Michael Bresciani
O'Reilly and Gibbs underestimate the power of the internet
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By Michael Bresciani
December 6, 2010

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made a brash if not seriously irresponsible response to the Presidents seeming disinterest in the WikiLeaks scandal by declaring "We're not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop."

Have we forgotten that a few fanatical Muslims with a laptop, a keyboard, a few cell phones and a world of determination brought America's center and symbol of commerce to the ground in dust with these few electronic devices?

Have the lives of those secret operatives and law enforcement agents come to mean so little to those who are deeply insulated in the White House and far from the back alleys, darkened street corners and dangerous battlefields of the world? If their lives are lost or their work is compromised by WikiLeaks haven't we all been accosted by a mere keyboard?

Gibbs has earned a reputation for endless verbiage that says absolutely nothing but, this is a level of nonchalance in truth telling that is insulting to those who have taken the internet seriously as an information platform.

If the pen is yet stronger than the sword then who will tell Gibbs that the keyboard is the new pen of the twenty first century? Conversely; if used in the wrong hands the keyboard can also be the sword that cuts at the fabric of our nation and our world.

On the Factor December 3, 2010 Bill O'Reilly was heard exclaiming that the mainstream media and network news covers none of the important stories and the internet is awash with unsubstantiated stories that can't be trusted. Following that assertion he extolled Fox for being the only source for balanced and credible reporting.

No one in today's climate of biased network journalism would dare to defend the mainstream media's lack of attention to truth and honest coverage of the news that is really important to Americans. The internet is a horse of another color. The truth can be found on the internet if we are careful in our choices of what we look for there.

Many newspapers now have online editions like the Wall Street Journal and there are many great websites like Accuracy in Media, The Heritage Foundation, Townhall.com, Breitbart, Renew America, Canada Free Press and dozens of others that can be trusted and resorted to for accurate and fair reporting. In the last few years Twitter has been responsible for breaking about a dozen major stories before cable TV knew the sun was up. Does Mr. O'Reilly mean to include all of these in his assessments?

Mr. O'Reilly should be reminded of the old but immutable adage that nothing is harder for an individual or a group to survive than its own success. As a commentator he is at times combative, loud, and interruptive and is known for leading his guests and contributors. We have mostly come to accept this as part of the O'Reilly tough guy persona but we are a long way from thinking that he alone has an inside track on everything that is true and worth reporting.

We don't mind the constant reminders that Fox beats all of its rivals in the ratings but where is the line drawn? There is an ever so fine line between the gourmet and the glutton. It may be the no spin zone but that doesn't mean it can't wobble from time to time.

As an example on the same night O'Reilly dumped on internet sources for publishing unsubstantiated material, Beck and O'Reilly debated the matter of a video in which Barack Obama is seen speaking to young students where he complained that "Some people want to say that I was not born in this country." They concurred that Barack Obama is now the only person making reference to the birth certificate issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact since the GOP victories of this past month there has been a remarkable new surge of interest in the matter with congressmen and some senators now openly voicing their concerns about the yet unseen long form of the President's birth certificate and a plethora of school records and other documentation that remains deeply entrenched and shrouded in mystery to this day.

It is no secret that both Beck and O'Reilly have put forth that the whole matter has been concluded and there is no need to look any further into it by reason of the Fox research into the subject. Is this what O'Reilly means by substantiated?

The gist of that substantiation according to O'Reilly rests on two newspaper birth announcements that were placed in Hawaiian newspapers. Since no one need offer documentation to place such announcements how did the insertions get elevated to the level of, "substantiated?"

Without getting into the matter of dual citizenship and other important documents for vetting that remains missing, what level of journalism would dare to call these conclusions substantiated?

There may be somewhat of a stigma connected to actively pursuing the birther's plight, accordingly that may be why Fox steers clear of the controversy. No one wants to be pigeon holed as a conspiracy theorist or someone who dabbles with fringe journalism. Could that fear translate into policy for Fox as it obviously has for the rest of the media?

Is it possible that while the mighty Fox stands tirelessly against the tyranny of today's excesses in government and the growth of PC it secretly cringes against the dreaded fear of a slip in the ratings? This too is unsubstantiated, but like the birther question it doesn't prove that there isn't any truth to the matter.

This is one high horse that even Bill O'Reilly can hardly hope to stay on for long. Be it O'Reilly or the birthers that are finally seen to be mistaken there is only one thing that will substantiate the birther question and that is the birth certificate, anything less is mere learned speculation, something that must never be confused with substantiation.

Mr. Gibbs and Mr. O'Reilly; are now cleared and may come in for a landing and we hope they will, very soon.

© Michael Bresciani

 

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