This is 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.
Had there been such an award in 2003, “Baghdad Bob” would have been the clear winner for his repeated bold assurances that American troops were nowhere near Baghdad and never would be.
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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.
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.