Events of this past year have shown the need for a special award in journalism for those who think that the purpose of reporting news is to cause the public to adopt the political views of those who do the reporting. Therefore this column announces the first annual Joseph Goebbels award for that journalist who best exemplifies the spirit and the practice that Dr. Goebbels pioneered.
And the good doctor has also named the first recipient:
No need to prolong the suspense. This year's Joseph Goebbels award goes by a narrow but decisive margin to CBS News anchorman Dan Rather for his planned broadcast on "60 Minutes" -- just days before the election -- to discredit President Bush's National Guard service 30 years earlier. Leave aside for the moment the fact that discrepancies in the documents he relied on have convinced experts and many others that they were forgeries. Why was what George W. Bush did or didn't do 30 years earlier "news" in 2004?
It was news by Dr. Goebbels' standard -- something that could lead to desired political reactions by the audience. Waiting until it would have been virtually impossible for an effective answer to be made before election day was in the same Goebbels spirit. Had the documents been real, Dan Rather would still have been a strong contender for the award. The fact that virtually everyone, with the notable exception of Mr. Rather, now regards those documents as fake -- instead of simply "not authenticated" -- makes Dan Rather the clear winner of the Joseph Goebbels award for 2004.
My thought at the time when it became apparent that CBS had presented false documents in their effort to hurt President Bush was, "GAME F***ING OVER, MAN!"
I had to remind myself at the time to not be complacent that the President would be reelected. After all, to those value power above all, no act in the pursuit of power is too depraved.