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  • Morning Bell: The Sun Sets on The Atlantic

    Republican National Convention

    ST. PAUL — In the spring of 1857 a handful of men, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes, met at Boston’s Parker House Hotel to discuss the founding of a new magazine that would bill itself as a “journal of literature, politics, science, and the arts.” Later that November, The Atlantic Monthly premiered and has since become a venerable institution of thought and journalism.

    The Atlantic Monthly was the first to print stories from Mark Twain and Henry James, and it was the magazine Martin Luther King Jr. chose to send his handwritten notes from Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Those notes would become known as King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” The Atlantic also has a deep history of reporting from the battlefield, including the publication of dispatches from Nathaniel Hawthorne during the Civil War and Frances Fitzgerald from Vietnam in the 1960s. Some Atlantic journalists have even paid the highest price for their ideals. In 2003, Atlantic editor Michael Kelly was killed while traveling in a Humvee with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq.

    Supposedly, The Atlantic still aspires to the best of journalistic ideals. The Atlantic’s Publication Overview explains: “The Atlantic is a brand founded upon and dedicated to ideas. At our core, we aspire to challenge and engage the nation’s thought leaders by presenting new ideas and varied perspectives on major issues.” Unfortunately, The Atlantic has recently chosen to turn its back on this commitment.

    Yesterday the Republican National Convention was dominated by discussion of Hurricane Gustav and news that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. How did a 17-year-old’s private life end up dominating the national stage? As soon as candidate John McCain announced Palin as his running mate last week, fringe leftist websites like Democratic Underground and Daily Kos began pushing vicious and outlandish attacks on Palin. The most disgusting of these stories accused Palin of faking her fifth pregnancy in order to cover up “the fact” that her eldest and unmarried daughter was the real mother of 4-month-old Trig Palin, who has Down syndrome. There was simply no reason any respectable institution should have dignified these lunatic ravings with a response. But The Atlantic did. And far worse, it tried to further the story.

    Stooping into the gutter, The Atlantic published pictures of Palin’s 17-year-old daughter and baby Trig and then proceeded to demand that the McCain campaign release the family’s medical records. The Atlantic made no attempt to call anyone from Alaska in order to verify these disgusting and false rumors. Instead, The Atlantic chose to slander an entire family and then demand that the victim prove the accusations were false. Does this behavior demonstrate “a brand founded upon and dedicated to ideas” that aspires to “challenge and engage the nation’s thought leaders by presenting new ideas and varied perspectives on major issues”? Thankfully, Barack Obama still has the decency to reject The Atlantic’s disgusting tactics. He told an audience yesterday:

    This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. That shouldn’t be a topic in our politics.

    The Atlantic has not followed Obama’s dignified example. Even after the networks and major papers carried the story, and even after Palin announced that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant now (thus refuting the rumors that she could have been Trig’s mother), The Atlantic continues to demand that the Palin family produce medical records. The Atlantic is not the only print publication trying to find its way in the new online media world. The difference is that most have managed to do so without sullying their reputation.

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    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Morning Bell: The Sun Sets on The Atlantic

    1. Helaine Chersonsky, says:

      I was outraged and disgusted almost to the point of nausea at the vicious, vituperative and hateful remarks pro-abortion writers have published in the New York Times and other print media. This is a new low for "public discourse" and I pray that this will backfire on the pro-abortion lobby so that both men and women can see the evil,angry spirit that drives such people.

    2. T. G. Smith, Culver says:

      I'm 72 and have read The Atlantic Monthly since I was in high school. It saddens me to see how our country is becoming nothing but a Pop Culture. Always the emphasis on the sleezy, sensational items, with no substance.

    3. James Wolbert, Garf says:

      I believe that the Atantic Monthly's goal is to keep this story alive so as to embarrass Gov Sarah Palin with the conservative base of the Republican party. It simply wont work because the Governor's daughter is doing the correct thing in keeping the baby and marrying the father. Lastly, Mr Obama can publicly state that children of candidates are not to be commented on but who knows what is said privately.

    4. Jim Bower says:

      This should dispel any remaining doubt that the mainstream media is in the tank for Barack Obama. Bill Clinton got a pass on his multiple infidelities (oral sex isn't sex), and John Edwards' latest story barely made it into the traditional media. Here we have a purported "news" source dealing in rumors. Disgusting.

    5. S Fritz says:

      I am outraged concerning the slandering of Gov Palin's daughter. Yes the child will need her parents support. However, the support she will need is emotional.

      In 1971, when I was 19 years old I became pregnant. I was barely 20 years old when I gave birth to my child. I was not married.

      I was the one that sinned not my parents. My father kicked me out and I had to live with my grandmother. The only help I needed was a sitter when I went to work. Emotional support was needed the most.

      What Sara's daughter needs most of all is forgiveness and for her family to stand by her emotionally and to be shown love.

      As for Sara not looking pregnant at six months. I did not have to wear maternity clothes until I was 7 months.

    6. S Gernandt says:

      When I first heard this story it actually told me that Sarah Palin was telling the truth when she said she was a pro-lifer, otherwise she would not be for her daughter keeping the baby, as well she kept her down syndrome baby. Good for her!!!!!!!

    7. ReCon USMC says:

      The sad but simple Truth is : Since the mid 60's all of the

      So called Journalism schools and Colleges are nothing more than anti American Socialist/Marxist Think tanks and Brain washing learning centers . Go to the Journalist on web sight .It is a PC Correct Joke especially on using words like Terrorist or terrorism is a NO NO !

      I see it at my own College University of VA today .

      UVA in the early to mid 60's was a bastion of honest open very honorable great debates .Not anymore and it is all one sided …far left of left and very hostile and angry !!!!!

      The Professors cheered debate on in the old days and were not in the "Make you and Obama" fan and a Capitalist Conservative hater either .

      The Media and all of Journalism is less respected today than are used car salesman .Enough said .

      Yet far left media , newspapers and TV Networks wonder why their Business model has gone to Hell ? OK .

    8. Pingback: getfreeinsurance » Blog Archive » Morning Bell: The Sun Sets on The Atlantic

    9. Rod Merrill, Scottvi says:

      One only has to read this and be sickened by the report. Whatever happened to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for all Americans? It seems that if you are not part of the good-ole’ boys network in Washington D.C. and don’t owe your life to the mainstream media then you’d better be prepared to be squashed by your foes. What kind of people do we really elect that survive? Are they no more than robots and slaves to those who got them elected? Hopefully, two mavericks who call themselves Republicans are about to change this preordained agenda of those who write and speak only from their own corrupt viewpoints.

    10. Jack Kyle, Lubbock,T says:

      We have seen the future face of the Republican Party and that is Sarah Palin. Unless something comes out about her that is unknown now Sarah Palin will be the standard bearer for the Republican Party for the next few years regardless of what happens in this election. Sarah has energized the Republican Party in ways that have not been seen since Reagan. She puts to rest the belief that republicans are against women holding high elected office. Using Obama’s own words describing him “She is the chosen one-The one we have been waiting for”. Hillary can go back to New York now and stay there, her day has come and gone, there is a “Real Woman” on the scene now.

      Jack Kyle

    11. L. Townley,Monroe,MI says:

      You act like you are surprised at what the media has to say sbout Ms. Plain and her family. How could any of this surprise you?

      If Ms. Palin had her daughter have an abortion she would be the darling of the media for a day and then be called a hypocrite, am I the only person in the U.S. who realizes this?

      I firmly believe that if Satan and God were the candidates the press would first ask which was the democrat so the could slander the other.

      Its time to stand up to these people and demand that they chang thier stance on these damnable political slandering that they do. An yes that means both sides.

      Lets stick to the issues at hand in this election and quit buying these newspapers and magazines that slander the people who are running for office.

      In short: BOYCOTT the mainstream and lunatic fringe media outlets.

    12. SteveL, Lowell MA says:

      I must point out that during the just-concluded primary season, Hillary Clinton was the victim of a similar sexist smear campaign from the Obama/netroots/blogosphere attack machine. As far as I am aware, no Republicans or conservatives dared to defend Hillary from these vicious sexist smears.

      In fact, columnists like Mona Charen seemed to be on Obama's side, thanking him for driving Hillary out of power by any means possible.

      Sarah Palin is now getting the same treatment that Hillary got. Anybody who gets in Obama's way will get that same treatment, I'm afraid.

    13. Steve-O says:

      SteveL sort of has a point. Few Republicans defended Clinton. We were happy to stand on the sidelines. This was partially because of the personal contempt for Clinton. There's also the fact that Clinton/Obama were in a battle for the support of the Democrat party. Being aligned with Republicans was probably the worst thing that could have happened to her.

      To the point of the OP, The Atlantic has been slipping in recent years. It's sad.

      Thing is that Andrew Sullivan was potentially one of the more interesting contributors. While he didn't agree with traditionalist institutions like Heritage, he used to be interested in a civil dialogue. Nowadays, he'd probably just laugh at this thread. Again, it's sad.

    14. Dirk B, Detroit, MI says:

      ReCon USMC – The turning point for journalism was the post-Watergate "All the President's Men" era when the schools were flooded with hacks who weren't interested in the boring "5 Ws" but are looking to "change the world." They also wanted to get their own Republican President head for their wall like the mount of Nixon's that Woodward and Bernstein passed back and forth on a shared basis. The prospects of having themselves played in the movie by a hunky movie star is also a nice incentive to dig for dirt in one direction.

      The key difference is that W&B followed a trail and found malfeasance. Today's partisan press starts off with a thesis (e.g. Bush is a crooked draft-dodging war criminal who hates puppies) and then looks only for details that illustrate the thesis and if they fail to find what they need, they fabricate the necessary items and then decry being caught out as being partisan. (Hiya, Dan Rather!)

      Journalism is no longer seen as a means to tell the readers/viewers "just the facts", Joe Friday style, but a means to advance the liberal agenda under the guise of "objective reporting." The reason it works is because most people still assume the news is just facts, and not biased.

    15. Pingback: this is an adventure » Blog Archive » Convention 2008: Andrew Sullivan’s Descent into Madness (or, the long dark teatime of the fool)

    16. Pingback: What Color is the Sky in Andrew Sullivan’s World? « The Right Voice

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