that “GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about the Frosts.” A McConnell spokesman refused to deny the office’s involvement in the affair.

ThinkProgress has obtained an email that congressional sources tell us was sent to reporters by Sen. McConnell’s communications director Don Stewart.

On Monday morning, Don Stewart sent an email with the following text to reporters:

Seen the latest blogswarm? Apparently, there’s more to the story on the kid (Graeme Frost) that did the Dems’ radio response on SCHIP. Bloggers have done a little digging and turned up that the Dad owns his own business (and the building it’s in), seems to have some commercial rental income and Graeme and a sister go to a private school that, according to its website, costs about $20k a year ‹for each kid‹ despite the news profiles reporting a family income of only $45k for the Frosts. Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting this family?

In the email, Stewart attacks Democrats for allegedly doing a bad job “vetting this family.” That effort to blame Democrats for the smear campaign seems to have swayed some reporters, as CNN this morning claimed that the real story is that “the Democrats didn’t do as much of a vetting as they could have done.”

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Roberts used exactly the same language and then chalks it up to some sort of tepid "they all do it" sort of thing.

Aside from the almost comic illustration of journalistic malpractice this shows, it also proves what many of us have been saying for years: the press parrots right wing talking points, in this case verbatim. It's rare that we actually can see a copy of the memos they send out,because the press "protects its sources" but it's right there in this case. Does anyone think this is unique? I suspect that if it hadn't been for liberal bloggers relentlessly speaking out in horror over the course of many days, this nasty little smear would have been passed along by everyone else exactly as John Roberts passed it along, implying that the Frosts were con artists.

Nice work CNN. How much are you paying this guy?