Skip to comments.The Right to Know
Posted on 05/12/2008 5:31:32 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
I want . . Freedom of the press to be the right not to be lied to.
You are confused. So very seriously confused about the First Amendment, that you are not thinking any more clearly about it than I was before the mid-1990s, when I began to see through the system by which the "journalistic objectivity" con is perpetrated. And since I was already in my fifties by then, I have every reason to understand how you might see things the way you do.
Freedom of the press is much more like "the right to lie to you" than it is like "the right not to be lied to." And that is a good thing.
In the founding era, nobody claimed that a newspaper was objective - no more so than you would take me seriously if I claimed to be objective - or I, you. That was because the newspapers were actually independent of each other back then. Independent of each other, but not independent of the political factions of the day. For example, one paper was sponsored by Thomas Jefferson, to attack the politics of Alexander Hamilton - and to reply to the attacks on him by the newspaper sponsored by Hamilton himself. The idea of either of those newspapers ceding to the other respect for being "objective" - which after all implies wisdom - is laughable.
Why, then, does our culture have the idea that journalism should be, even could be, objective? Simple - the telegraph and the Associated Press transformed the newspaper business - and our culture - beginning back in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Prior to the advent of the telegraph, newspaper printers got their news about the same way that the other people in their towns got theirs - by word of mouth and by getting physical copies of other newspapers, delivered by sailboat and horse-drawn wagon. So in principle, any given local might easily have heard any given news item before the local newspaper printed it. Accordingly, most newspapers were not dailies, may were weeklies and some had no deadline at all and just printed when the printer was good and ready. Making it all the more likely that people would get news by word of mouth before the newspaper reported it to them.
Then along came the Associated Press. Suddenly the newspaper printer had a direct line to newspapers in all the other towns and cities of the country - and to reporters working directly for the AP who aggressively got the news from ships arriving from Europe before those ships even docked. The AP was an aggressive monopolizer of the use of the telegraph for transmission of the news; it cut exclusive deals with the telegraph lines which froze competitors out. That made the AP the target of criticism and challenge, since it was so obviously an unprecedented concentration of nationwide public influence. The AP proceeded to demonstrate that influence by deflecting those charges by asserting that since the Association was composed of member newspapers which famously did not agree on much of anything, the Association was - wait for it - "objective."
That was, is, and always will be absurd. First, of course, because thinking yourself to be objective is arguably the best possible definition of the word "subjectivity." And secondly, because the AP, and all of those "independent-thinking" papers which made up the AP, was selling something. The same thing - news, before you could get it from any other source. So the AP and every one of its members had the identical incentive to sell the idea that journalism - all journalism - was objective. How else to vouch for the news which suddenly was a pervasive, dominant theme of your newspaper which had not actually had that function before - when that news did not originate with your newspaper's own reporters but with those of a nominal competitor in a distant city? So with the AP, newspapers suddenly had not only the motive but the opportunity to claim objectivity as long as they did not compete with any other AP newspaper on the basis of objectivity claims. And the more opportunity they had to make that claim, the less compunction was necessary about taking care to vindicate the claim by actually being objective.
So what is the actual effect of the claim by all of journalism that all of journalism is objective? The actual effect of the claim of objectivity, running as it has for a century and a half, is to establish in custom the idea that journalists are a breed apart from we-the-people - more virtuous, more knowledgeable, and more civic-minded - and thus entitled not only to be listened to with respect by people who pay for the privilege but entitled to special privileges such as "shield" laws granting reporters the right to withhold the names of sources from courts of law which any citizen would be under legal compunction to yield up. And entitled to special rights to speak out about candidates for public office, to be denied, under McCain-Feingold, to we-the-people. Is there any real virtue in having our government officers selected by vote of the whole people on a date certain, when it would be far more manageable to simply read in the newspapers what the newspapers say is in the public interest? Or, for that matter, what the newspapers say the public thinks, based on "public opinion polls?" From the POV of the journalist - or anyone who thinks that journalists are more objective and hence wiser and more virtuous than the public at large - the answer would have to be, "No." What could be more patent than that the conceit of journalistic objectivity is profoundly subversive of democratic principle?
Before the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of the Internet generally and FreeRepublic.com in particular, the public discourse was largely controlled by monolithic AP journalism. Journalism had extremely broad latitude to say whatever they wanted so say, and call that "objectivity." The most fundamental desire of journalism is to attract an attentive audience, and to be able to exploit that ability for fun and profit. The linchpin of the influence of AP journalism being perishable news - news that will soon no longer be new - journalism inexorably presses upon the public the idea that the news is important. The more important you think the news is, the less attention you will pay to things which change less, or not at all. That is why AP journalism is inherently anti conservative. Journalism also is maximally important when there is a crisis requiring public notice and action. But of course a putative crisis "requiring" government action implies that the powers-that-be have not already taken whatever action is needed, which is why the public should attend to the journalist and influence the politician accordingly. Again that makes the journalist anti conservative.
Another way of stating the above paragraph is to note that journalism's rules include "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper," and "If it bleeds, it leads." The former rule simply says that only what the public doesn't know yet matters, and the latter says that the bad news is most important. Journalism's rules also enjoin the editor that "Man Bites Dog" is news, and "Dog Bites Man" is not news. Which means that business-as-usual is not news, and if anything is reported in the newspaper it is probably not typical of what normally characterizes society. Most people never, in their entire lives, commit a murder or even know anyone who did commit a murder - but you will find plentiful stories about murders, and demands for the disarming of the general public, but rarely mention of how statistically rare murder actually is or how frequently the law-abiding use or, more commonly merely threaten to use, weapons to prevent crime. Likewise if our troops suffer casualties and deaths in Iraq that is news - even though the overwhelming majority of our troops return from Iraq without a scratch, and also with scant if any notice by journalism. All that comports with the rules of journalism - but the rules of journalism comport with the interest of journalism,. The rules of journalism purport to be about the public interest, but actually are only about interesting the public. And the two things are not only different, they are often in contradiction. So we see that journalism is anti conservative.
Since journalism not only has the inherent incentive to say what it wants to say, and since under the Associated Press regime journalism coheres as a single identifiable entity with identifiable interests and has a dominant position in the public discourse by which it is easily capable of stonewalling or otherwise dismissing contradiction, it is only natural to expect that journalism will promote those who scratch its back, and oppose those who do not. Conservatives are those who are least prone to scratch journalism's back. In this context the most satisfactory definition of American conservatism was implied in Theodore Roosevelt's famous speech at the Sorbonne in France in 1911:"It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . . who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds . . .That speech defines American conservatism - respect for those who take responsibility and work to a bottom line - and its opposite, which is criticism and second guessing of those who take responsibility to get things done. The latter is AP journalism's natural predilection, and it naturally tends to undercut the businessman and the policeman and the military man. There are others besides journalists who second guess the people who get things done, and journalists call them "liberals," or "progressives," or "moderates" - essentially any positive label but "objective." "Objective" is the label which journalists reserve to themselves but anyone who currently is labeled a "liberal" or a "progressive" can get a job as a journalist and instantly receive the "objective journalist" label without any change in his/her political perspective. George Stephanopolis is the outstanding example of the phenomenon; there is emphatically not any example of a conservative ever becoming recognized as an "objective" journalist.
It is interesting to note that American conservatives conserve a tradition which was started, not in the mists of time as in nations generally, but in a specific founding era in the second half of the Eighteenth Century. American constitutional norms do trace back to English antecedents, but they are codified as British and other nation's traditions have not been. The preamble to the US Constitution is a mission statement for America, and after all the specifics about providing for the common defense and so forth, it concludes with the nut of the matter, " . . . [to] secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity." American conservatives, therefore, conserve liberty - which, considering that liberty allows people to do things in different ways, and to do different things, than were done in the past, is such a unique form of "conservatism" that adherents to it have questioned whether that is even a proper term for it.
Indeed, the word which (anywhere outside the US, as recently as a decade ago) describes "American conservatism" is "liberalism." link Well one might ask, "how did the US acquire a definition of "liberalism" which is opposed to what is in America called "conservatism?" I make no pretense of specific knowledge of the event, but I have a hypothesis which I would defend against challenge until such time as more specific evidence is cited than has come to my attention. First, I would note that the term "socialism" would, on etymological grounds, be assumed to relate to support for organic societal decisions rather than - as we well know to be the actual case - relating to government control of things which in America are traditionally left to societal decisions made, perhaps most notably, in the marketplace. So I would argue that the term "socialism" was dishonestly coined by its proponents. And, everywhere outside the US, socialism was far more accepted by the public at large than it was in the US. We have had governments which were socialist in intent - FDR with his "New Deal" and LBJ and his "Great Society" perhaps most prominently - but at no time has a socialist run for POTUS openly advocating socialism as such, and won. Indeed there is exactly one avowedly Socialist senator - Bernie Sanders of Vermont - and he caucuses, surprise of surprises, with the senate Democrats. Essentially all of whom are readily classified as "liberals."
My inference is that since "socialism" was a failed brand name in the US but not elsewhere, people in the US who had the ability to rebrand socialist nostrums, and wanted to do so, seized upon the co-opting of the term for the political theory which already was popular. Associated Press journalism - especially in conjunction with academia, which as a group are critics and not doers just as reporters are - fits that bill exactly. It is a theory which seems to fit the facts as I know them perfectly - socialist-minded people had motive, in the US, and opportunity, to make the change. Certainly, or so it seems to me, it would have been impossible without at least the acquiescence, and probably the active support, of journalism. There would have been far less incentive for socialists in any other locale than the United States to make that change.
We see the process of the creation of a new word - a neologism - out of whole cloth springing out of the Democratic reaction to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign of 2004. In that case, the SBVT organization counted among its members the entire chain of command in Vietnam above John Kerry, and all his fellow officers on the other Swift Boats in Kerry's naval unit. If you wanted to ask anyone else but John Kerry and his subordinates on his boat, on the one hand, and the SBVT on the other, you would be embarrassed for want of anyone who could speak of about Kerry's performance on the basis of direct knowledge. You have to either believe one side or the other, and the SBVT group is far more numerous, and was more highly credentialed at the time and place in question, than Lt. John Kerry and his subordinates were. And their story was more consistent over time, and internally, than Kerry's story was - considering how certain Kerry was that he had been sent on a mission into Cambodia by a president who hadn't been inaugurated yet! Nevertheless, AP journalism and the rest of the Democratic smear machine has created, and imposed on the national dialog, the term "swiftboating" defined as the irresponsible and unjustified criticism of a Democrat.
So we have seen the imposition of a story line and a word meaning implemented before our very eyes, in real time. What reason is there to doubt that the same or similar things have been done in the past, when we didn't have the Internet and talk radio to help us keep our sanity when we thought that "objective" journalists were cooking the books! By the accounts of Ann Coulter and M. Stanton Evans, the coining of the word "McCarthyism" was done in exactly the same fashion, and with no more justification than the coining of "swiftboating" was done. And thus I have little doubt that the inversion of the meaning of the word "liberalism" was done the same way, by the same sort of people.
And "liberalism" is not the only word whose meaning has been inverted; the words "society" and "public" have received similar treatment. If you hear a "liberal" speak of "society" your very first impulse should be to question whether or not the speaker means anything other than government. Except in the absence of freedom, the two are not synonyms, but that is how the socialist "liberal" uses the word "society." And the socialist "liberal" uses the word "public" to exactly the same intent.
Of course, this was also predicated on the ideal of objectivity, which none of us have (least of all myself).
I have been unable to put my finger on the exact distinction to be made between a claim of "objectivity" and a claim of wisdom. And of course if you research "wisdom" in the etymological dictionary, you find the meanings of the terms "sophist" and "philosopher" are relevant, as follows:sophist1542, earlier sophister (c.1380), from L. sophista, sophistes, from Gk. sophistes, from sophizesthai "to become wise or learned," from sophos "wise, clever," of unknown origin. Gk. sophistes came to mean "one who gives intellectual instruction for pay," and, contrasted with "philosopher," it became a term of contempt. Ancient sophists were famous for their clever, specious arguments.philosopherWhich is my explanation of the fact that the person who claims to be most objective always seems to be farthest from it.O.E. philosophe, from L. philosophus, from Gk. philosophos "philosopher," lit. "lover of wisdom," from philos "loving" + sophos "wise, a sage."
"Pythagoras was the first who called himself philosophos, instead of sophos, 'wise man,' since this latter term was suggestive of immodesty." [Klein]
Modern form with -r appears c.1325, from an Anglo-Fr. or O.Fr. variant of philosophe, with an agent-noun ending. . . .
It seems to me that the Associated Press motivates and enables a mutual admiration society among journalists which makes it taboo for one journalist to question the "objectivity" - whatever that word is supposed to mean - of another journalist. It seems to me as well that journalism as we know it systematically corrupts the language, changing or inverting the meaning of words and instituting new and deceptive words.
In the 1920s journalism (or somebody - and who else but journalism was in a position to do it?) inverted the meaning of "liberalism" from opposition to increased government regulation and high taxes to advocacy of those very things. "Liberals" (actually socialists) systematically use euphenisms for government such as "public" or "society." A "public" school is actually a government school, and when a "liberal" says that "society" should do some thing s/he means nothing other than that the government should do it. And yet society and government are not the same unless there is (or unless there should be) no such thing as individual freedom. When "liberals" use euphemisms for government, AP journalism is never slow to adopt the usages "liberals" prefer.
Associated Press journalism calls itself "the press," insinuating that "the freedom of . . . the press" mandated by the First Amendment confers privileges on Associated Press journalism exclusively and does not refer to the right of the people to spend their own money for the use of technology to promote their own opinions.
AP journalism created "Swift Boating" and "McCarthyism," two words which connote the same thing. Both connote AP journalism's preferred image that criticism of Democrats (at least, criticism from the right) is illegitimate. Each word seemingly denotes an objective reality, but one which cannot bear close scrutiny. But as long as AP journalism controls the debate the fact that the words are double smears - smears of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth or of Senator Joseph McCarthy, as well as whoever is tarred with association with the image which AP journalism has created of McCarthy and of the SBVT- is not allowed into the conversation.
And did you know that the Associated Press was aggressively monopolistic from its inception, and that in 1945 it was held by SCOTUS to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act?
I do not rejoice any newspaper disappearing.
I have to agree. My concern is that freedom of the "press" may not automatically extend to electronic media. Especially if the "fairness doctrine" gets reinstated. Has the supreme court ever ruled that electronic media is guaranteed the same protections as print media?The fallacy in that argument lies in the planted assumption that newspapers are free and independent. In truth, journalism is a singular noun. Journalism as we know it is a mid-Nineteenth Century development, a product of the development of the telegraph and of the Associated Press, which has been a monopolistic organization from its inception (and which was held by SCOTUS to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act back in 1945).
That is the explanation for the transformation of the fiercely independent, openly political newspapers of the founding era (and into the middle of the Nineteenth Century) into the self-described "objective press" of today. That homogenization of reporting was the natural result of the acquisition by the newspapers of a (single) source of news which is not available to the general public except by reading the newspaper. The business model of journalism as we know it hinges on the perception that all those AP news stories are reliable and balanced, not hokum or propaganda. Thus, "all reporters are objective." That is a statement to which only a homogenized - not independent and therefore not free - press could subscribe, and to which the Associated Press and its membership must, of business necessity, subscribe.
The death of the "Fairness" Doctrine enabled the revival of a free press - in the form of talk radio. Don't be deceived by claims of "scarcity of bandwidth" or "monopolization of talk radio by the right." Or by claims that "the press" includes only ink-on-paper communication.
The Antifederalists who demanded a bill of rights in the Constitution were opposed by the Federalists, not because they opposed the rights in the first ten amendments but because they held that a bill of rights would not be exhaustive of the rights already implied in the Constitution and they feared that any rights not specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights would be denigrated - that the Bill would become a ceiling rather than a floor on the rights of the people. Consequently it is established jurisprudence that the body of the Constitution is to be read as the Federalists promoted it to the people who ratified it - as including within itself all the rights articulated in the Bill of Rights.
If you read the Constitution that way the words "the press" fade out, and words like "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States" (Article 1 Section 9) come into focus. Because what the Associated Press and its membership has done is to lobby for a title of nobility - "the press" - which gives them privileges to be withheld from the people. "The freedom of . . . the press" is actually the right of the people to spend their own money to use technology to promote their own (political, religious, and other) opinions.
If you do not read "the press" as a ceiling on our rights, and if you read in Article 1 Section 8 that the federal government is explicitly authorized "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries," you will find in the Constitution no warrant for the claim that the framers of the Constitution expected no advances in the arts of communication and that therefore the Constitution does not cover high speed presses, photography, telegraphy, telephony, sound recording, radio, mimeograph machines, movies, talking movies, television, photocopiers, hi-fi steros, computer/printer combinations, Compact Disks, HDTV, DVDs, satellite radio, the Internet and the worldwide web - or whatever comes next.
It is in my experience a great mistake to try to prove that journalism is not objective - for the simple reason that that is a political opinion. You would do just as well to expect to be able, in an hour's conversation, to convert a Democrat to a Republican. My point is not the mere fact that I can cite examples of tendentiousness in journalism until the cows come home, and my point is not simply that no one can prove that journalism is objective because lack of bias is an unprovable negative. My point is that I have a right to listen to Rush Limbaugh, provided only that he makes his program available to me on terms that I am able and willing to meet, without reference to what a politician or judge, or all of them, think of Rush Limbaugh's opinions. Just as surely as your garden variety "sheeple" has a right to listen to Katie Couric. A government which distinguishes between the two is not operating under the Constitution.
The Bill of Rights was intended as a minimal accounting of the rights of the people. To restrict freedom of the press to specific people or to specific communications technology is to abuse the First Amendment by using it as a ceiling, rather than a floor, on the rights of the people.
- It would be no different from NPR or PBS if they did. And actually of a piece with the assignment of radio channel broadcast licenses on the premise that the broadcaster will "serve the public interest" by broadcasting Associated Press journalism. And of a piece with McCain-Feingold limits on who can criticize politicians at election time.
- All of the above would be recognized as being unconstitutional by any mind not clouded by the propaganda to the effect that "the freedom of the press" refers to privileges of Associated Press journalism specifically.
Journalism as we know it does not trace back to the time of the ratification of the First Amendment, but only to the founding of the Associated Press in 1848. The openly partisan and fiercely independent "newspapers" of the founding era would never have countenanced, let alone promoted, the idea that a competing newspaper was objective. And, lacking a source of news not in principle accessible to the general public by any other means than reading the newspapers, founding era newspapers were more about political commentary than about news. The dominance of the monopolistic (found in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1945) Associated Press reversed all of that, creating journalism as we know it.
"The freedom of the press" in the First Amendment properly should be understood as the right of the people, not any special privilege of the members of the Associated Press, to spend money to apply technology to their efforts to promote their own political (and other) opinions. To assign that freedom to specific individuals rather than to the people would be to make "the press" into a title of nobility in violation of Section 9 of Article I. And since Section 8 of Article 1 specifically gives the government the authority "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries," limiting the meaning of "the press" to the literal Eighteenth Century printing press arbitrarily assumes that the ratifiers of the First Amendment intended to limit their own and their posterity's freedom to use new communication technology (and which technology specifically? The radio but not the high speed printing press? The television but not the telephone? The internet but not the photocopier?).
The Press is an institution of the state. Constitutional, too.
The Press is an institution of the state.
True. Constitutional, too.
The Press is mentioned in the Bill of Rights. It is a Federally protected institution. Constitutionally.
The Press is mentioned in the Bill of Rights. It is a Federally protected institution. Constitutionally.
That is not precisely true. The exact quote of the First Amendment is:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.You will say, "Of course. The Press is mentioned right there, just as I said." But, not so fast. The Constitution and its amendments is a written document, and it says "the freedom . . . of the press" - NOT ""the freedom . . . of The Press." And that "slight" distinction betrays a major difference between what you have been told and what is true.
The ratification of the Constitution was a close-run thing, with Washington (who had chaired the Constitutional Convention) playing a critical role in attaining ratification. The Antifederalists condemned the want of a bill of rights in the Constitution, and the Federalists opposed it - but not because they opposed the rights articulated in the Bill of Rights. Rather, they opposed it because they held that the unamended Constitution contained within it all the rights which could be articulated specifically in a bill of rights, and more. They argued that a bill of rights would inevitably leave out some rights which pertained to the people, and that therefore a bill of rights risked functioning as a ceiling, rather than a floor, of the rights of the people. That people would argue, "it's not in the Bill of Rights, so it's not in the Constitution." Supreme Court justices, both liberal and conservative, will tell you that since the people who ratified the Constitution did so on the understanding that the advocates of ratification were correct, the body of the Constitution is properly read to mean that. So you aren't up to speed on the Constitution unless you can find in the body of the Constitution a basis for upholding any right articulated in the Bill of Rights.
And IMHO, the First Amendment is abused as a ceiling on the rights of the people when Big Journalism - essentially the Associated Press and its members - calls itself "The Press." Article 1 Section 9 mandates thatNo title of nobility shall be granted by the United States.But what else is "The Press" but a title of nobility, when journalists are given "shield laws" which allow them to flout laws which you or I are obligated to obey? Or when McCain-Feingold says that you or I may not criticize politicians during election season, but that's constitutional because "The Press" can?
The First Amendment is not in conflict with the rest of the Constitution. The correct understanding of "the freedom of . . . the press" is, "the right of the people to spend their own money to pay for the use of technology to promote their political (and other) opinions." The printing press was the state of the art for the dissemination of political opinion at the time of the ratification of the First Amendment, but the body of the Constitution (Article 1 Section 8) specifically provides the authorityTo promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveriesThe existence of that authority, and the motivation for it, in the body of the Constitution marks the Constitution as a progress-promoting document. Therefore unless you want to argue that the ratifiers of the First Amendment thought that they were making an exception to the rule that there should be progress in the state of every art by saying under their prescient breath, "except for radio and television, but the high speed press and the photocopier will be OK," there is no case that the First Amendment places a ceiling on the communication technology which the people have the right to use.
It is wrong to consider "The Press" to be a group of noblemen who have privileges apart from the rights of the people. Especially when that group is a bunch of monopolists who violate the Antitrust laws.
Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet
Economics and Culture, Media and Community, Open Source
Hat tip to abb.
The Press is an institution of the state. No reference is made to any individuals who might populate that institution.
The Press is an institution of the state. No reference is made to any individuals who might populate that institution.
"An institution of the state" is not independent of the state and certainly not free of the control of the state.
That certainly describes journalism as we know it, and it describes the assumptions of "campaign finance reform" in all its incarnations. It just doesn't describe freedom. Just as using "society" as a euphemism for "the state" - as "liberals" are wont to do - is accurate only in the absence of freedom.
it is evident that [a bill of rights] would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government.
IMHO that is what has happened with the First Amendment and the right of the people to spend their own money to avail themselves of technological means to promote their own (political, religious, and other) opinions.
We have the spectacle of the members of a monopolistic organization, the Associated Press - an institution not even extant at the framing of the Bill of Rights nor even in the entire lifetime of James Madison (1751 1836) - declaring themselves alone to be "the press" protected by the First Amendment. And successfully promoting "campaign finance reform" laws to denigrate the rights of the rest of the people on that basis.
Each law more onerous than the last - and with the author of the latest, John McCain, announcing shortly after its passage that McCain-Feingold was not restrictive enough!
Again Thomas Sowell identifies one of the most serious cracks in our Republic.It is one of the painful signs of our times that millions of people are so easily swayed by rhetoric that they show virtually no interest at all in finding out the hard facts.
Yes. But I would identify the root of the problem in the monopoly which promotes the idea of the easy, cheap solution - the form of "press" created by the monopoly Associated Press in the mid-Nineteenth Century.
Big Journalism flatters its audience just as "Self esteem" education flatters students. Rather than challenging people to think, flattery denigrates the idea that thinking is necessary. "You are so great that your emotional reactions are superior to other people's best rational analysis." Doesn't that make you feel good? You don't have to think about anything at all! Nobody can be smarter than you!
There has been NO incentive for the PI and the Times to compete on important stories; just competition to see which one can be a more slavering running-dog lackey of the left wing lunatic fringe.
Journalism is about change, and change is what "progressives" offer.
The First Amendment protects freedom of the press, but the Associated Press has arrogated the title "the press" to itself - as though the right applied exclusively to that institution. But the framers were not, could not have been, talking specifically about an institution whose founding was generations in the future when the First Amendment was ratified. The Associated Press created journalism as we know it, with its nationwide homogeneity and its claims that all journalists are "objective." But "the freedom of the press" is the right of the people, not only of some oligarchy, to spend money to use technology to promote our religious, political (and other) ideas.We the people talk about what is on their minds - and while Big Journalism is able to dominate the national conversation, what is on our minds will mostly be "what's in the newspapers." Conservative bloggers/forum posters exist in reaction to the fact that journalism is inherently anticonservative. And in reaction to the "progressive" politicians who draft on the propaganda wind of Big Journalism.Don't count on bloggers or talk radio to fill the gap, said former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, another committee leader: They mostly talk about what's in the newspapers.
There is no reason that the political parties cannot produce, and publish on the web, the political rhetoric which frames the national conversation. The people have no need of an oligarchy of pseudo-objective journalists to fill that role.
There is no reason that the political parties cannot produce, and publish on the web, the political rhetoric which frames the national conversation. The people have no need of an oligarchy of pseudo-objective journalists to fill that role.Well said, as always!
Most interesting how the notion of becoming a conservative voice as a last ditch measure to try to save the paper totally eludes Swartz, McCumber, et al. Yet the Inet clearly shows an oversaturation of progressive liberal socialist voices in mass media and a mostly ignored vastly underserved conservative market.
New media makes for killer competition in the socialist arena. How many lite versions of the New York Times-WaPo can America's socialist market segment simultaneously support?
Yes - but that comports with my theory that journalism as we know it is inherently "progressive" and that conservative journalism is an oxymoron like dry water.
Businesses have cultures, and a business' culture is difficult or impossible to fundamentally change. On its face the problem seems simple to us, who are not of that culture - simply enter the niche for conservative perspective which Rush Limbaugh finds so fabulously profitable. But Rush is in that niche by conviction, and failing newspapers are on the opposite side, also out of (misguided) conviction. Even assuming that they see the opportunity, they have not the art to exploit it. Even if they tried, they would come across as phonies.
Journalism by its nature emphasizes the things that conservatives de-emphasize, and vice versa.
Brings to mind something from Teddy Roosevelt we are wont to emphasize around here from time to time:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better...
I don't know in what context those words were said but they were most certainly directed towards "journalists", who for whatever reasons took it upon themselves to become the conscience of the world. They took the easy and sleazy way to importance; criticizing those that actually do things. When did what they say become more important than what others do???
Question is, how did they achieve their unlikely rise to prominence and influence? They certainly don't deserve to be held in such high esteem. The fact they were able to get news, or what passes for news, from one place to another earns them their exalted position? Not in my book. But then, I'm a conservative who worked for a living most of my life, and in fact actually accomplished something. I suppose I should be thankful that what I did wasn't important enough to have the media types come around to show me how I should have been doing my job.
Anyway, I suspect P T Barnum would have been right at home with the lot of 'em. Carnival barkers, snake oil salesmen, assorted hucksters and others of dubious moral character make up the class for the most part.
BTW, I'm happy to see you're still chronicling many of the media bias threads.
I don't know in what context those words were said but they were most certainly directed towards "journalists",It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better...
Turns out that Roosevelt had something to say specifically about journalists later in his speech:Of course all that I say of the orator applies with even greater force to the orator's latter-day and more influential brother, the journalist. The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright. He can do, and often does, great good. He can do, and he often does, infinite mischief. All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offenses against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper. Mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, vapid triviality, all are potent factors for the debauchery of the public mind and conscience. The excuse advanced for vicious writing, that the public demands it and that demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations. In short, the good citizen in a republic must realize that the ought to possess two sets of qualities, and that neither avails without the other. He must have those qualities which make for efficiency; and that he also must have those qualities which direct the efficiency into channels for the public good.The whole speech rewards a reading:http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.htmlBut far from holding each other to account, of course, all journalists - being "associated" with each other in the Associated Press - collude to suppress effective public criticism of the "mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, [and] vapid triviality" in which all engage as a matter of course.
All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it.
Yes - but that comports with my theory that journalism as we know it is inherently "progressive" and that conservative journalism is an oxymoron like dry water.Empirical evidence in the form of an apparent lack of awareness among journalists that their own progressive socialist proclivities antagonize nearly half their market proves you absolutely correct thus far.
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