As everyone knows by know, Drudge broke the story that ABC has a videotape by a purported terrorist, bravely waving a weapon and threatening Americans – while wearing a mask (courage, thy name is anonymity). It’s been quite the buzz in the past 24 hours or so.
Howard Kurtz has more details in this WaPo piece. He writes:
It has all the makings of an incendiary story: a chilling pre-election videotape featuring a supposed member of al Qaeda, declaring in English that “blood will run red in the streets of America.”
It’s apparently an ABC exclusive; so far I haven’t heard a peep about any other network having a copy of either the tape or the feed. And it’s big news, right? So why haven’t we seen it?
“We’re not quite there to broadcast something that would be quite frightening,” investigative reporter Brian Ross said yesterday. “I’d love to have the exclusive, but first we’d like to get it right.”
You see, it appears that the patriots at ABC, recognizing that their duty is as Americans first, gave a copy of the feed directly to the FBI and CIA, so that they could get a jump on identifying the terrorist (if possible) and perhaps develop a response.
(As of 5pm EST, Drudge says that his federal sources say the CIA and FBI late Wednesday authenticated the tape.)
You gotta admire, don’t you, these MSM reporters, so eager to verify before they report. Kurtz continues:
ABC was put in the awkward position of defending its insistence on fully checking out the story after the Drudge Report posted a huge online headline: “ABC News Holds Terror Warning Tape.”
That Drudge! Doesn’t he know that real journalists never rush to print? It’s verify, verify, verify.
In weighing the evidence, ABC staffers are mindful of the problem at CBS News, which has apologized for rushing on the air with disputed documents about President Bush’s National Guard service.
Ohhhh…so there might be another dynamic working here. Like – fear of utter humiliation at the hands of the pajamahadeen? Maybe it’s purely professional pride, insisting on only the finest, most accurate reporting humanly possible?
Ross and other ABC staffers say they believe that a Bush administration official leaked the story to Internet gossip Matt Drudge as a way of pressuring the network into airing the tape, which would heighten concerns about terrorism in the final week of the president’s reelection campaign.
And here we begin to see through the haze. It’s another Karl Rove trick! Shoot, it’s probably Karl Rove waving the weapon! Nasty Republicans! Evil Bushitler! Yeah, it’s a TRICK. So we have to be sure (says ABC).
Drudge reports an ABC source as saying, “This is not something you just throw out there while people are voting.”
“While they’re voting”? “Something this frightening”? Why, exactly, would ABC care? Hasn’t Kerry assured us that he’ll “hunt down and kill, with nothing more than a spoon and loincloth, or with his bare hands if necessary, the entire army of terrorists”? So we have nothing to fear from a Kerry presidency, if a mean old terrorist is threatening to kill us all, do we?
And why would ABC care? I mean, it’s news or it’s not; all they care about is the truth, right? Just the facts, and all of that?
Well, I can reveal to you why they care: They care for the very simple reason that they know, just like every other rational adult in the world that if people think there are still terrorists trying to kill them, they’re better off with Bush than with Kerry. Period.
And what’s more, ABC knows that Americans, in spite of the tree-hugging moonbats drifting cluelessly about, don’t take kindly to being threatened. And if they air a video tape which credibly presents a terrorist threatening Americans what will happen if “they” re-elect Bush/Cheney, then you’ll see a swing in polling overnight in favor of Bush. Americans, as even the French would admit, are nothing if not ornery when bullied (pandering defeatists like Kerry excepted).
So it’s not journalistic “ethics” (stifling a snicker) or even fear of getting embarrassed by the pajamahadeen that’s got ABC on pins and needles on this tape: it’s that they know that, if it’s real, it only helps Bush.