Celebrating Post-Modernism in Journalism and the Media

The date was September 15, 2004.  Trends take years to manifest, but often there is a watershed event at which one can say a tipping point has been reached.  Such was the case when the New York Times ran the headline:

THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: NATIONAL GUARD; Memos on Bush Are Fake But Accurate, Typist Says

"Fake but Accurate" has become, even when the words differ slightly, a common refrain in post-modern journalism.   It is a statement that the narrative matters more than facts, and that the truth or falsity of a narrative would no longer be judged solely on facts and logic.

I have zero opinion about the quality or quantity of President Bush's military service, but the memos in question were unquestionably fake.  They used printing technology that did not exist at the time.  They exactly mirrored Microsoft Word's default settings for font and margin.  The person who supposedly typed the memos said she never did so, and no one could provide any plausible chain of possession for how the documents reached CBS.  So fake.  But CBS and many outlets stuck with the story in the face of all these facts because the narrative was one they so desperately wanted to be true, and fit so well their pre-existing opinions of Bush.  Dan Rather and Mary Mapes have apparently never admitted they were fakes.

Recently, Robert Redford has reinforced this event as a seminal turning point in journalism by making a movie called, of all things, "Truth", which essentially still sticks to the story the memos weren't faked.  He couldn't be more clearly making the point that in post-modern media, "truth" is the narrative, not the facts.

By the way, I find this every day in the climate world, where I hear "fake but accurate" all the time in defense of the narrative of apocalyptic man-made climate change.  I can't tell you how many times that, having demolished some analysis as flawed (e.g. Michael Mann's hockey stick), I am told that, "well, that study may be wrong but it's still accurate."


  1. J_W_W:

    And yet Carly Fiorina's assertion that she went from being a Secretary to a CEO is lauded as mostly untrue because she didn't go DIRECTLY from secretary to CEO.

  2. joe:

    It is absurd that Rather and mapes did not catch the how fake the documents were.

    The CBS story ran during prime time on Thursday evening. I did not hear of the controversy until the next morning friday (since I dont watch much TV). At approx 9am the next morning is when I first heard of the controversy. I Searched the internet and obtained a copy of the four memo's. Within less than 2 minutes, I suspected the memo's were fake based on the burkett's CYA memo and burkett's order to bush to take the physical. The CYA letter had a style of grammar and an intended audience that was very inconsistent with any CYA letters/memo's that I have been involved with. The grammar, tone, style or writing was what I would have expected in a CYA letter. The Burkett order to take the physical had grammar that was internally inconsistent, part military lingo, part civilian lingo, etc. (later it became apparent that the military lingo was a mish mash of different branches of the military).

    It wasnt until approximately noon to early afternoon that the times roman font issue became known (at least to me).

    Point being - the memo's were multiple signs the memo's were fake long before Rather/mapes ran the story.

    Mapes & Rather are idiots if they believe those memo's were real.

  3. mesocyclone:

    The truth has always been optional for progressives. Look at the various media "fact checkers" who frequently get things wrong, invariably in a way that benefits the progressive narrative.

  4. Not Sure:

    "Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it." - George Costanza

  5. obloodyhell:

    Fiorina's three Pinocchios...

  6. obloodyhell:

    No, fools. They're liberals. The prime defining quality of liberals is not a lack of intelligence but a lack of wisdom/common sense -- No one can honestly argue Noam Chompsky is stupid. But foolish? Yes, easily...

    If someone devised a "WQ" test to match the "IQ", then liberals would consistently cluster in, and dominate, the lower third of the resulting normal curve.

    Seriously, think of it. It's not that they can't learn some pretty complex things. It's that they NEVER learn from experience. That's the basis for wisdom, not intellect. Their whine about socialism, "Well, no one's ever done it right". is correct... once experience teaches you that the only way to do it right is to not do it at all...

  7. L S:

    Right on. Reality is something they keep bumping their heads against and rather than realize X won't work, they just devise more absurd justifications as to why it failed (e.g., "jobs for jihadis").

  8. SamWah:

    They also used 8.5x11" paper The USAF then used 8x10.5" letterhead paper.

  9. joe:

    Oops - I had a typo - It should read - The grammar, tone, style or writing was [NOT] what I would have expected in a CYA letter.

  10. Joe:

    What size paper did the national guard use?
    If the national guard used the 8x10.5, then another nail in the coffin. Though as best I can tell it wasnt mentioned in the thornburg report

  11. harries:

    The Metropolitan Police recently decided that some allegations of right wing politicians murdering boys as part of a paedophile ring were "credible and true".
    Despite knowing that the principal accuser was a labour supporter who has been in and out of mental hospitals for years, and the "boy" is a convicted felon and fantasist.