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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I have the St. Pete Times down here whose motto is simple----Merely to tell the truth-------Sadly they do, HALF of it that suits them,all the time....
A group of satraps in their sinecures with a tax exempt foundation ownership that sponsors LIBERAL teaching thru their own special school----The Poynter Institute
Half the truth is often a great lie. - Benjamin Franklin
Thank you. Ping to this one, which you might also like.
Also a good read. “http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2015027/posts"
“Yes - and since you cite that sentence back to me, it does sound somewhat like a tagline, doesn’t it!”
Quite a good one at that. And this sounds like the beginnings of another:
“Socialism is simply the negation of the credit...”
Excellent. Very insightful and well written.
this sounds like the beginnings of another [potential tagline]: Socialism is simply the negation of the credit...
Yes, there does seem to be the potentiality there. I do want to refine that point so that I could state it in a tagline. The negation of credit is simply a forgetting, an amnesty of sorts. It is obviously the opposite of conservatism. God's amnesty is for our good, lest the virtue of God make it impossible for God to relate to imperfect man. The socialist's amnesty is intended for the good of the socialist himself, and has nothing to do with promoting the welfare of others.
VDH is certainly correct about perspective. It is heartening to consider the difference in treatment between modern historians and the contemporary press hysteria (a very good deal of which is still perfectly accessible) during the U.S. Civil War. One difficulty these days is precisely the same as then - far too many reporters have attempted to craft a narrative on the spot instead of simply stating observed facts. This gives them a vested interest that hinders successive facts that do not fit the narrative. For all the derision that modern journalism tends to direct at "objective" journalism, the latter does at least free the reporter from looking like a complete fool after the shooting stops (and the Pulitzers have been awarded).
Thinking yourself to be objective is arguably the best possible definition of the word "subjectivity." And the Associated Press, and all of those "independent-thinking" papers which make up the AP, are selling something. They are all selling the same thing - news, before you could get it from any other source. So the AP and every one of its members has the identical incentive to sell the idea that journalism - all journalism - is objective. How else to vouch for the news which is the pervasive, dominant theme of your newspaper, quite dwarfing the editorial opinions which give the various newspapers reputations for independence from each other? - That news did not originate with your newspaper's own reporters but with those of a nominal competitor in a distant city. So with the AP, newspapers have the opportunity to claim objectivity without fear of powerful ridicule as long as they do not compete with any other AP newspaper on the basis of objectivity claims. And the more opportunity they have had to make that claim, the less compunction they have felt was necessary about taking care to vindicate the claim by actually being objective.
So what is the actual effect of the claim by all of journalism that all of journalism is objective? The actual effect of the claim of objectivity, running as it has for a century and a half, is to establish in custom the idea that journalists are a breed apart from we-the-people. An enormous propaganda campaign has convinced the general public that journalists are more virtuous, more knowledgeable, and more civic-minded - and thus entitled not only to be listened to with respect by people who pay for the privilege. And that journalists are entitled to special privileges such as "shield" laws granting reporters the right to withhold the names of sources from courts of law which any citizen would be under legal compunction to yield up. And that journalists are entitled to special rights to speak out about candidates for public office - rights to be denied, under McCain-Feingold, to we-the-people.
But in principle, if that assumption be accepted, there is no real virtue in having our government officers selected by vote of the whole people on a date certain - it would be far more manageable to simply read in the newspapers what the newspapers say is in the public interest. Or, for that matter, what the newspapers say the public thinks, based on "public opinion polls." From the POV of the journalist - or anyone who thinks that journalists are more objective and hence wiser and more virtuous than the public at large - public votes are unnecessary and irrelevant. What could be more patent than that the conceit of journalistic objectivity is profoundly subversive of democratic principle?
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...
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