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.
To support the "Fairness" Doctrine you have to do the three things that Steve Glorioso does in the segment:
- claim that left wing perspectives are shut out of AM radio,The rise and fall of Air America puts paid to the first of those contentions. De minimus market for explicitly left wing talk radio exists. Hence, there is no proof that broadcasters discriminate against purveryors thereof.
- claim that other media than AM radio are insignificant,Aaron Barnhardt handled the second assertion well, mentioning the tv commedy (that's left wing comedy) shows with wide reach and significant audience.and - the biggie -
- claim that conservatives can't prove, anecdotes aside, that journalism is not objective.First, I would argue that no proof is needed, since the presumption must be in favor of freedom and against censorship, which is what advocates of anything like the Fairness Doctrine actually intend. In earnest of that position, I support and actually endorse the idea of having a network of left wing radio stations in the country. I even have a proposed name for it - it should be called, "National Public Radio." Making its tendency official would be an improvement.
Second, as an employee of a newspaper Aaron Barnhardt cannot be an open, full-throated advocate for the fact that journalism is biased - much less for the easily proven proposition that journalism is a bias. As demonstrated by the fact that in principle an entire great metropolis theoretically could grow, gradually over the course of a couple of decades, without ever generating the kind of incident which would make a great story. But let just one of the buildings in that metropolis burn down - and that would be a story.
Simon praised the Internet as a "marvelous tool" for information delivery, but produces little in the way of original reporting.
"Instead, it leeches that reporting from mainstream news publications, whereupon aggregating Websites and bloggers contribute little more than repetition, commentary and froth."
Let's play that thru our trusty disgronifier and get the reality:
"The News" is froth, almost exclusively. That's what it means when journalists say, "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper" (which is just another way of saying, "Meet your new deadline for today's newspaper" - you can always find something to say, and claim it is important).
"The News" is also negative - "No news is good news" is a true saying, because good news "isn't news."
The claim that "journalism is the first draft of history" is either false or shocking, because historians worthy of the name shy away from writing about current events. And because "First reports are always wrong," and because journalism is always selling. It is always selling journalism, which means it is always selling froth. Froth which is slanted to inflate the importance of journalism, which means (since journalism doesn't pick the crops or capture thieves or design or make widgets) that journalism inherently tends to criticize and second-guess the people who do do those things.
Because of that, journalism has an inherent political tendency. And it gives politicians who promote that same tendency favorable labels. Such as "liberal" (Americans favor liberty, after all) and "progressive" (Americans believe in progress) and "moderate" (who can object to the classical virtue of moderation?). Journalism never labels people it agrees with as extreme, or on a "wing" of anything. But it labels people who disagree with its perspective "conservative" (you may think that's not a negative label, but marketers don't generally salivate over the idea of plastering "Old!!" on boxes to put on store shelves), or "right wing."
Web sites certainly tend to repeat "the news," but I for one do not enjoy the froth which is "news" as a general proposition - I essentially never listen to network news, because I consider "news" to generally be irritating tendentiousness. I want perspective, and thoughtful reflection on events and political actors. I want commentary. Including, importantly, the ability to interject my own commentary into a serious discussion. What journalism sells, OTOH, is arrogant claims of its own importance and relevance.
For several decades, most of the ingenuity that liberal academics have invested in First Amendment analysis has aimed to justify limiting the core activity that the amendment was written to protect -- political speech. These analyses treat free speech as not an inherent good but as a merely instrumental good, something justified by serving other ends -- therefore something to be balanced against, and abridged to advance, other goods.
It's not just "liberal academics" who exert themselves in that direction - ironic and irrational as it may seem, the associated press does exactly the same thing. The public didn't particularly favor McCain-Feingold; it polled very low as a priority of the public. The people who backed it and successfully promoted its passage were the people who consider themselves "the press" and "the fourth estate." Why would they do that? Simple - they are associated. They are monochromatic; if you miss ABC news read the New York Times, if you miss the Times just listen to ABC News - and so on. So de facto, the (self-defined) "press" is not the people exercising its right to speak and to publish our opinions, "the press" as the Associated Press defines the term is an entity, namely, itself.
Now, the telegraph and the Associated Press didn't exist until the middle of the Nineteenth Century - so the Associated Press was not, and could not have been, written into the Constitution in the First Amendment. But what we have instead of a free press is a unified press which declares itself to be objective and has succeeded in establishing that template for the thinking of America over a span of a half-dozen generations. But since it and its membership exist to promote themselves first of all, it is only natural that many politicians would go along and get along with the unified "press." And just as natural for journalists to reward those who do so with positive labels such as "progressive - and "liberal," and to punish politicians who have principles they place above going along with "the press" with negative labels such as "right wing" and "conservative" (we are not actually conservative, it's just that we aren't radical and that looks "conservative" to the radicals in "the press."
I'm trying to imagine what these newspapers would say if the heads of Exxon, BP, Chevron, Shell, and Conoco-Phillips held a secret meeting to discuss competition, business models, pricing, etc.Adam Smith himself warned, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."
As Rush points out, if you miss ABC News, just read The New York Times, if you don't see the Times look at CBS News, if you miss CBS News read The Washington Post, and so on.
The reason is simple - all major journalism outlets are associated. Officially. They belong the the Associated Press. And because they are associated, they have an interest in the credulity of the public for all of journalism. Because they are associated, every journalist has every other journalist's back when it comes to "objectivity" claims. Because they are associated, they share their reports in common - but although they thereby set the agenda of public discussion, they often enforce copyright claims against Free Republic and so forth.
Its becoming clear that MSM should be held accountable
Rush Limbaugh screens out calls about bias in the media, for the simple reason that if he didn't he would talk about nothing else.
In a way, I do the same thing - I stopped subscribing to the AIM Report after a year or two, back in the late 1970s because I was convinced. It became a twice-told tale. Once you are familiar with gravity, one more apple falling off the tree is of no great interest. The question has always been not if "the media" was biased to the left, but why? And what could be done about it. In the three decades since the Carter Administration I have thought long and hard about those issues, and come to some conclusions:
- Fiction is just the story someone wants to tell. Certainly fiction has great potential for political implications - but unless you are willing to contemplate outright censorship there is little point in being exercised about political tendencies in fiction. So the proper concern to be addressed isn't "bias in the media," it is the political tendency of the reporting of the news.
- And even with respect to the reporting of the news, nobody thinks that a newspaper, still less a broadcast report, can report everything that happens. So editing is inevitable. And since "Half the truth is often a great lie" (Franklin), there is wide scope for tendentiousness in what the editor reports, and what he ignores. So to say "freedom of speech, and of the press" is to say that any given reporter/publication can be tendentious. The actual scandal is not that there is tendentiousness in journalism, it is that anyone thinks that journalism is objective. And the biggest scandal of all is the associated press.
The Associated Press was founded in the middle of Nineteenth Century. It is a news wire service and, obviously, could not have existed until the telegraph came into use - several decades after the framing of the Constitution and the First Amendment. In the pre-AP era newspapers were mostly small weeklies whose publishers didn't have sources of news not in principle available to the general public. The opinion of the printer was mostly what the newspaper was about, so there was little or no presumption of objectivity about such a newspaper. When the AP came into existence as an aggressive monopoly (ruled in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1945), the dangers of its centralized propaganda power were obvious. In response to that challenge to its legitimacy, the AP argued that it consisted of a club of fiercely independent and competitive newspapers, and that as such the AP was objective.
But far from the independence of the newspapers taming any tendentiousness in the AP, the cost and concomitant need to maximize the value of the AP to the newspapers created an overwhelming unifying and homogenizing effect on the newspapers. The only way for the AP to be considered "objective" was for its reporters to be considered to be objective. And by extension, all reporters had to be considered to be objective. And the inevitable result was, and is, groupthink. And what kind of "thought" would all those reporters naturally rally around? Why, the importance of reporting, of course. Businesses may provide us food, shelter, and clothing, and police and military organizations may provide us safety. But reporters do the really important work of criticizing and second guessing everyone else!
And the political implication of that tendency among journalists is leftism. Leftist politicians merely go along and get along with journalists as their first, last, and only priority. It's not that the government controls "the media" (but only when Democrats are in the government), journalism and its interests controls the Democratic Party.
Thank You. This is very interesting and informative.
How did she help?She's part of the problem which elected these goons in the first place.
That is what reporters are supposed to do.
All very well to say. But the Homogeneous - they like to call themselves "associated" - press is a propaganda monopoly, and has been since the Civil War era. Its central feature is the taboo it enforces against any challenge to the claim that it consists entirely of nothing but objective journalists. Which is why Dan Rather was so sure that he could stonewall when his "Texas Air National Guard Memo" hoax was exposed within minutes of its broadcast, and thoroughly disproved within days. Rather was wrong in his belief that in 2004 he could perpetrate that hoax as an "October Surprise" on GW Bush, but you have to admit that he was correct in his assumption that it was impossible to create significant journalistic criticism of Dan Rather or of CBS News for broadcasting that hoax and stonewalling the subsequent Internet criticism.
The opposite was the case, tho, when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth told the truth about John Kerry. Any newsman who had backed the SBVT for telling the inconveniet truth about John Kerry would have instantly been drummed out of the profession. As it is, the term "swift boating" is a way for Democrats and reporters, to slur on both the SBVT and whoever else tells the truth about a Democrat.
So while reporters may ask legitimately challenging questions of Republicans, they reserve the softball questions for the Democrats, and outright hoaxes (see "Palin, Sarah") targeted at Republicans. Had reporters done the slightest bit of investigative journalism and analysis from anything other than a left-wing perspective, the electorate would have known before November that Obama's best friends were racists and/or terrorists.
Because all things public eventually get taken over by those on the left. Its the venue that lets them feel best about themselves.Why did they stop being politically neutral?
They didn't stop being objective; they never started. Journalism as we know it traces back, not to the founding era, but to the middle of the 19th Century and the founding of the Associated Press monopoly (the AP was found to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1945).
The centralized propaganda power of the AP was obvious, and it naturally aroused suspicion and challenge. The AP replied that since it consisted of member newspapers which famously didn't agree on much of anything, the AP itself was objective.
But there is in fact something that all members of the AP must agree with the AP about. Namely, the importance of AP journalism and the objectivity of AP journalists. The AP and its members thereby flatter each other and themselves, and acceptance of flattery leads directly to arrogance.
Bump & bookmark
News is the first draft of history", or so we're told. In truth, the "news" reported by mass media seldom reflects the crucial events of the moment. News reports of the summer of 1914 treated the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand as a trivial Balkan matter, of little interest to anyone in the more civilized areas of Europe. Similarly, you'd look long and hard in the late spring of 1950 for any mention of a place called "Korea" in U.S. papers. "News", as the major media describes it, is almost without exception trivia.
"There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper."
That is another way of telling a reporter, "Meet your deadline!" But it captures the ineluctable superficiality which the deadline imposes on journalism.
But the deadline was not at all the same issue in the days before the telegraph and the Associated Press newswire. Previously most "newspapers" were weeklies - and some had no deadline at all, and the printer simply went to press when he was good and ready. It is the value, and the expense, of the AP newswire which puts the pressure on the newspaper to meet short deadlines.
The fact that Korea wasn't a major topic in journalism prior to the invasion which started the Korean War, and that journalism was determined that foreign policy not be considered a live issue in the 1992 election when such an emphasis would have favored the sitting Republican President and Reagan heir over the untested Arkansas governor, shows that journalism's vaunted "objectivity" is hype rather than reality.
That proof is unnecessary, considering that hyping your own objectivity is the very definition of subjectivity. And that applies to journalism even if journalists restrict their hype to a mutual admiration society approach rather than direct self-praise. After all, praising those who agree with you is no different than praising yourself. Just as criticizing those you disagree with, as Obama criticized the Founding Fathers, is a form of self-praise.
Fox News Ad Draws Protests
Even if the ad were false it would be an encouraging thing which We-the-People should be behind.
Why? Because the fact that all other Associated Press outlets go along and get along with each other is the great scandal of American politics.
The Associated Press is a conspiracy in restraint of trade. It started out, when telegraphy was expensive, with a legitimate-seeming reason for existence. In the Internet era, there is NO justification for the combination of all our newspapers into a de facto cartel. NONE.
Freedom of the press demands nothing less than the dismantling of the Associated Press."People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices." - Adam SmithThat is precisely what is going on right now, WRT the effort to cartelize the posting of news on the internet. It is not the price alone that is at issue - it is precisely the tendency, one might easily suspect the pact, of members of the AP to refuse to compete on reliability in any serious way.
re: my #153:
There is no way to prove that Associated Press Journalism is not a single entity which is de facto in cahoots with the Democratic Party in its present "liberal" incarnation. Admittedly that might be called an unprovable negative, but there is so much history of correlation between the "two" entities as to raise the question. Current issues include not only the obvious reluctance of Associated Press Journalism to publicize the dramatic evidence of the corruption of an organization, ACORN, with which the sitting Democratic president is so clearly associated but also the clear support of Associated Press Journalism for the Democratic Party's propaganda campaign against white men who aren't Democrats (and the denial of the existence of, or extreme demonization of, blacks who aren't Democrats).
The mere fact that it is impossible to prove that Associated Press Journalism is not a single entity which is de facto in cahoots with the Democratic Party (irrespective of the truth of the matter) should, it seems, delegitimate the idea that broadcast journalism is intrinsically in the public interest. The fact that there is so much evidence in favor of the proposition that Associated Press Journalism such an entity would even seem to be grounds for a civil suit and, considering the evidence that it is in league with ACORN and that ACORN is a corrupt organization, even a RICO lawsuit for triple damages for some very substantial torts.
They're beating a dead horse.
Who wants to wait for the news once a day when you can get it in real time with 24-hour news channels and the public Internet?
My daughter was shocked to learn that there was a time when I listened to "all news all the time" radio stations. Her shock was due to the fact that ever since she was aware of what was going on, I have treated "the news" as a commercial for a product I wouldn't buy on a bet. Which is exactly what it is and, after cogitating on the question for decades, I think I can explain why.
I have always gravitated to the editorial pages of newspapers (which is why I latched onto the Wall Street Journal in the 1970s when Robert Bartley was the editorial page editor). Even a liberal editorial page is preferable, generally, to the "hard news" sections of a typical newspaper - even one with a good editorial page. Coincidentally - or not - the newspapers of the founding era, and up to the Civil War era, were pretty much like the editorial pages of today's newspapers. Those newspapers, lacking a source of news which, in principle, any ordinary citizen could not know before the paper printed it, were more about the opinion of the editor than about "the news." A cause, and an effect, of that situation was that "newspapers" of that era were usually weeklies rather than dailies.
But with the advent of the telegraph and the Associated Press newswire, the newspaper business was transformed. The expense and exclusivity of "the wire" meant that newspaper offices had the latest news from all over the country, and ultimately from all over the world, to which the general public could not be privy until the local newspaper printed it (or, if the local papers did not print it, until the word seeped out by word of mouth and letters and so forth, just as the case had been with all news in the pre-AP days). So the AP gave the newspapers an aura of knowledge, provided that the veracity and objectivity of the reports on "the wire" was taken for granted. That aura of knowledgeability was a valuable (and expensive) franchise, and one to be nurtured assiduously by the newspapers.
To optimize the value of that franchise it was only logical that the newspapers would conduct a propaganda campaign to the effect that reporters - whether local reporters working for the individual newspaper or remote reporters working for different members of the AP, or employed directly by the AP itself - were objective. To put it bluntly, membership in the AP put you in cahoots with all other members of the AP. The members of the AP, who were famously fractious and independent before the AP, had in fact jumped together into a blender. With the result that if you've seen one news report, you've seen them all - within the AP there cannot be truly independent reporting.
The irony of a propaganda campaign promoting one's own organization as being "objective" is that "taking one's own objectivity for granted" is an awfully good definition of subjectivity.
Today, of course, the AP newswire is pretty much a dead horse. On the web you can read reports from distant places by individuals - people you don't know, apart from whatever reputation they may develop by reporting independently from their own locale and their own individual perspective. FReepers, for example. But precisely because of the precariousness of their situation, the membership of the AP is lashing out with a vengeance. McCain-Feingold, and the Obama presidency, are results of that.
An interesting article, and especially an interesting reply at #9 with its "clarifi[cation of] what I believe for a Free Republic audience." I'm pointing it out to some folks who might be interested.
You note that there are hardly any conservative papers left, but indicate that there were some fifty years ago. I'm old enough to remember not just Ronald Reagan but Senator Joseph McCarthy, and IMHO there wasn't really any conservative journalism even in the 1950s, when I was in my teens. I stipulate that there were conservative editorial pages - as the Wall Street Journal has a conservative editorial page today - but IMHO "straight news" is anticonservative, inherently.Today, far too many conservatives have forgotten that the First Amendment was not written by the ACLU but rather by the Founding Fathers who believed a free press was essential to preserve constitutional government.
I agree with you, but not precisely. If you wanted to trouble to follow the link to this article and its hundreds and hundreds of replies, you would see me struggling to get my arms around the issue of "bias in the media." Coming at it from a libertarian perspective, and not looking for a conspiracy by trying to understand why journalism had the bias that it so transparently (once one looks the facts in the eye) did, and does, have.most of the major newspaper companies . . . decided the only way to survive was . . . to provide an economy of scale. There are some things which can be done much more cheaply by one group of 50 or 100 newspapers than by any of them individually, and newspaper owners in the last couple of decades made a deliberate decision that the cost of debt service was not only worth the expense but was an unavoidable expense
But, to my surprise, I find myself having produced something very like a "conspiracy theory." I have found a villain. You note that
. . . and that is my villain. But it didn't happen yesterday, it started in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Prior to that time newspapers were pretty open about their politics, and famously fractious in their independence. But those early newspapers generally weren't dailies; most of them were weeklies and there were newspapers which had no fixed deadline and just went to press when the printer was good and ready. That was the milieu of the newspaper business in the founding era when the First Amendment was written and ratified.
Then lightning struck. It is known as "the telegraph." Suddenly the newspapers which had operated on a business model which was more about selling the perspective of the printer were in a position to print information to which the general public could not be privy until the local newspaper committed the story from the AP newswire to print and started selling the newspaper. In a (historical) instant, the business changed from printing the opinion of the printer to printing stories from the newswire, with the "editorial page" thrown in for the printers opinions. There was no hiding the concentration of propaganda power which the AP entailed, and challenges were made on that basis. Those challenges were fended off by noting that the AP member newspapers notoriously didn't agree on much of anything, and claiming that therefore the AP itself was objective.
That sounded logical, sort of, and people bought it because the alternative was to hinder the ability of the public to get news reports in days which historically had taken weeks to arrive from distant places. But in reality the AP was a blender which homogenized newspapers even while the editorial pages retained their independence. De facto, the "fractiously independent" newspapers became mere fronts for the AP. You see that in the absolute refusal of any journalist to question the "objectivity" of any other journalist - precisely the mechanism Dan Rather and CBS counted on to initially sell and, once the cover was blown by FR and later by bloggers, to stonewall the obvious political motivation of, the "Texas Air National Guard Memo" hoax."People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices." - Adam SmithSmith goes on to say that on that account it was a bad thing for tradesmen to assemble together, and that although it could not be entirely prevented in a free country, the government should certainly do nothing to promote it. Certainly Smith was right - and certainly that problem is even more difficult when the "tradesmen" in question are dealing not with things but with information and ideas. But that does not change the fact that we-the-people need, not "a free press," but free and independent presses. The singular "the press" we have presumes to wear the name "the press" as a title of nobility which it presumes entitles it to prerogatives not available to the people generally.
Newspaper sale$ decline should be blamed on the journos
By Jack Kelly:People who work at journalism full time ought to be able to do a better job of it than people for whom it is a hobby. But that's not going to happen as long as we "professional" journalists ignore stories we don't like and try to hide our mistakes. We think of ourselves as "gatekeepers." But there is not much future in being a gatekeeper when the walls are down.
With the internet in being, the "walls" of communication delay between distant places are obliterated. The AP as a homogenizing influence on American journalism no longer has a justifying rationale. According to this interesting web site put up by a college teacher, the AP was found to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act 'way back in 1945; today IMHO it should be sued into oblivion.
Article 1 Section 9:No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States
IOW, "the press" or "journalist" cannot legally be a title of nobility which makes "some animals more equal than others."
OTOH, the First Amendment does not apply to the Internet, the radio, or even the telegraph - at least not directly. They weren't invented yet, and were not and could not have been mentioned - but that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter for two reasons: first, the Constitution is a (truly) progressive document:
Article 1 Section 8:The Congress shall have power . . . 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 . . .. . . which means that even tho those particular inventions lay in the future, they were in principle contemplated by the framers and not specifically excluded from the freedom which is
the mission of the Constitution:We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.The First Amendment, indeed the entire Bill of Rights, was opposed by Madison and the Federalists not because they opposed the rights but because they feared that the construction of Constitution would not adhere to the
Ninth Amendment:The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.That is, they feared that the Bill of Rights would be treated not as a floor under the rights of the people, but as a ceiling limiting them. Which is precisely what happens when the government censors a new communications technology on the pretext that it was not mentioned in the First Amendment.
"There are many intellectually impressive conservative advocates and opinion leaders, but the ideology does not seem to make for good journalists. In contrast, any examination of the nations top reporters over the past half-century would show that, in the main, liberals do make good journalists . . ."
Target-rich environment. But, IMHO, this is actually correct - you simply have to understand what it means. The fundamental unexamined assumption is that journalism is what is important. Why would that be so?
Journalism is the "church of what's happening now," and is inherently superficial. The saying, "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper" is true - and that just goes to show how much today's newspaper is worth. The Bible is worth as much today as it was yesterday, and will be worth tomorrow - yet today's newspaper will be worthless tomorrow. And you are surprised that conservatives don't do journalism?". . . in the tradition of objective news coverage."Now here is where it really gets rich. To really discuss the author's fallacious perspective in this regard, let's quote him more extensively:[journalists are a pack of liberals] but, and this is a mega-but, even though the mainstream media are by this measure liberal, ending the discussion at this point would be a major disservice to both the press and the public. While the personnel tend to share an ideological worldview, most have a personal and professional commitment to the objective presentation of information, a commitment that is not shared by the conservative media.Give this writer credit, he urges that journalists admit their "liberal" perspective (tho he presumably would never occur to him to put "liberal" is scare quotes when, in a tradition started by journalism in the 1920s, it is used as a euphemism for the opposite of classical liberalism). But the conservative media generally have no choice but to declare their perspective rather than claiming to be objective. A conservative effectively says, "I'm a conservative, and you can take that into account in evaluating my analysis." The (liberal) journalist says, "I'm an objective journalist, and this is what is true." Or, as Walter Cronkite (in his retirement a very "liberal" commentator) famously put it, ". . . and that's the way it is . . ."
Which of those formulations is humble, and which is arrogant? The conservative says, "In my opinion," and the "liberal" journalist says that after he has spoken there is no room for argument. To proclaim yourself to be objective is to mark yourself as arrogant and hopelessly subjective. The conservative writes for the present and the future, so he wants to be right and to subject his thoughts to scrutiny and debate. The "objective" journalist writes for the very immediate present, and changes the subject at his own discretion whenever events overtake what the journalist said yesterday. Considering that the journalist has a finite bandwidth to fill, and the world is such a big place, no one could expect the journalist to tell all the truth. And yet - as Benjamin Franklin put it - "Half the truth is often a great lie." Even if everything a journalist says is true, there must be room for varying opinions as to what is actually important. And this the self-proclaimed "objective" journalist effectively denies.
The difference between the "objective" journalist and the "conservative" commentator is the difference between the sophist and the philosopher of ancient Greece. The sophist argued from the assumption of his own wisdom, and became famous for specious, self-serving arguments. The philosopher rebutted the sophist by saying, "I do not claim to be wise, but I love wisdom and want to hear your facts and your logic." The journalist is a hit-and-run artist who insinuates his point and then changes the subject.
Political correctness would have no traction at all, were it not for the fact that, as a mechanism for delegitimating rational thought, it serves the purposes of those whose business it is to promote themselves and their own argumentation above facts and logic.
It serves, that is, the interests of the complaining professions - lawyers, journalists, and in fact all the usual "liberal" suspects.
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