As I plowed through the scant news coverage of the last rabbit hole down which the Right's Benghazi!Benghazi!Benghazi! fairy tale has plunged, the image of narcissistic children slugging it out in the ruins of the long-forgotten United States government, swinging the moldering remains of an American flag at each other, seemed somehow appropriate.
Also this terrible movie has, y'know, "Logan" in the title, so there's that.
Today, the Truest Thing You Will Read is to be found (believe it or not) in "The Daily Beast":
...Unlike nine years ago--when CBS appointed an independent panel to carry out an exhaustive public investigation of anchor Dan Rather’s reliance, a week before the 2004 election, on apparently forged documents to question President George W. Bush’s military service record—the network has resisted calls to conduct a similar process in this case. One salient difference from the 2004 experience is that nine years ago, the network was being targeted by an organized campaign by conservative activists; this time, the attackers are largely liberal bloggers and press critics like David Brock of Media Matters.“It’s a lot safer pissing off the left than pissing off the right,” said a veteran journalist with hard experience in these issues. “The left raps your knuckles, and the right cuts off your hand and serves it to you for lunch.”In this case, Logan’s report has been cited repeatedly by Republican office holders intent on holding President Obama and Hillary Clinton accountable for the disaster in Benghazi. Presumably CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, who is also executive producer of 60 Minutes, is quietly attempting to get to the bottom of the latest failures in judgment and journalistic practice (CBS won’t say), but that would be tantamount, in some ways, to investigating himself....
Like all such Conservative tall tales of Sekrit Liberal Perfidy (Perfidy, I tell you! Per-Fid-Eeee!), the actual truth of anything they say long since stopped mattering. All that matters anymore is the utility of any given lie -- how effective it is in riling up the Pig People and making Libruls cry. So don't expect the flood of Benghazi!Benghazi!Benghazi! emails from your Crazy Uncle Liberty to abate in the slightest.
No, Lara Logan's contribution to the Great Wingnut Cause was finding them another Curveball -- another means of jumping their paranoid fantasies past the WorldNetDaily/FoxNews/Brietbart blood-brain barrier and into the American media mainstream, where it could stop being just one more chapter of cheap, wingnut stroke-mag fiction and finally start doing some real, impeachable damage to the Kenyan Usurper.
And as such, the real parallel here is not with Dan Rather, but with the coverage of the Iraq War.
You might remember it -- it was in all the papers.
For many years, Dubya's Excellent Iraqi Adventure gave the Right and the Center a free pass to do what they both love doing more than anything else: bashing the shit out of Liberals. It was a free-fire zone where it was absolutely okey-dokey to slander Liberals anytime, anywhere as America-hating, terrorist-loving traitors and surrender monkeys.
This was the era during which screechy, basement-dwelling lunatics like Michele Malkin were allowed to blossom into Credible Media Pundits ...where even the most talentless grubworms could grab some fast cash and respectability publishing trash like "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life"...and where David Brooks clawed his way up from his gig at Bill Kristol's "Weekly Standard" and into a job-for-life at the New York Times by gleefully pistol-whipping Liberals for insufficient patriotism.
And then it all went tits-up, so horribly that eventually all Cheney's horses and all Cheney's men working at peak efficiency could not continue to sell Operation Endless Clusterfuck as Mission Accomplished.
After which everyone who was in the wrong apologized, the media ran exhaustive investigative reports detailing exactly how the Right had lied us into such a complete disaster, Dubya and Cheney were spared impeachment only by agreeing to publicly testifying at a series of Truth and Reconciliation Hearings, every Conservative pundit from Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks to Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter agreed to gave back all the money they had made and careers they had built from lying so freely and treating Liberals so shabbily, and they all agreed never to do it again.
No, seriously, what actually happened is what always happens:
- The Right got away with murder right up until their lies collapsed.
- There was suddenly a real danger of people noticing that Liberals had been right all along.
- The Center, which had been only too happy to go along with all the Hippie Punching, suddenly got very worried about Both Sides being so mean and shrill.
And that, I predict, is exactly what will happen with Lara Logan.