Skip to comments."What Is Wrong With the Press?"
Posted on 12/29/2006 5:53:10 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion
Yesterday I saw a panel discussion on "the media." The panel included Helen Thomas, and my rumination on her response to a question inspired this post. The question was, "What is wrong with the press?" Helen Thomas' predictable reply was that the press had been too shy about opposing the Bush Administration on its preinvasion claims that Saddam had a WMD program. And of course there was some cheering, and no jeering, heard from the audience.
What is wrong with the press? What is wrong with the press is planted in the very question itself. What is wrong with Big Journalism is the fact that it even exists as an entity to be critiqued. In principle "the press" is not an entity but many diverse and contentious people publishing their opinions.
There is nothing wrong with the blogosphere; it is us. That means that it is venal and spiritual, earnest and frivolous, high minded and corrupt. The blogosphere is most of the press. Movies are also "the press," and so are books. Wherever the people may publish their opinions using their own money and no government supervision, that is part of "the press."
"The press" is not objective. It doesn't have to be, and it cannot be. "The press" is diverse; indeed the press is diversity - it cannot be objective, any more than it can be of any one particular opinion. In styling itself "the press," Big Journalism arrogantly conflates its opinion - which actually is defined by its own self interest as purveyors of nothing but data and opinion - with the diffuse interest of the public.
What is wrong with the press? I see four big problems.
First is perception: Of course, the press "presses" that wrong perception to its own advantage but it is an erroneous perception. No one is completely objective but the press pretends to such omniscience and encourages us to believe they are totally objective. Other points of view are either ignored or villified.
Second, the nature of the business. The press, as in the MSM, exists to make money. It must do so by increasing readership numbers and thereby attracting advertisers. Reporters, news readers and others don't like this crass characterization of their "high-minded" profession but the bottom line rules all.
In order to salve their consciences and appear noble, reporters kick against this reality and pretend that they are above such concerns. One way they do this is to convince media moguls that "public issues" must have some play in the publication/broadcast. But it must be accomplished without hurting the bottom line so the press must find issues such as social justice or "we're looking out for the little guy" stories to buttress their pretense while not driving away their advertisers. Reporters therefore, while proclaiming to be dedicated to "the truth", constantly search for something to hold up their fantasy.
Third, the Watergate Effect. Part of the problem can be traced back to Woodward and Bernstein, who romanticized the idea of a reporter taking on the government and bringing it down. The journalism students which entered school before Watergate and after Watergate were markedly different in their ideas of the role of a reporter. While pre-Watergate journalism students were largely motivated by informing the public, the post-Watergate students were often drawn by the idea of power and influence. That is a broad generalization but having my own journalism studies spanning that period I can at least attest anecdotally to the effect of Watergate.
Lastly, exclusivity. Journalists tend to be exclusive. Where long ago journalists saw themselves as making large numbers of friends and contacts among the newsmakers, now journalists see newsmakers as adversaries to be brought down should they get too uppity. The result is a narrowing of the points of view to which a journalist is exposed in his or her everyday life. Some ninety percent of journalists are liberal and that is the point of view with which they surround themselves. Since so many around them hold the same point of view, why, obviously, only an idiot would believe otherwise. Add to this the heavy concentration of Northeastern liberals in positions of power in the MSM and you have ignorance of most of America and its concerns and a serious tilting in favor of stories about or concerning the Northeast.
Actually these are just a few of the problems. I didn't see the program. Were any of these issues discussed by the panelists? If not, they are still living in a fantasyland.
"...they no longer have the resources to do quality journalism"
Oh, they definitely have the resources. What they don't have is integrity. That is a quality to be squashed wherever it is found. Integrity gums up the cogs of the PC swindle machine.
I watched that CSPAN show.
The press that they are talking about believes the Iraq war to be a folly and blames itself for not asking the so-called tough questions. They also believe the Islamic threat to be something amorphous and any US reaction to it as "unfair".
Because they learned "truth to power" in college, they have nothing buy disdain for power, legitimate or illegitimate.
They are cynics, not skeptics. They believe in nothing but some kind of unattainable perfection. They live with a smug attitude of self-satisfied angst because they see that the world is so unfair and that they are the enlightened ones fighting against it. In short, apocalyptics.
Unfortunately, they really don't know what to think about the reality that Iran is willing to start lobbing nukes all over the Middle East. They don't believe Saddam would happily have done the same. And they have no regard for the dismantling (hopefully) of the AQ Kahn network.
In effect the intellectual elite is a cult of atheist apocalyptics, locked in a battle with Muslim apocalyptics that they don't believe in, because they don't believe in anything.
"What's wrong with the press?" is the unanimity of Big Journalism.
Big Journalism consists of a bunch of nominally independent companies which - like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox - compete only within narrowo boundaries. Outside the white lines of the ball park and outside of their recruiting efforts for players, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are partners in promoting Major League Baseball. In the same way, The Washington Post and ABC News are competitors in delivering the story - but partners is promoting the story.
And what is the story? The story is always the same. The story is that the cheap-shot criticism and second guessing of Big Journalism is more significant than the actual provision of food, clothing, shelter, and security. The story is that those who provide what we need are lazy, corrupt, crooked, and ruthless - and that only the scrutiny provided by Big Journalism keeps their cupidity in check. The story is that you can't trust anyone in the world but journalists - and you can trust journalists implicitly.
Well, there are people who are not journalists but who are trustworthy - and those are the people whom journalism gives positive labels such as "moderate," "centrist," "progressive," or "liberal." Such people gain positive PR from journalists for one simple reason - their own individual story lines promote the idea that people who provide things we-the-people need cannot be trusted.
An neutral, independent, highly critical press, willing and able to challenge the credibility of any administration, politician or policy is a good thing. What is wrong with the press is that they have chosen sides in the political process and openly support one party while openly hostile to the other.
Thanks for linking "Why Broadcast Journalism is Unnecessary an Illegitimate" in your post. OUTSTANDING thread for anyone who has not read it BUMP!
Which is exactly why the left vilifies Christians. Christianity professes a God greater than gummit and that is heresy to a leftist. To reach the communist utopia they need to justify a multitude of amoral actions such as abortion, homosexuality, the elimination of a father in the household and re-education among others and Christianity stands in the way of their goals.
Communism needs atheism to become the god to its followers.
Their latest attack on Christianity is to profess their version of Christianity by revising it to their way of thinking. The next election they will all profess to be Christians but it will actually be New Age Christianity.
Pray for W and Our Troops
Well it's quite simple, they voted for BJ Clinton and it wasn't their fault. So they feel free to lie about everything to prove themselves right.
Howard Dean's version of the truth as read by Dan Rather.
Helen Thomas would agree. I would not - because Big Journalism presumes to define "facts." In the tendentious way which admits of the idea of ressurection of the "fairness" doctrine for the purpose of suppressing Rush Limbaugh on grounds that his program is "opinion." Of course Limbaugh's program is driven by his opinions; he is very open about that.That's the difference between news and opinion journalism. The problem lies when opinions and prejudices are deliberately passed off by reporters, and willingly accepted as facts by the public. That's where bias overcomes news.
No, the difference between news and opinion is only in the minds of the suckers who fall for the con. The con is not only the claim of accuracy - when in fact "news" is, at least sometimes, based on rumor or even on fraud - but the con is also the claim of objectivity.
The crucial point is that story selection - what is on the front page, what's buried somewhere in the middle of the paper, and what isn't even reported at all - can mean that even a factual report may be "half the truth," and "a great lie."
"Why Broadcast Journalism is Unnecessary and Illegitimate" should be mandatory reading for any student and/or citizen of this nation.
I hope you are on the Ping list for this wonderful thread...
It has opened my eyes to things I never imagined...
Not a damned thing.
The media's what they are.
The media does as they please.
The media's pleased with what they do.
The media in The United States of America doesn't owe anyone a thing, nada, nyet.
The media proves that repeatedly each & every day and in a hundred different ways.
Why anyone would believe the media -- whatever form -- is compelled to be "fair" and/or "Honest" with anything is perplexing, to say the least.
Where're the rules governing the LSmedia written?
Is the lamestream media's behavior dictated in the Constitution? No, of course not. Only rules I know of describe what the LSmedia can do with complete immunity, their first Amendment rights.
Whatever one sees/hears from the LSmedia, that's what one gets.
No more & no less.
LSMedia has never covered up what they are, not to those who could read.
Never denied what they stand for, not for those who could see.
People irked by the LSmedia are the same people who refuse to believe what their own eyes see & ears hear.
How does one fix that?
What the LSmedia really is -- to those who claim to watch 'em -- is no secret, no mystery.
"What's wrong with the press?" Are they kidding? Bias, laziness, arrogance, and ignorance, just to start.
It is amazing, though, how they view themselves. It's like they are the Vicar of Christ.
Oops! The use of "they" means the MSM, not FReepers.
Whew! You had us worried there for a minute!
Truly, "It is amazing, though, how Big Journalism views themselves. It's like they are the Vicar of Christ."
Journalists use the editorial page, with its frank opinion, to position the rest of the paper as "speaking ex cathedra."
Sorry you old chipper you!!