Monday, September 20, 2004

ACCURATE BUT FAKE. I think the description applies to this item (scroll down) in John Tierney's "Political Points" column in yesterday's New York Times:

Web's Most Popular New Slogan for CBS News: "Fake but Accurate." (As determined on Google, which gives priority billing to

Where oh where would Mickey Kaus and other bloggers come up with such an odd formulation? Hmmm ... maybe from this headline, from last Wednesday: "Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says." Who would have published such a headline? Would you believe the New York Times? Click here and see for yourself.

In fact, when Kaus first used the phrase last Wednesday, he was linking to the Times story.

For those of you who've been following this story, "fake but accurate" isn't a bad description: the late Jerry Killian, the alleged author of the four memos cited by CBS to support its case that George W. Bush blew off some of his National Guard obligations, did indeed write memos similar to the ones CBS obtained, according to Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox. However, she says, the actual documents used by CBS are fake.

As for Tierney, it's accurate to say that "Fake but Accurate" has become a popular Web catchphrase - but fake to omit the fact that it was coined by his own newspaper, and that many sites are making fun of that formulation.

WHAT COMES AFTER THE LETTER "F"? Here's something I haven't seen before: a Boston Globe story that forthrightly refers to N.W.A's infamous song "Fuck Tha Police" without any hyphens, asterisks, or other censorious squibbles. Good job! Of course, they'd have had a little more street cred if they'd gotten the same of the song right - it's not "Fuck the Police."


Anonymous said...

I don't think "fake but accurate" cuts it anymore. It's just fake. I don't buy the accurate part until somebody can back it up.

Anonymous said...

Solid evidence that the Democrats have yet to develop the skills of the brass knuckle Republicans, as Maureen Dowd vividly refers to them, is how little mention, much less repetitive re-cycling, in the mainstream media there has been since the CBS News fake documents brouhaha erupted about the striking similarities with Karl Rove's alleged dirty tricks involvemnt in the campaign of Bill Clemments for governor of Texas in 1986. That Dowd's column on Sept. 16th (available here: remains the only direct mention I've seen or heard is fairly astounding given the tsunami of coverage and commentary on this subject in the last 48 hours. Like the surprisingly effective Swift Boat smear campaign, further proof of how one-sided the powerful media rumor echo-chamber apparently is these days.