Skip to comments.The Right to Know
Posted on 05/12/2008 5:31:32 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
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ping for later.
Conservatives have somewhat solved the confusion by using the term Classical liberal.the inversion of the meaning of the word [liberal] patently was intended to cause confusion
True, but that cannot be the total solution. In fact, there cannot be a total solution, as long as the socialists are in a position to continuously jerk us around with new meanings and new, deceptive words like "swiftboating."
Which is why I have been so interested in the question of how to delegitimate the subversive conceit that journalism is objective . . . and why I was so excited when I recognized what should have been the obvious fact that journalism was transformed - nay, almost invented - by the Associated Press. The claim of journalistic objectivity apparently only traces to the advent of the AP, because prior to that time newspapers didn't systematically trade news reports, and didn't really have news sources that the rest of the public could not in principle have access to. So it was only the advent of the Associated Press that put the "news" in "newspaper."
The AP is a mechanism which effectively homogenized the newspapers by transforming all of them from opinion journals which also carried news into newspapers which also carry opinion. And the nonlocal news which they carry, their primary stock in trade, comes from a single source - and all newspapers have a financial stake in the idea that those reports are reliable. So, not in the interest of the public nor in the interest of truth but in the interest of the newspapers and of the AP, all journalists made the questioning the objectivity of any journalist a taboo subject. The public violation of which taboo is punished by expulsion from the fraternity of "objective journalists."
The business of the AP and all of its constituent newspapers is to seduce the public into thinking that the latest report, available only from the AP, is of crucial importance. On rare occasion - such as on 9/11/01 - that actually was arguably true. But in general, it is a gross exaggeration of the value of such reports. And it has the deleterious effect of distracting the public from things which are true and important to reports which are of lesser reliability and generally of lesser significance. And the "liberal" politician aligns himself with the propaganda wind which that bias of journalism creates.
One of the pillars of Osama's campaign is that a McCain presidency would be Bush's 3rd term. McCain has responded that an Obama presidency would be Carter's 2nd term. While McCain's response is clever and truthful, it will be largely ineffective since no one under 40 has any appreciation of how utterly wretched the Carter administration was.
. . . and Big Journalism certainly isn't about to tell them!
Well journalism might say that it is not their business to "report" on 30-year-old "news" - but that simply illustrates that journalism is a bias.
It is not merely that journalism is biased in some way, compared to some putative golden age in living memory - emphasis on the new is a bias.
What was called a "newspaper" in the founding era would not be accorded that name today, because the "newspapers" of the founding era were openly partisan - and had no source of news which the general public could not in principle learn from the same sources as the printer. The telegraph and the Associated Press essentially created journalism as we know it - a genre of publication which sells information which - before the Internet, at least - was not accessible to anyone in a given newspaper's area nearly so soon by any other means than reading the paper.
Since journalism is a bias, no distinction between journalism and frank opinion - such as is embedded in McCain-Feingold - makes any constitutional sense. The free press is free to be partisan, or it is not free at all.
Hmmm ... not a bad idea at all. I wonder if he'll consider a book in place of a video.Maybe require them to read all of Michael Yons dispatches?
If this matters to you, buy the book and give it to him. When you restrict yourself to a video, you are betting on the other fellow's game - because you know how easy it is for leftists to produce with high production values and how hard it is to find conservative people in Hollywood. Production values and eye candy are superficial compared to facts and logic - and since "liberalism" is superficial, you are in hostile territory right there.
I had the experience of being found out as a conservative in a setting where I hadn't thought it necessary to debate politics, and the guy challenged me, "You probably think that journalists are objective." My reaction was to laugh, because I had already studied that issue a great deal - but ultimately I got tied up trying to argue on the wrong (albeit valid) ground and came out very frustrated.
My analysis of "liberalism" is that it is critically dependent on the support of Big Journalism, to the point that it would do at least ten points worse in any given election if journalism weren't putting a thumb on the scale with its propaganda. And that Big Journalism didn't exist at all in the founding era; the various newspapers were all openly committed to the viewpoints of their publishers, and made no claims of being objective - for the simple reason that newspapers didn't cooperate with each other in promoting the con that all journalism is objective.
Not only did Big Journalism not exist, the very idea of journalism, as we know it, itself barely existed. The reason for that was that newspaper printers didn't have access to information which, at least in principle, any given man on the street might not also know, from the same source as the printer got it. Consequently the early "newspapers" were not typically daily publications; they were often weeklies, and some had no fixed deadline and just printed whenever the printer decided he was ready. Making it even more likely that you might hear something on the street on Tuesday, and not see it in the paper until Friday.
The Big Bang of journalism, and of "liberalism," was the advent of the telegraph and the Associated Press in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. The Associated Press was and is a monopoly, and it aggressively elbowed competition out with anticompetitive practices (and indeed was held by SCOTUS to be in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1945). In the 1800s the AP defended itself against accurate charges that it was a powerful and unaccountable influence on the public by asserting that the AP was a group of newspapers which were famous for not agreeing about much of anything to do with public policy - so the AP was "objective." It was a successful argument, as we know too well - but it is a logical fallacy.
First because "believing in one's own objectivity" is my preferred definition of "subjectivity." And second, the existence of the AP basically mooted the famous fractiousness of its membership. Without the AP newswire, what we now call "the editorial position" of any given newspaper was its dominant feature. With the AP wire, a newspaper's primary content was actually news, in principle and in practice. While a twenty-year-old Wall Street Journal wouldn't tell you much that you would likely care about now in its news section, its editorial commentaries would still be likely to have resonance for the issues of today. So the more the content of a newspaper is dominated by newswire stories, the less attention is attracted by its editorial page - and the less that "fractious independence" actually matters. Worse, the importance of the newswire motivates the journalist to herd together with other journalists since the justification for trusting the story on the wire is not that the newspaper printing that story knew the story from its own reporters, but because of trust being placed in other, remote, reporters.
So the "objectivity" of journalists is simply a propaganda fiction needed by AP newspapers in order to sell their perishable AP newswire stories to the public. And that explains why a Dan Rather could be so confident that the rest of journalism would circle the wagons around himself and CBS even after we had him dead to rights on his "Killian Memo" fiction. All those "fractiously independent" newspapers are actually part of an overarching organization, the AP - and what journalists call "objectivity" is simply a matter of going along and getting along with the rest of that organization.
So we can see how Big Journalism coheres, giving it the opportunity to align itself with a political slant such as "liberalism" or conservatism while calling itself "objective." But what is its motive for aligning itself with "liberalism?" I actually think that question should be turned around. It is perfectly clear that if Big Journalism has any natural political tendency, the resulting propaganda wind of that tendency would provide ample motive for politicians to align themselves with it. And I consider that the natural political tendency of journalism was defined in 1911 by Theodore Roosevelt:There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The rôle is easy; there is none easier, save only the rôle of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.The natural constituency of the Republican Party as we now know it consists of people who are, or who profoundly respect people who are, "in the arena" - people who have responsibility to work to a bottom line:
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. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds . . .
Journalists find it convenient to the purpose of making themselves seem important precisely by criticizing and second guessing "the man in the arena." And they cheerfully, if not quite openly, make common cause with any politician who does the same.
- Small businessmen? Check.
- Policemen? Check.
- Military? Check.
- Men more so than women? Check.
- Whites more so than blacks? Check.
Without Big Journalism behind them, "liberals" would lose a good ten points in any election, IMHO. The question which has always plagued conservatives has been how to blunt the (unadmitted) support of journalists for their opponents, without opposing free speech and freedom of the press.
The actual problem is the tendency of Big Journalism to claim - and for the public to be unable to reject the fallacy of - Big Journalism's defining of the public interest. Certainly the attitude that journalism defines the public interest is embedded in the McCain-Feingold law, and the fact that John McCain actually accepts that premise is what defines him as a RINO. But the reality is that the rules of journalism - such as "'If it Bleeds, it leads," "Man Bites Dog' is a good headline but 'Dog Bites Man' isn't news" and "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper" - are entertainment rules. They are rules for making the paper interesting to the public - and that is a different matter entirely that being "in the public interest."
An evenly matched struggle between a cop and a robber - still more so the victory of a robber over a cop - is interesting (if in a morbid way), but the certain victory of the cop over the robber is what is in the public interest. The signal success of the "surge" in Iraq is in the public interest, but the chaos that preceded the surge was what made "good copy." The effective functioning of the capitalist free market system has produced gradual miracles in the US over the generations - so much so that an American secretary of today might be ill-served to trade her circumstances for those which Queen Victoria enjoyed in her (1819-1901) day. Yet claims of "market failure" and "greedy capitalists" and "overpaid CEOs" make much better copy. Corruption and failure on the part of people and institutions upon whom/which the public must depend are highly interesting to the public - and dramatically adverse to the public interest. The story line which, for commercial reasons, appeals to Big Journalism - which Big Journalism wants to believe and to propagate - defines what interests the public, and is essentially the very opposite of what is in the public interest.
For those reasons Big journalism inherently tends to oppose the public interest. Big Journalism is selling something, and that thing is not what the public should buy, but what is promoted by a century and a half of unremitting propaganda as being good for it. And that is why we have so much difficulty disposing of the impostures of the socialist delusion - which is actually nothing more than the idea that Theodore Roosevelt was wrong in saying that it is not the critic but "the man who is actually in the arena" who counts. Socialism is all about censoring the credit which properly accrues to those who accomplish things like providing our fuel, medicine, food, and other goods. Socialism is about suppressing that credit in favor of the second guesser and the critic, and the imposture of those who, precisely on the basis that they have no experience in confronting the actual constraints of business, affect to be able to do those jobs better than those who actually take responsibility for doing so.
Thanks, Milhous - do think it's on target.To: conservatism_IS_compassionYou may find a morsel for thought in FrontPage's review of "Makers and Takers: How Conservatives Do All the Work While Liberals Whine and Complain."... "(M)odern liberalism simply absolves its adherents of many difficult and inconvenient responsibilities . Because liberal believe it is the role of the state to care for the needy, liberalism fosters an 'I gave at the office' mentality. Simply espousing liberal values and voting for liberal candidates is enough. No other action is required.
That is why liberalism is so seductive. It allows one to claim the moral high ground on just about any issue, while, in effect, 'outsourcing' your personal responsibility for doing something about it to the government." ...
The NYT has inadvertently let slip the concerns that we in the public have when Big media hires Democrat operatives--Mr. Russert, Stephanopoulous, et el--to work as "journalists."
In reality "journalism" as we know it scarcely existed in the founding era. They had "newspapers" back then, of course. But the printers thereof didn't have the Associated Press newswire back then. And without "the wire," printers obtained information the old fashioned way - by talking to people and reading things. So that in principle, any given private citizen in the printer's local area might know any given fact that the printer might print in his paper before that edition of the paper came out. Consequently "newspapers" had a different character in the founding era than that which the AP newswire began to enable and produce in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. That is, they were more like modern political commentary publications than like today's journalism. Commonly they were not daily publications, and they all wore their editors' perspectives on their sleeves. Famously, two of them were sponsored by Hamilton and Jefferson, who used them as tools in their political battles with each other.
The advent and spread of the AP, started as the New York Associated Press in 1848, raised the issue of a monopoly of public influence. The AP countered those charges by assuring everyone that since its member newspapers had wildly contradictory editorial policies, the AP was objective. Conceivably the AP might even have believed it - but it is, was, and always will be false. First because being convinced of your own objectivity is the best definition I can think of for subjectivity. And second, because of the aforementioned transformation of the newspaper business which the AP itself caused. The Associated Press, and every AP member newspaper individually, was in the business of selling highly perishable news. The only difference between the information on the newswire and information about the same events carried by physical rather than electrical means was - time. Time was the enemy of the journalist, because people would eventually learn from other sources whatever the journalist knew - and the journalist wanted to attract your attention and impress you by being the one who told you things first.
In short, the ineluctable characteristic of journalism is superficiality. At any given time the journalist is promoting a new story that you haven't heard yet, just as if every day's happenings were - at least on that day - as significant as the bombing of Pearl Harbor. If yesterday the news of the day was as important as Pearl Harbor, and today the news of today is sold as more important than the "yesterday's news," the existence of a perpetually accelerating crisis is the planted axiom of "the news."
If there is an accelerating crisis afoot, you had better do two things. First, you had better keep up with the news. And second, you had better see that the government agrees that there is a crisis as the first step toward responding to the crisis. How are you to know which politicians agree that there is a crisis? Well of course objective journalism cannot be partisan, but just between you and me (wink) journalists label politicians who agree with journalists positively, and those who do not, negatively. Everyone is in favor of liberty, so journalists label politicians who agree with journalists "liberals." And if there is a crisis, "desperate ills are by desperate measures cured. Or not at all." So if there is a crisis, the very last person that you want running things is someone who is most concerned about taking unnecessary and possibly dangerous action - a "conservative."
And that is why the only difference between an "objective journalist" and a "liberal" is in his job title. Any "liberal" can get a job as a journalist and instantly be accepted by all other journalists as "objective." But no conservative can do so.
As important as anything I have EVER read.
And the socialist “liberal” uses the word “public” to exactly the same intent.
Thanks again, c_I_c. More GRRRRREAT American thinking here...
Predictably, much of the media only focused on the negative, used the story as a club to beat on the despised Bush Administration, and in the process, adversely affected the morale of highly competent and dedicated military doctors and nurses. Almost all of the positives that resulted from this story ended up on the cutting room floor.
Back in the founding era, nobody would have expected a newspaper to be objective - Hamilton and Jefferson sponsored newspapers in which to wage their partisan battles with each other, for example - and that is only the best-know example of the open tendentiousness of the papers of the day.
The difference between that open, free-fire-zone political milieu and our own frustration with the "bias" in "the media" is not that news ever was apolitical in some golden age but that - with the advent of the Associated Press - the news became far more political than it had been. Without the telegraph and the AP, "newspapers" weren't actually in the "news" business as we have known it all our lives. "Newspapers" were typically weeklies, not dailies, because they didn't have the AP newswire to provide coverage of distant affairs which was any more timely than you might have gotten by hanging out in town talking to travelers.
The consequence of the AP has been to unify the newspapers (and now broadcast news as well) around the idea that we should trust reporters from all over the country and even the world because journalists are objective. The idea that today's news is crucial but yesterday's news is "yesterday's news" is embedded in the business model of journalism as we, and our parents and grandparents, have always known it. And yet if it actually were true that the news was becoming more crucial every day that would imply that we were in an accelerating crisis which would inevitably overwhelm our institutions in short order. The very fact that they are unified around the idea of the trustworthiness and significance of "the news" is, in and of itself, the defining bias of journalism. It is a bias against conservatism - a radical bias. And the claim that expression of that bias is "objectivity" is the strongest bias of all. It is a, if not the, Big Lie.
The Associated Press is a monopoly, ruled by the Supreme Court in 1945 to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1945 it was undoubtedly difficult to visualize a world without the Associated Press - and thus without any system of timely reporting from all points of the nation and the world. With the Internet of today, that question could look quite different if SCOTUS were presented with a case which outlined the scope of the impact of the AP monopoly on the country. Because the bias of the AP is worth ten points to radicals in any election. With its quick reporting of victories in states for Gore and its slow reporting of victories in states for Bush - including the notorious wrong call of Florida for Gore before all Florida polls were even closed - AP journalism very nearly turned the 2000 election for Gore. I would argue that no Democratic president since Johnson could have won without the aid of the tendentious monopoly known as the Associated Press. And that is not to mention the effect on Congress and the Senate and - through the Senate, on the Supreme Court.
The Associated Press has lately threatened lawsuits against bloggers who quote the AP too much. And yet that monopoly assays to define the public discourse. Given that it is an established fact that the AP is a monopoly, there just has to be a way to sue their socks off.
This depends on citizens being informed. For that, we depend on newspapers. Even relatively bad newspapers give us far more of the information we need to participate in a democracy than other news media. Television news or talk programs, talk radio, blogs, or any other news media are, at best, supplemental vitamins.Television or radio news are not even "supplemental vitamins." But then, compared to founding era newspapers or to talk radio and blogs, the modern (Post Associated Press) newspaper is merely a "supplemental vitamin" itself.Online newspapers will replace print newspapers just as talkies replaced silent movies early last century. As newspapers transform themselves, they must find a way to be profitable, but they also must convince readers that it is in the best interests of readers to support newspapers. This requires that newspapers act not like any other business, but that they act as guardians of the public trust.
The problem is that Associated Press newspapers are fronts for the AP news monopoly, not truly independent actors in their own right. The newspapers have been coopted by the post-AP news model. The newspaper business is nominally to tell the public "what is going on" - but the actual business model is to promote and sell the perishable AP news. And continuously hyping the newest story at the expense of any real sense of perspective turns out to be a distraction from the serious business of discussing what is actually going on.
AP newspapers have always preened themselves as "act[ing] as guardians of the public trust" - even as they have distracted the public from the public interest.
there are some people who are writing on the subject who do go into the Constitution with the intent to read it, understand it, and respect itmost modern constitutional law casebooks largely ignore the Constitution itselfthe document that is ostensibly the subject of study and the source of constitutional law.
. . . as I know that you for one do.
The question is, on which topics does Justice Kennedy read the Constitution, and on which does he not do so? How coherent is he? It seems that we are always on the ragged edge of having a majority which consistently does so - and likewise of having a majority which consistently does not do so. But with Roberts for Rhenquist we held our own and with Alito for O'Connor the Constitution picked up half a vote.
My college studies were in engineering, not law, and the only law course I have had was entitled "Cases on Contracts." The instructor of which asserted that engineers typically were capable of understanding law. Law, perhaps - but are "constitutional law casebooks [which] largely ignore the Constitution itself" actually law? Not by my understanding of the word. Judicial lawlessness, more like.
But, in effect, I have been studying the First Amendment for many years. Ever since the Carter Administration, the time frame in which I read Reed Irvine's "Accuracy In Media" ("AIM") report for a couple of years, and came out convinced that "the media" were in fact "biased." But I dropped my subscription after that - I was convinced, and further examples proving the same thing that I already agreed with quickly became "a twice-told tale." The issue for me since then has not been "whether" but why. I have not, as some are wont to do, resorted readily and comfortably into a whine about the First Amendment protections of those with whom I have disagreed. I respect the Constitution and its authors far too much for that. I have been determined that the First Amendment was fine as is - provided that we understand its principles, and that we understand the facts that we are bringing to it.
It seems to me that we have, memory of living man not to the contrary, been led to misunderstand the facts of "the press" in our milieu. First, "the press" does not refer specifically to journalism. Book printers, after all, are under First Amendment protection as well. So, right there, we know that journalism is cooking the books when it calls itself "the press." It seems to me that the most satisfactory generalization of "the press" is to say that those who have a press spend money for the press and the ink and paper - and are free to attempt to propagate their opinions in that way. Furthermore, the freedom of religion clauses exclude the possibility of government defining truth or objectivity for the press. I understand "freedom of the press" to be the freedom of the people (individually or in voluntary association) to spend their own money in any medium, whether or not ink and paper are involved to promote the ideas they want others to accept.
Not only is journalism not the sum of "the press," journalism as we have known it since the Civil War era scarcely even existed in the founding era when the First Amendment was written and ratified. Because although there were of course "newspapers" in the founding era, the printers thereof did not in general have a systematic source of "news" to which the general public was, in principle, not privy. That awaited the telegraph and the 1848 founding of the Associated Press. Consequently the "newspapers" of the founding era were not in the business of selling "news" as the extremely perishable commodity which we associate with journalism. And not being in that business, newspapers typically were weeklies rather than dailies - and some had no fixed deadline and just went to press when the printer was good and ready. Newspapers typically were intimately associated in the reader's mind with what we would now call the "editorial page." Hamilton sponsored a paper to attack Jefferson - and to defend against the attacks of the paper Jefferson sponsored for the reciprocal purpose. Newspapers were independent of each other, and openly associated with particular political perspectives/parties.
In short "newspapers" of the founding era were more like our modern biweekly political magazines than like The New York Times of today. The newspapers (and broadcast journalists) of today are linked, even made dependent on each other, through the medium of the Associated Press. Being in the business of selling news, much of which originates with reporters associated with other newspapers, the newspaper as we have known it all our lives has been a promoter of "journalism" much more than it is of its own stated "editorial" policy. And the fundamental of journalism - that today's news is important and yesterday's news is "yesterday's news" - is inherently radical. If paying attention to the news is important, and if today's news is always more dramatic than yesterday's news, that implies that the people in charge of things must be letting things get out of control. Journalism is always "the critic," not Teddy Roosevelt's "man who is actually in the arena."
But it is not true that that makes journalism independent of politics. To the contrary, politicians can position themselves as critics, too - and, in doing so, align themselves with journalism and establish themselves in symbiosis with journalism. In fact, certain politicians do it all the time. In so doing they function somewhat like journalists, but they never take on that title - that would be bad form, bad PR. Journalists have far more subtle ways of discussing the alignment of politicians. Journalists apply positive labels to politicians who operate in symbiosis with themselves. Labels such as "progressive" and "liberal." Such politicians can, without changing their political philosophy at all, get hired as journalists - and, if so, other journalists accord them the label "objective" as a matter of course. The etymology of the word "liberal" is a case study in media bias. According to William Safire,In the original sense the word described those of the emerging middle classes in France and Great Britain who wanted to throw off the rules the dominant aristocracy had made to cement its own control.According to the preface Hayek wrote for the 1956 edition of The Road to Serfdom:
During the 1920s the meaning of the word changed to describe those who believed a certain amount of governmental action was necessary to protect the people's "real" freedoms as opposed to their purely legal - and not necessarily existent - freedoms.
This philosophical about-face led former New York governor Thomas Dewey to say, after using the original definition, "Two hundred years later, the transmutation of the word, as the alchemist would say, has become one of the wonders of our time."The fact that this book was originally written with only the British public in mind does not appear to have seriously affected its intelligibility for the American reader. But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term "liberal" in the original nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftist movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that "liberal" has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium.Hayek (b. 1899) actually learned English in America in 1923-24 (which skill enabled him, an Austrian, to become a professor in England before WWII), and yet he did not note the transformation of the word "liberal" which was an accomplished fact by the Roosevelt Administration.
English 101 from time immemorial.....who, what, why, where and when as close to the top of the article or posting as possible.
That's what Big Journalism would like you to think. It's not "from time immemorial," it's from the Civil War era. Journalism as we know it scarcely existed before the advent (1848) of the Associated Press. In the Founding Era the newspapers were all a lot like the ones sponsored by Hamilton and Jefferson in which they waged partisan battles with each other. Papers were about the perspective of their printers. They were usually weeklies, and some didn't even have deadlines at all.
But that doesn't mean that modern papers are less tendentious than those of the antebellum era; it means that modern newspapers have a lot of their tendentiousness hiding in plain sight. The planted axiom of journalism is that there is always a reason to meet the deadline. And there always is - but that reason has to do not with virtue or public good but rather the mere commercial interest of the printer.
Likewise, there is a reason for the position journalists take that all journalists are objective. That reason has nothing to do with the actual virtue of the least virtuous journalist - and everything to do with the fact that, through the mediation of the Associated Press, all "objective" journalists are in cahoots. In contradistinction to the newspaper of the founding era, the business model of the modern newspaper requires the printing of fresh news from a source to which the public is not privy - the AP. Thus, the business model of the modern newspaper requires that the public place its trust not merely in that newspaper's own reporters but in reporters working for other Associated Press newspapers nationwide.
I'm going to take that as a why bother then. How do you feel about the Republican party?I mean that we should know better than to take things at face value. My cynicism about journalism and the Democratic Party is essentially total.
I'll give you a hint on how I feel: No better or worse than the Dems (as a party). Some individuals in both parties are what I want in a congress critter, but not very freaking many. That would be why I want them to get the idea that we are watching them. Like hawks!
What good does it do to watch them do exactly what you already know, and they already know that you know, that they are gonna do?
That sounds like a counsel of utter cynicism and disengagement in politics - exactly what the pols want. But that is not my meaning. My point is that journalism has succeeded in wildly overhyping its own importance. Journalism styles itself "the press" - of which it is I admit a component, tho not the only component - but that omits some important points:
In this article, Thomas Sowell is merely arguing that one of the defining characteristics of journalism - its rush to judgement - is not in the public interest. No matter how useful journalists find it for the purpose of interesting the public.
- Journalism self-defines itself as being objective and - see for example "The National Press Club" - self-defines itself as constituting "the press" of the First Amendment. But the First Amendment plainly restricts the government from requiring "the press" to be objective - and if the government certifies that journalism is objective, and constitutes "the press," the government is thereby violating the First Amendment.
- Journalism as we and our grandparents have always known it - tracing back a century and a half, to the middle of the Nineteenth Century - is a creature of the telegraph and the Associated Press. It was only with the advent of the AP that "newspapers" actually began to rely on publishing news which the general public could not know until the newspaper printed it. We take such a steady stream news from distant locales as being the central, defining characteristic of the newspaper, the very heart of its business model - but news in that sense scarcely even existed at the time of the ratification of the First Amendment. The printer didn't have sources to which the general public could not be privy, and consequently there was no point to operating on a short deadline to try to put out the word to the public before they learned the news from other sources. Most newspapers were not dailies but weeklies - and some had no deadline at all, and just went to press when the printer thought he was good and ready.
- The business model of pre-Associated Press newspapers was not that of the AP newspapers but was much more like that of The Nation or National Review - they depended for their audience not on their news gathering/dissemination but on their interpretation of events - the perspective of the printer. They made no pretense to objectivity; they couldn't do so with a straight face, and their competitors were not about to accept any such imposture without engaging in the heaviest ridicule of which they were capable. They were not independent of the political parties; indeed I would argue that the paper which Jefferson sponsored to attack the politics of Alexander Hamilton - and to respond to the attacks by the paper Hamilton himself sponsored for reciprocal purposes - was possibly the embryo of the Democratic Party.
- The rules which journalism proposes as constituting their objectivity do not reflect the public interest but rather what interests the public - and that is quite a different matter. "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper" is a counsel of superficiality, "'Man Bites Dog,' not 'Dog Bites Man'" is a counsel of unrepresentativeness, and "If it bleeds, it leads" is a counsel of negativity. IOW, there is always news, and the news is always bad, and the news is always important even if it doesn't really signify anything enduringly true . In that sense, what defines newspapers is not the public interest, it is actually radicalism. Consequently there is no reason for so-called "objective journalism" to be independent of the Democratic Party, nor vice versa. In fact there is a powerful symbiosis between the two, which explains why there is a revolving door between journalism and Democratic, but not Republican, political operatives.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn quotes on the media and on lies, cited by PGalt.
In gratitude for being included in your excellent thoughts and essays.
Of all the sources available to me in sussing out the American political/news dynamic - you have been the outstanding source of information delivered with a wonderful style managing to stay grounded and factual.
Thank you again as always.
Thank you - and thanks for the bump to this thread.
Extremely frustrating, Mark. If the liberal media had done their job, Obama would've lost the nomination. The entire liberal establishment is in the tank for Obama.If you read the criticism of the Jerome Corsi book that is picking up speed in the liberal media, you will find much similarity and overlap. . . .
It is not surprising that the media have chosen sides, but it remains frustrating.
Part of the frustration can be alleviated, though - especially if Mark reads this and considers it. So much of the frustration is due to the way we-the-people, and not just Democratic and "moderate" sheeple, continue to buy one of the biggest con jobs since Eve took the serpent's word about the apple. Namely, that there is some reason that journalism as such could be, should be, and is, "objective." That actually is easily refuted.
The claim of journalistic objectivity didn't exist in the founding era when the First Amendment was proposed and ratified. For the very good reason that journalism itself scarcely existed back then. Yes, there were newspapers - but, lacking the AP newswire (the first telegraph (between Washington and Baltimore) wasn't opened for business until May 24, 1844), your local "news"paper printer did not systematically have access to news that the man in the street couldn't learn as fast as the printer learned it. In recognition of that fact, "newspapers" of that time were usually weeklies, not dailies - and some "newspapers" had no deadline at all and just went to press when the printer was good and ready.
Famously, Hamilton and Jefferson each sponsored a newspaper - and each used his newspaper to promote his political vision and to criticize that of the other. Obviously, neither of those newspapers was about to concede that its rival was "objective." And that was typical of newspapers of the day - their central mission wasn't dissemination of news but, like the National Review or The Nation of today, to promote their printers' political agendas. So much for the idea that the First Amendment "freedom of the press" clause was established only to protect the transmission of objective reports of the news. The framers had no reason to expect any such thing - no more than, in actual fact, you or I do today.
But where did we - you and I, scarcely less than the typical "sheeple" - ever get the idea that journalism could be, should be - even is - "objective?" Simple. We were told that by an illegal monopoly known as The Associated Press. The Associated Press was founded in 1848 as the New York Associated Press, and it was from its founding an aggressive monopoly institution. The AP systematically cut exclusive deals with all telegraph lines to transmit its "newswire" to its member newspapers and not to do the same for any other news service which tried to compete with the AP. More to the point, membership in the AP became the sine qua non for daily newspapers. If you weren't a member of the AP, you simply couldn't compete with any paper which was a member of the AP in the new business of disseminating news from all over the country.
That was too obviously an unprecedented concentration of public influence to escape notice and challenge. But the AP had an answer to the objection to their monopoly - it pointed out that the members of the AP were, as suggested a paragraph ago, famously fractious and independent of each other. So, the AP argued, the AP was not a monolith with a single opinion - and therefore the AP was "objective."
But of course we have seen that in fact, today, journalism does act as a monolith and not as a babel of competing voices of various political stripes. Even when the editorial page of a paper such as The Wall Street Journal unquestionably has an conservative outlook, the "straight news" - the body of the newspaper - has a "liberal" cast to it. The question of interest is not whether journalism is "liberal," but why (and, while we are on the topic, why "liberal" belongs in quotes). In the context of the above discussion, we need not look far. Essentially, the AP transformed the business model of the newspapers from the particular editor to the general "journalism" as an institution. From what we would now call "opinion," to so-called "hard news." But since news is only a subset of what is known at any given time, the political cast of journalism is simply the criteria by which that subset is gleaned from the totality of what the editor knows, or believes.
The essence of the business model of the AP newspaper is attracting the attention of an audience, now. The rules which journalism proposes as constituting their "objectivity" reflect what interests the public - and that is quite a different matter from what is "in the public interest." "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper" is a counsel of superficiality, "'Man Bites Dog,' not 'Dog Bites Man'" is a counsel of unrepresentativeness, and "If it bleeds, it leads" is a counsel of negativity. IOW, there is always news, and the news is always bad, and the news is always important even if it doesn't really signify anything enduringly true. In that sense, what defines newspapers is not the public interest, it is actually radicalism.
Consequently there is no reason for so-called "objective journalism" to be independent of the Democratic Party, nor vice versa. In fact there is a powerful symbiosis between the two, which explains why there is a revolving door between journalism and Democratic, but not Republican, political operatives. According to Safire's New Political Dictionary, the meaning of the term "liberal" underwent a transformation "Liberalism" previously meant essentially the opposite of socialism; by 1930 it mean, in America alone, essentially the opposite of that. Such a complete transformation could not have happened that rapidly without the participation of Associated Press journalism.
At the beginning of this post I styled the AP an illegal monopoly, and that was not mere rhetoric. It was found to be so by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1945. The McCain-Feingold act presumes to give Associated Press Journalism rights of free expression which it would deny to those who are not members of the AP. That is patently unconstitutional, and it is an irony of this campaign that patriots to whom McCain-Feingold is anathema find themselves with no option other than to vote for Senator McCain.
The FEC found the two were not coordinating their efforts, but even if they had been, the agency said it wouldn't have been a violation of the rules. Blogs fall under the "media" exemption of the campaign laws, just like when a newspaper quotes campaign materials or talks to campaign staffers or even champions a candidate.
This is good news, without a doubt - but in a better world, McCain-Feingold would have never been given the approval of SCOTUS in McConnell v. FEC - indeed, never been signed. No, never even been proposed, let alone passed.
Or, in a better world, you would have a spare billion that you could push onto the table and take Feingold back to SCOTUS, where the balance has shifted in the Constitution's favor by the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor from 5-4 against to, presumably, 5-4 for.
Without the conceit that journalists are super citizens who are "objective" and thus more equal than the rest of us, McCain-Feingold could never make any sense at all to an American. And without the Associated Press, the conceit that journalism is objective would itself never have made any sense to Americans. And, according to this excellent site, the Associated Press was held by SCOTUS to be a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1945.
This is the most powerful statement I've seen about the possibility that McCain will win the election.Mr. Obama is doomed to defeat.
The article does not speak of the "possibility" that McCain will win the election. It flatly states that McCain will win the election.
Right now it feels like there is a possibility - nay, a probability, based on the polls and on the betting odds - that Obama will win. On November 5 (presumably - there's always the example of FL 2000) that probability will collapse to zero or will explode to 100%. One or the other.
If you know that Obama will not win, you have already bet the farm against people who think that he will win. If you haven't done that, you don't know that Obama will lose.
And if in fact Obama does win, you not only will lose your bet, America will lose big time, and you with it. The fact that we would lose so much if Obama won may have motivated some people to hedge against that possibility by betting that Obama will in fact win. Thereby increasing the betting odds that Obama will win.
In reality a bet against Obama is a bet against the ability of Big Journalism to con the American people into voting for him. The fact that Big Journalism is a monopoly (due to the Associated Press, found by SCOTUS to be a monopoly in 1945) allows Big Journalism to promote its own interests in the guise of "objectively" promoting the public interest. And the interest of Big Journalism is in public regard for Big Journalism. Since the "capitalist system" and not Big Journalism provides us with our necessities, the interest of Big Journalism is to criticize, condemn, and complain about the capitalist system. The positive labels ("progressive," "liberal) assigned to socialists in America by Big Journalism are simply the symptom of the fact that socialists promote the same things that Big Journalism promotes.
Big Journalism - an industry which was created by the monopolistic (ruled as such by SCOTUS in 1945) Associated Press, calls itself "objective" and calls politicians who cooperate with their second guessing of the productive "progressive" or "liberal." "Liberalism" is a gutless choice because you guarantee a propaganda wind at your back that way.The Democrats are not attacking Palin, at least not directly. The MSM is attacking Palin, and they have nothing to lose.
So when you say that
what you really mean is that the socialists who call themselves "liberal" aren't attacking Palin, the socialists who call themselves "objective journalists" are.
But since a socialist who is called "liberal" can get a job as a reporter and instantly become an "objective journalist" (George Stephanopolis, poster boy) but there is no example of such a transformation from conservative to "objective journalist," the distinction between "objective journalist" and "liberal" is not even skin deep.
In other words, when Obama says that he will fire anyone in his campaign who attacks Bristol Palin, he is just playing "good cop" - secure in the knowledge that Big Journalism will continue its "bad cop" operation without restraint.
6 years vs 2 years as governor. Survived reelection as governor. Close but obviously more qualified.Tim Pawlenty seems like a terrific fellow and fine governor, but he is not obviously more qualified than Palin.
The whole issue of "executive experience" is slightly off the mark. I absolutely consider executive experience to be of great value. But it is not necessarily what the candidate learned in all that experience - it is what the electorate learned about the candidate.
IOW, it is not "time in grade" that counts but, in a real sense, the opposite - how long it takes the candidate to be considered worthy of promotion.
And that is actually an argument against John McCain, and for Barak Obama. If McCain wins he will set the record for attaining the presidency after a longer time in Washington than anyone else has ever done. To counter that argument you have to make the case against the Democratic Party which has elevated Obama to their highest position. What is the quality of their nominations in the past, and have they vetted their nominee?
If you look at the Democratic Party you have to consider that between 1968 and 1972 it finished its transformation into the party of criticism, condemnation, and complaint. The fallacy of that was delineated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1911:There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The rôle is easy; there is none easier, save only the rôle of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.Actually socialism - so-called "liberalism" - is really nothing other than the elevation of criticism over performance. So we see Democrats systematically criticizing the police and the military for brutality and/or ineffectiveness. And claiming that the oil companies do not provide enough fuel and demand too much credit for delivering the fuel that they do provide. And the same, essentially, for the medical profession and any other industry that gets too important.
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. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds . . .
And what the Democratic Party has done in nominating Barak Obama is to elevate to its top position a man who is a lot better and slyer at criticizing than in actually doing. The difference between criticism and performance is actually embodied in what Obama claims is his executive experience running his own multimillion dollar campaign for the nomination. What he is actually claiming is that he knows how to direct people and resources into the task of criticizing opponents without getting blamed for being unfair.
The firestorm of media criticism of Sarah Palin, her husband who got drunk once (back at about the same time that Obama was using cocaine), her seventeen year old daughter (and for all we know her dog if she has one) is of a piece with official Democratic Party criticism of everyone who works to a bottom line. Criticism is what journalism is good at, and nothing in the world is more natural than for critics who are journalists to be in perfect alignment with critics who are politiicans. As the ease with which George Stephanopolis switched from "liberal political activist" to "objective journalist" illustrates.
Sarah Palin does not have the same duration of political experience as senator-for-life Joe Biden, and she doesn't have as much executive experience as dozens of Repulican governors could boast. What she does have is a record of accomplishment which has fueled a meteoric rise from PTA leader to nominee for vice president (not president, yet) of the United States. She is entirely qualified for a position which has no executive authority but rather is heir to that authority for a specific 4-year term. It otherwise carries an implicit 1/2 vote in the senate (an ability to vote only when the senate is otherwise tied), and carries the requirement that the candidate for it not be from the same state as the candidate for president.
That last provision is properly understood as a mandate for an identity which helps unify the country, and that arguably is served by a candidate who is a woman. It would also be well served by a black candidate - but Sarah Palin has far better executive credentials than any black American - of either party. And it could be argued that in fact the Democratic Party has in fact implemented that mandate in an inverted fashion by selecting not their vice presidential candidate but their presidential candidate with an eye to representing the diversity in the country (but that is hardly Palin's fault).
And could that be the real point of the attacks on the media? To unify the Republican Party?
No, that is simply the cynical, media view.
Though as Lily Tomlin says, "No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up."
You know, Roger Simon, that's precisely the trouble we have had with Big Journalism - no matter how cynical we try to be about the Big Journalism, you consistently exceed our expectations.
It's to the point that we are gradually realizing that the "codes of ethics" you love to post on your walls are there just so you can snicker to yourselves that so many of us are such rubes that we actually think those "codes" mean something about what you will and will not do. All experience, frankly runs counter to the idea that those "codes" mean anything at all. They are just "boob bait" and nothing more.
What predicts your behavior is nothing to do with ethics and everything to do with what's in your own self - make that "special" - interest. Journalism is a special interest and, through the mechanism of the Associated Press, a monopoly one at that. It is not any objective reality other than your own interest which makes you collude with all other journalists to claim that journalism is "objective." The only thing which sustains that fatuous conceit is the fact that all journalists go along and get along with each other, rather than competing in the sense that the public takes for granted that you should. And really knows that you do not do.
I have a buddy who says that eventually the media will come around, but I dont think they will
. Actually, they can't. Their business model requires that the public buy assumption that journalism is objective - but it also requires that journalism function as a special interest which needs, and actually manufactures, bad news.
And the public is beginning to notice . . .
I appreciate your ping. Good article regarding our discussion. I have studied the media from a business perspective and have a somewhat different view, but I understand where you are coming from and appreciate that side of the elephant, too.
I like your handle. It speaks volumes.
A well deserved bump.
Another BUMP-TO-THE-TRUTH for OUTSTANDING work!
I see the religion clauses of the First Amendment as amplifying the speech and press clauses - we are to have freedom of speech and press even in matters of faith claims which cannot be proven or disproved.
And the assembly and petition clause likewise make it clear that freedom of speech and press apply to criticism of the government.
The application to this case is simply that Senator Biden can state his opinion about Catholic doctrine, Bishop John Mashek can state his opinion as it relates to Senator Biden's remarks and exercise his rights as his religious organization stipulates - and Mark Finkelstein is free to be wrong about Bishop John Mashek's rights, in print. As long as no one attempts to enforce that error, it is - in secular terms - all good.
Ill spend time later reading your . . . post more thoroughly, but from what Ive read - although I do (sort of) understand where you are coming from when you link in the AP - I dont agree that a the 1st Amendment establishing the right to a Free Press is more like having the RIGHT to be lied to, than the right NOT to be lied to. In saying that you sound exactly like the college interns at the RMN who were defending the papers decisions to print lies in their voters guide by saying the First Amendment guarantees we can print WHATEVER we want. If that were truly the case - as I said before - then there would be no slander or libel laws on our books. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2089183/posts?page=46#46
I agree that slander and libel laws are justified if carefully tempered by the right of people to be wrong at the top of their voice. There is of course a difference between me saying that the moon is made of green cheese and someone systematically attempting to obliterate a person's reputation with with callous disregard to fact.
But to the point of the First Amendment in particular: what is there in 1A which promotes judgements against libel or slander? IMHO the only possible answer is, "Nothing." The only possible effect of 1A on libel/slander legislation would, it seems to me, be the possibility that 1A might be used to overturn such a law - not to enable a suit for libel/slander on the basis of 1A without any act of Congress.
So in that sense I would have to say that the First Amendment certainly is more like (even if it is not exactly) a right to lie than it is like a right not to be lied to. It is the right of the people to listen to and/or read what we chose to, and to make up our own minds - rather than to be fed a party line and be told that we have an obligation to believe it because it must be the truth or the government (or "objective" journalism) wouldn't be saying it.
Link to your http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2095728/posts?page=1 and Ping.
Indeed - IF THEY HAVE NO HIGHER CALLING THAN THEMSELVES.Moderators are journalists, and journalists define "objectivity" as what they themselves are - and they define "liberal" (or, synonym, "progressive") as exactly the same as "objective" except that the term "objective" is...
And most today, unfortunately, do not. - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2096506/posts?page=90#90
The fact that such a man may well become President of the United States is simply astounding. The fact that if this happens it will be because big media has ignored the evidence excavated by the blogosphere which requires the most urgent and thorough interrogation of Obama -- questions which simply have not been asked is as terrifying as it is appalling.
Say rather, it is terrifying and appalling that so very many people - and I must recognize the extent to which I was once among their number, at least partially, and to some smaller extent still am - take for granted that they know what is going on because they listen to the news and read the paper.
I say, "still am," because there are things like polls which I am easily suckered into taking at face value if I'm not careful. Is it not for such reasons that we come to FR to pool our skepticism?
Yes, perhaps absolute objectivity is impossible, but one can still, whether in journalism or in academia, at least make an effort to try and be objective and to consider different sides of an issue. Its called being professional, and its very different from claiming to be objective when in fact your goal is present propaganda for one viewpoint.
Not only is objectivity impossible, the business of journalism is not about trying for it. Objectivity was not even notionally the objective of founding era newspapers; the paper sponsored by Hamilton was not about to recognize "objectivity" in the paper sponsored by Hamilton's political opponent Jefferson. And vice versa.
Journalism claiming objectivity as we know it is an artifact of the telegraph and the Associated Press, which made nominally competitive newspapers actually partners in the business of reporting news from sources to which the man on the street could only be privy by reading an AP newspaper. It is journalism's interest that we believe that the news is important to know (it was during 9/11/01, but that is the exception), and that we believe that journalism is objective. But journalism follows rules which, if we are to believe that journalism is objective, we would have to believe to be in the public interest. It is easy to see how "If it bleeds, it leads" and "Man Bites Dog, not Dog Bites Man" are valid rules for interesting the public - but impossible, IMHO, to justify as being in the public interest.
And even the vaunted speed of communication of modern journalism appears fatuous if one asks what the two biggest stories of 2008 have been:
How did the vaunted speed of breaking news affect public knowledge of those stories? The answer is that journalism busied itself using its fast reaction reporting to talk about everything else. Once the casualty rate in Iraq dropped, journalism dropped Iraq - with the result that the public little notes the success of the surge. And the collapse of Fannie and Freddie was a decade in the making - but journalism took a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" approach to that slow-motion train wreck. Until it was too late to prevent or ameliorate the consequences of the irresponsibility at the heart of the scandal.
- the success of the surge, and
- the collapse of Freddie/Fannie.
So yes, as the article suggests, objectivity - certainly objectivity of journalism - is not possible. Journalism is in fact inherently radical. Rather than arguing from the assumption of their own objectivity (i.e., their own superior wisdom), journalists would better approximate objectivity if they took the philosophical approach and assumed the posture of being lovers of wisdom rather than engaging in the sophistry of claiming to posses wisdom. But journalists cannot do so, because humility is not in their DNA or they would not be journalists.
OUTSTANDING article by Michael S. Malone. Thanks for posting.But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible. That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views, and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we cant achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty - especially in ourselves.
And thank you for the ping! Bookmarking - and a maximum-effort ping!
IMHO the exact reason for the extreme tendentiousness of Big Journalism, and of the Democratic Party with which it is in symbiosis, is the fact that journalists do not write to be objective, they write from the assumption that they are objective. And that is sophistry.
I couldnt have said it better myself.
Ping to this thread which I expect you'll like.
The off switch works pretty well.
I think it was Matt Drudge who used to say on his radio show, the most violent action anyone can take against any form of media or entertainment was, to simply change the channel.
The OFF switch is, thank God, effective within your own house. But as MarkWar put it,Imagine you are a Native American 150 years ago. Imagine you complain to your tribe that the locomotives are making it possible for the Europeans to spread _their_ civilization west and _replace_ your civilization. And imagine one of your own tribe said, "Hey, buddy, if you don't like trains, just don't buy tickets and don't ride on them..."The OFF switch setting is indispensable. But it is also inadequate as a response. An adequate response must delegitimate the fatuous conceit of journalistic objectivity, which is profoundly subversive of democratic principle. But that fatuous conceit cannot be attacked from within journalism; journalism depends upon it for its existence - it cannot possibly internalize an honest critique of itself, or it would collapse. For then indeed it would be seen for the dinosaur that it is.
Do you see my point? We can all choose to "not watch" -- journalists or the media in general. But we _know_ that the vast majority of people are going to be watching this garbage and it will be influencing their thinking/actions. Just as locomotives were the enabling technology (one of them) that made it possible for Europeans to replace the Indians, now media is the enabling technology (one of them) that is making it possible for our civilization to be replaced.
Problems don't go away just because we close our eyes. (I wish they did, but they don't.)
The First Amendment does not say that journalism is objective; to the contrary, so long as it is respected it is an impediment to the government in any attempt the government makes to require journalism to fit the government's definition of "objectivity." The newspapers of the founding era made no pretense to objectivity; Hamilton and Jefferson sponsored competing newspapers in which to wage their partisan battles with each other.
So the question is not, "Why isn't journalism objective," the proper question is why anyone would think that journalism is, or even might be, objective. And the answer to that is that journalism as we know it didn't exist in the founding era because the Associated Press didn't exist back then. Journalism as we and our grandparents have known it all our lives is a creature of the Associated Press (founded in 1848), which is itself a creature of the post-founding era technology of the telegraph.
. . .
It is plain that the McCain-Feingold law, indeed all "Campaign Finance Reform," is an object failure at its nominal objective of "taking money out of politics." Obama apparently, and most unsurprisingly, flouted money raising strictures massively. But even if his fundraising was technically legal, $600 billion is actually quite a lot of money, and I'm sure Obama's donors will get their money's worth. And over and above even that is the incalculable in-kind donation constituted by "objective" journalism which is explicitly exempted from McCain-Feingold "to make it constitutional."
Without McCain-Feingold, McCain probably faces more effective primary opposition and doesn't get the nomination; without McCain-Feingold and its equally unconstitutional (and useless) predecessor "Campaign Finance Reform" laws, a conservative Republican would have "gone negative" and therefore would have had a chance against Obama.
I predict a run on ipods and sat radio receivers.
Podcasts and satellite radio will be the medium.
Yes. The great difficulty is the still-dominant noise from monopolistic Associated Press journalism propaganda machine. There is a lot, but only so much, to be said for getting our information from sources which smell right to us rather than from the take-it-or-leave-it propaganda from the one-way media.
That allows us to retain our sanity while others are losing their heads. But it does only so much when the mind-numbed robots of the left head to the polls. Even if every self-consciously conservative American were given satellite radio for free, that overarching problem would remain. I do not propose that leftists should be ghettoized any more than I think we should be. I recognize that there are tens of millions of those people, some of them close kin - and they should have a voice. But as Chuck Schumer's comment comparing Talk Radio to pornography makes chillingly clear, leftists simply will not be content with having a voice, they are determined that theirs shall be the voice - the Establishment.
Their claims sound perfectly reasonable once you make the absurd assumption that journalism is objective. But that assumption is ridiculous because journalism has obviously adheres slavishly to its own business interests while claiming to speak in the public interest. Journalism claims to be "the press," and yet journalism as we know it (and especially as it makes its fatuous claims of objectivity) is essentially a product of the Associated Press (founded 1848) and did not even exist in the founding era when the First Amendment was written and ratified. For leftism to be the Establishment, the Associated Press must be the Establishment. They are joined at the hip by mutual interest.
It’s not unlikely that you will find this interesting . . .
With respect to the SCOTUS, I ask why must we go hat in hand to them to ratify a right which we were born with? Do we not empower them to control us when we ask their permission to do something we already can do? I say we just speak out as we please and defy them to come after us.
It's similar to the Heller case. I'm glad we won it, but what if we hadn't? Why give them the power, I ask?
Perhaps I'm too belligerent, but I think it worth noting.
It is a question to be respected. But the Heller case did succeed (tho some would argue for the flat-out abolition of gun registration, rather than merely "shall issue").
And in any event we do not face the same risk in seeking a rehearing of McConnell v. FEC for the simple reason that we already bear the burden of the adverse result of McConnell. And, whether you think it prudent or not, the Republican Party (or some subset thereof) is even now bringing the issue raised by McConnell v. FEC back into the courts. So in that sense the issue is out of our hands anyway, and the question is now whether the courts will burden us with yet another rebuff to our peading for relief from McCain-Feingold.
And as SCOTUS is constituted following the resignation of O'Connor, Justice Kennedy - in the minority in the court's erroneous 5-4 holding against McConnell in McConnell v. FEC - is now dominant. So there is lively hope of success in that suit. But even if SCOTUS were to overturn McConnell, that would hardly guarantee that SCOTUS would issue a broad enough ruling to protect the people's "freedom of the press" rights to FReep and to have Talk Radio be on an equal footing before the law with "objective journalism." So I suggest a "friend of the court" filing along the lines of my #54 which would suggest to the Court (i.e., to Justice Kennedy) a rationale by which the Court could settle the issue in a way which is readily defensible (far more so than Heller, which required a patient Justice Scalia to give the country a history lesson on the meaning of the language used in the Second Amendment) and congenial to the majority now sitting on the Court (again, essentially Justice Kennedy).
In summary, that rationale is that:
Accordingly any law (and McCain-Feingold in particular) which purports to restrict the right of the people, or any one of them, to spend money to propagate opinions (and most unambiguously, political or religious opinions explicitly mentioned in clauses of the First Amendment) is no law enforceable under constitutional government. Or else, the exceptions in McCain-Feingold for "the press" apply to all the people and not to a privileged subset of them.
- "freedom of the press" is a right of all the people, and each of them individually - and not limited to a subset thereof as yet unborn in the framing era.
- "freedom of the press" is not limited to the technology of printing circa 1792. It includes the high speed printing press developed since the 1830s - and it includes telegraphy, telephony, movies, radio, Xerography and television developed much later, the PC Internet today, and whatever communication technology may extend those capabilities in as yet unexplored ways in the future. If anyone can use the Internet and put up web sites, everyone (who can afford it) can put up web sites.
- The government does not get to elevate some people to privileged status officially recognized as "objective" or any other title of nobility. Anyone can claim to be objective - but no one may be obliged to defer to any such claim. People who make such claim do not, no matter what the weight of their purses or the printing presses or other communications equipment they may own or even the number of others similarly situated who may be in concert with them in making such claim, thereby attain even to the credibility of witnesses under oath. Let alone to that of the verdict of a jury. They are still only people with no authority over their fellow citizens, and no part of the government.
That would be the limit the holding which the case brought against the FEC by the Republican Party would immediately reach - but it would be a shot across the bow from SCOTUS delegitimating any threat to Talk Radio or Free Republic. I think it could be worth serious investigation as to the possibility of using the Republican Party's suit to ask SCOTUS for just such a ruling.
My interest is in the relation between Homogeneous JournalismTM - what calls itself "the press," (as if the Constitution uniquely referred to journalism, even though journalism as we know it may scarcely be said to have existed in the founding era) - the First Amendment, and the various laws which touch on the ability of individual people outside of the Homogeneous JournalismTM axis to influence public opinion. The "Campaign Finance Reform" laws - McCain-Feingold and its predecessors - fall into this category. But so also do rules of the FCC promoting journalism as a public service - and once, and possibly future, FCC rules of what it has styled "fairness."
The newspapers of the founding era were typically weeklies not dailies, and some even had no deadline and just went to press when the printer thought he was good and ready. Few newspapers were dailies because, in general, newspaper printers didn't have news sources to which the general public was in principle not privy. So "newspapers" at the time of the ratification of the First Amendment were more similar to opinion journals like the National Review or The Nation than they were like The New York Times or The Washington Post of today.With that background, I ask the question - "How can any law in which the (unproven, unprovable, and factually false) "objectivity" of journalism is a planted axiom be squared with a First Amendment which forbids the government to enforce its idea of objectivity on religion, speech, press, or political assembly among the people?" In the realm of socialist politics, a Senator Schumer can rhetorically link censorship of conservative politics with censorship of pornography. But in the realm of law, which facts and logic are supposed to control, the answer to my question should IMHO be that that is absurd. If the government is permitted to define and enforce its idea of objectivity, what does the First Amendment actually mean?
What changed between then and now? The telegraph. The telegraph, and the Associated Press. The AP was founded in 1848 as the New York Associated Press, and went national a few years later. But the AP was an aggressive monopolizer of the use of the telegraph to transmit news. According to Steve Boris,The U.S. Supreme Court in 1945 . . . found the AP in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act . . .The book News Over the Wires: The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844-1897 discusses some of the AP's monopolistic efforts. The AP was obviously a concentration of public influence, and it was challenged on that basis. The AP's response was to claim that its member newspapers famously were fractiously independent, and so the Associated Press itself was objective.
But the reality is that the Associated Press transformed the newspaper business from a fractious bunch of independent printers publishing their own opinions to the Homogeneous JournalismTM news business with which we are familiar - in which, far from being fractious, journalists studiously avoid criticizing each other but instead claim that all journalists are "objective!" The AP made that transformation inevitable by changing the business model of the newspaper business to one in which reports from reporters not directly associated with a given newspaper make up much of that newspaper's most interesting content. So the "fractious membership" defense is no defense at all. Indeed, since nobody can print everything and since "Half the truth is often a great lie," it should be apparent that it is not possible to prove the negative that journalism is unbiased.
The Homogeneous JournalismTM establishment exploits the very impossibility of proving its claim as a way of begging the question, "How do you expect us to prove that?" But with constitutional principle and the freedom and equality before the law which is the very raison d' etre of the Constitution at stake, there is no justification for allowing them to deflect the burden of proof back onto the people who plead for relief from a monopolistic establishment. Even so, it is a burden which the plaintiff can easily bear. Whole books have of course been written which document instances of egregious bias in, not just a single newspaper, but in a consensus of Homogeneous JournalismTM without substantial exception. And web sites have been dedicated to that same task. And although Homogeneous JournalismTM's "anecdotal evidence" defense gets tedious as more and more "anecdotes" are piled up, plaintiff need not appeal to anecdotal evidence at all, other than to note that the "anecdotes" do in fact exist.
But in fact the perspective of Homogeneous JournalismTM is openly self-documented. Criticize a report for one-sidedness in reporting only the bad and not the good about the results of a particular policy, and the reporter will instantly reply that "bad news sells" and "If it bleeds, it leads" - all to the point the "No news is good news." Which is all very well from the point of view of the business interests of the newspaper - but which begs the question of whether the business interest of the newspaper is identical to the public interest. The result is following argument:
But where in that logic is there a proof of the starting premise? It is a planted axiom. A begged question, whenever Homogeneous JournalismTM calls itself "the press."
- the business interest of the Homogeneous JournalismTM is identical to the public interest.
- therefore, whatever promotes the interest of Homogeneous JournalismTM is in the public interest.
- therefore, one-sided coverage of the effects of a public policy is in the public interest.
And the same argument would apply to the very deadline structure of journalism, which starts from the premise that the interest of Homogeneous JournalismTM is identical to the public interest and leads to the conclusion that, simply because of the passage of a 24 hour period since the last "important" newspaper was published, the fate of the Republic depends on whether or not another newspaper" is published, irrespective of the events of the day or lack thereof, to promote the idea that it is important to read the newspaper.
The idea that it is important to read the newspaper is obviously the fundamental business interest of journalism. And an obvious way to promote that idea is to cast aspersions on people whose performance is important to the well being of society and who are not well situated, either to reciprocate in kind, or to help promote the idea that it is important to read the newspaper. The idea that the government should regulate business more closely, and that the US military and for that matter American law enforcement officers generally are inept and/or egregiously brutal, would imply that it is important to read the newspaper to read criticism of the transgressions of important people. Any political party which promoted those ideas, therefore, would promote the primary interest of Homogeneous JournalismTM - and would thereby insulate itself from criticism from Homogeneous JournalismTM.
Homogeneous JournalismTM rejects the idea that it is associated with a political party. But its refusal to publicize such association cannot prove that no such association exists de facto. And in fact that is transparently the case. There is in fact a political party associated with criticism of businessmen, the police, and the military - and the representatives of that party are systematically accorded positive labels by Homogeneous JournalismTM. And the opponents of that party are consistently the target of the brickbats of Homogeneous JournalismTM.
The effect of the claim that Homogeneous JournalismTM is objective, and of laws which take that claim as a given, is to position journalists as holders of an unconstitutional title of nobility. Journalists are not to be held to the same standard as the people at large. The consequences of that presumption on the part of Homogeneous JournalismTM are that
- the past election campaign was conducted with wildly unequal funding for the two parties. The one which goes along and gets along with Homogeneous JournalismTM being by far the better funded. It is an artifact of this particular election that the underfunded candidate was personally instrumental in the enactment of the McCain-Feingold law, and arguably that candidate had only himself to blame for his plight - but that logic ignores the reality of the compromise of the rights of those among the people who supported him only for lack of any other realistic venue to express profound reservations on the candidate and the party preferred by Homogeneous JournalismTM.
- over and above the difference in funding, Homogeneous JournalismTM found it to be "in the public interest" to give dramatically closer scrutiny to the credentials of the sitting governor who was the vice presidential candidate of the opponent of the party which Homogeneous JournalismTM prefers than to the credentials and associations of its preferred presidential candidate. This is indicative of the modus operandi of Homogeneous JournalismTM; it typically expresses its tendency far less in what it says than what it does not say. Criticism of any candidate would be unexceptionable if proportioned to the importance of the candidate and to the seriousness of the charges and the substance behind them. It is not the criticism of one candidate but the systematic aversion to criticism of the other candidate - without significant exception - which expresses the strong preference of so-called "objective" journalists. This is such a consistent trend that if an article reports on a politician caught up in scandal but the article does not mention the party association of the embarrassed politician, it is essentially certain that that politician is a member of the party which promotes criticism of businessmen, the military, and the police.
- Broadcast licenses are given on the basis that broadcasters perform a public service when they broadcast "objective" journalism which is actually biased against anyone who takes responsibility to work to a bottom line, and in favor of anyone who criticizes and second guesses those who do take responsibility.
- Talk Radio and, make no doubt, Free Republic and the rest of the internet is threatened with government sanction solely on the basis that it does not support the fatuous claim that Homogeneous JournalismTM makes to objectivity.
The Republican Party presently is mounting a renewed challenge to the McCain-Feingold law. Assuming that FR lacks the resources to mount its own Supreme Court case, can we not at least submit a "Friend of the Court" brief raising the above points? What expense would we have to incur to do that?
54 posted on November 21, 2008 8:42:16 PM EST by conservatism_IS_compassion
I am enamored of my latest point of attack on Big Journalism, which is to skip over "anecdotal" evidence of journalistic bias (you could show bias in every article in every newspaper in the country, and Big Journalism would still call your evidence "anecdotal"), and even elide the impossibility of proving that journalism is objective. And go straight to the heart of the matter, which is IMHO that the government simply lacks the authority to decide whether journalism is objective or biased.
Of course the First Amendment supports that position, in that it only talks about freedom, and not at all about responsibility other than the responsibility of the government to butt out. So if freedom is the only issue, the government's opinion about the tendentiousness of journalism must be irrelevant. But further, it seems to me that the stronger case is to refer to the Article I Section 9 edict thatNo title of nobility shall be granted by the United StatesAnd simply note that the Associated Press is a private organization which is entitled to call itself and it members and their employees anything it likes. It calls its members "the press?" Fine. It calls their employees "objective journalists?" Fine. There are all sorts of fraternal organizations which give their officials all sorts of grandiose names, and that is fine, too. But in court, those terms are merely labels having no more meaning than x and y do when used as algebraic symbols.
Considering that "freedom" includes the possibility of doing things differently and better, and doing different things - and that the Constitution plainly contemplates progress as a general possibility to be promoted
Article 1 Section 8To 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 discoveriesthere is no warrant to read "the press" narrowly to mean only printing. A literal press means nothing if it is not fed ink and paper and if no writer, no editor, and no composer can be paid to create the text and graphics to give meaning to it. Freedom of the press is the right of Pinch Sulzberger, or anyone else, to spend money on the technological means to promote his opinions. It is a right of the people, not of the membership of the Associated Press (as it styles itself).
Ownership of something is, patently, full control of that thing. If you own something you can burnish it and put it on display, or you can neglect it. You can use it, or you can dispose of it in any way you wish. Government ownership of a press is the very antithesis of freedom of that press. Thus we can readily see that "public" (meaning nothing other than "government") ownership of broadcasting stations - never mind "the airwaves" in general - is unconstitutional. Just as freedom of the press must entail freedom to buy paper on a nondiscriminatory basis to print on, freedom of the technological press must entail the freedom to buy spectrum on a nondiscriminatory basis.
I would certainly hope our personal information is being kept in a very secure location. If that information got hacked, it could be very ugly, in the larger context of a full scale attack on the First Amendment by Obamas thugs.
Protection devoutly to be wished - but frankly, it took me awhile to decide to FReep because I thought so little of Clinton's respect for the law, and my appreciation of the difficulty of keeping identity information secret. I have no illusions that I cannot be traced, any more than Buckhead could remain anonymous.
Someone has said, "Free speech isn't free." Pray for the Robinsons, because they are the ones whose freedom of the press is at issue. With our post submittals we are mere contributors; they actually do the publishing.
Actually the First Amendment, in a way, is used by our opposition to confuse the issue of freedom of the press. Associated Press journalism, which calls itself "the press" and calls its employees "objective journalists," did not exist before the advent of the Associated Press in 1848 - which was enabled by the development of the telegraph and the Morse Code long after the composition and ratification of the First Amendment. Newspapers of the founding era lacked sources which were inaccessible to the general public, and so were usually weeklies rather than dailies since scoops were not crucial to their business.
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which were agreed to as a condition for the ratification of the Constitution as a whole. They exist as amendments rather than existing in the body of the document, not because the framers of the original document opposed the freedoms they specify but because they feared that the existence of an explicit "bill of rights" would ironically be used to denigrate rights which the "bill of rights" failed to articulate. Justices of the Supreme Court, including "liberal" ones, have recognized this, and understood that the First Amendment is a lower bound and not a limit to our rights to communicate. And that is how Associated Press Journalism, Obama, and the Democratic Party intend to euchre us out of our right to communicate with the public via this web site, and to do likewise to Rush Limbaugh et al and their rights to broadcast their political opinions.
The Constitution including the First Amendment plainly did not, and could not possibly have, include any mandate for the specific development of telegraphy - let alone the telephone, the radio, the TV, the Xerox copier, the computer with printer, cable TV, or the internet. But what the Constitution does explicitly do is to provide for incentive "to promote the progress of science and useful arts," (Article 1 Section 8). There can be no implication that the intention of the framers of the First Amendment intended to limit freedom of political advocacy to in-person speech and ink-on-paper printing - and certainly not to limit freedom of the press to members of an organization, The Associated Press, which did not even exist until two generations after the ratification of the First Amendment. of the framers of the Constitution.
“I am enamored of my latest point of attack on Big Journalism”
A well deserved affection.
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