2
   

The trouble with your press

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2008 07:35 pm
Does the revelation of John Yoo's 2003 "torture memo", which legitimized all but the most gruesome forms of torture, declaring the President entitled to override existing laws and statutes on the matter at his personal discretion, and arguably paved the way for Abu Ghraib, deserve as much media attention as what Obama's pastor once said?

Of course not, silly.

But does it at least deserve as much media attention as, say, Obama's bowling score?

Glenn Greenwald tries to gauge the answer:

Quote:
The U.S. establishment media in a nutshell

Saturday April 5, 2008

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to "domestic military operations" within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

    "Yoo and torture" - 102 "Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73 "Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16 "Obama and bowling" -- 1,043 "Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted) "Obama and patriotism" - 1,607 "Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079
[..] "Media critic" Howie Kurtz in the Washington Post today devoted pages of his column to Obama's bowling and eating habits and how that shows he's not a regular guy but an Arrogant Elitist, compiling an endless string of similar chatter about this from Karl Rove, Maureen Dowd, Walter Shapiro and Ann Althouse. Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson devoted her whole column this week to arguing that, along with Wright, Obama's bowling was his biggest mistake, a "real doozy."

Obama's bowling has provided almost a full week of programming on MSNBC. Gail Collins, in The New York Times, today observed that Obama went bowling "with disastrous consequences." And, as always, they take their personality-based fixations from the Right, who have been promoting the Obama is an Arrogant, Exotic, Elitist Freak narrative for some time. In a typically cliched and slimy article, Time's Joe Klein this week explored what the headline called Obama's "Patriotism Problem," where we learn that "this is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right." He trotted it all out -- the bowling, the lapel pin, Obama's angry, America-hating wife, "his Islamic-sounding name."

Needless to say, these serious and accomplished political journalists are only focusing on these stupid and trivial matters because this is what the Regular Folk care about. They speak for the Regular People, and what the Regular People care about is not Iraq or the looming recession or health care or lobbyist control of our government or anything that would strain the brain of these reporters. What those nice little Regular Folk care about is whether Obama is Regular Folk just like them, whether he can bowl and wants to gorge himself with junk food.

Our nation's coddled, insulated journalist class reaches these conclusions about what Regular Folk think using the most self-referential, self-absorbed thought process imaginable. The proof that the Regular People are interested in these things is that . . . the journalists themselves chatter about it endlessly. In Great American Hypocrites, I described the process as follows in the context of examining the three-week-long media obsession with John Edwards' haircut (to the exclusion of a whole array of revelations about what the government was doing or planning to do) and how they justified that coverage:

    Most certainly, the press will pretend to be above it all ("this is not something that we, the sophisticated political journalists, care about, of course"). But they yammer about Drudge-promoted gossip endlessly, and then insist that their own chattering is proof that it is an important story that people care about. And because they conclude that "people" (i.e., them) are concerned with the story, they keep chirping about it, which in turn fuels their belief that the story is important. It is an endless loop of self-referential narcissism -- whatever they endlessly sputter is what "the people" care about, and therefore they must keep harping on it, because their chatter is proof of its importance.
They don't need Drudge to rule their world any longer because they are Matt Drudge now.

Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2008 07:41 pm
Embedded,
Soup sipping POWER which can uphold consumptions devoid of culture.
I feel pity for those innocent participants of this.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Apr, 2008 04:20 pm
American free press is a corporate controlled one
that prints shiboleths and spread lies without shame and decency.
Ask the CEO's of NYT, WP, IHT, CSM
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 05:57 pm
I knew Stephanopoulos worked for the Clintons back in the early nineties, of course. But I didnt actually know that Chris Matthews and Tim Russert also worked as political aide/speechwriter/etc to politicians before they became pundits, and that Joe Scarborough was a Congressman himself. And then there's Tony Snow of course, who's gone back and fro between being a journalist and a political operative. A TNR item that actually defended Stephanopoulos today called this the "revolving door between journalism and politics".

Meanwhile, TPM interviewed Stephanopoulos today. The interview remarks critically on the endless sucession of gotcha questions on trivia from the moderators at the Democratic debate yesterday, which ended up with a full hour of the debate being spent on such matters as Obama (not) wearing a flag pin, whether his former pastor loves America the way he does, his having been on the board of an organisation once with a man who fourty years ago threw bombs, and of course his remarks about how some working class small town Pennsylvanians are "bitter"; and considerably less than that on everything else from the war in Iraq to the mortgage crisis to education and health care, gun control and affirmative action and the economic meltdown all put together. At one point, the interviewer asked Stephanopoulos "whether his background as a political operative had resulted in too much of a focus on electability and on the candidates' handling of media "scandals"'. Good question.

That's exactly, of course, one of things that's most wrong with media "reporting" today. I generally tend to blame the endless, breathless, relentless trumpeting of scandalised hypes of the day, each more remote from people's daily concerns than the other, on the nature of TV news in this age of 24/7 cable "infotainment". Like Georgeob1 said I think, TV news is now far more about entertainment than about reportage. But this made me think. Russert, Matthews, Scarborough - those are among the very worst offenders on this count. Yesterday it was Stephanopoulos. Is it perhaps also just their shared professional background? The fact that they didnt come to the top news media through the long slog of reporting for local, then regional news media, but straight from the Beltway machine with all its intrigues and reverence of politics rather than policies? Would it be better if some heavy object were jammed into that revolving door?
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 06:04 pm
nimh

Interesting idea here from Reed Hundt...
Quote:
Is it really true that Democratic candidates have to tolerate this sort of contumacious questioning? Why not just part company with ABC and empanel a group of thoughtful bloggers like Josh Marshall, Duncan Black (who lives in Philly!), and any number of others; plop HC and BO in front of them; turn on the cameras and liveblogvideo the whole thing?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 06:28 pm
Maybe in four years.. though the thing is of course that such a livevlog event wouldnt get an instant audience of 10 million, which is how many viewers tuned into last night's debate at some point or other.

There was the experiment with the YouTube debates earlier on, of course, and you can rack up big audiences that way too. But the dynamic of that is very different: you only get millions watching the video spread out over the course of a week, or even a couple of weeks. Hard to fit that into the news-of-the-day rhythm of an election campaign, at least to do so with anything like the prominent profile that the TV debates now have.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 May, 2008 01:03 pm
From a European perspective: The Trouble with Our Press

`
It's a pretty wide-ranging article, touches on all kinds of things -- but here's an attempt to keep the summary short anyhow:

Quote:
The 21st Century media landscape looks nothing like its incarnation of just 15 years ago, as a result of advances in technology and the liberalisation of legislation governing the media. Google and Wikipedia have come to dominate the frame of reference of students, traditional media increasingly rely on user-generated content, and journalists increasingly lack the time to dig up stories or check their facts, instead depending on press releases and news agencies.

The concentration of media ownership, the commercialisation of broadcasting, 24-hour news and the expansion of traditional news outlets into multi media have led to massive cuts in jobs, training, foreign bureaux and investigative journalism, undermining the quality of journalism and eroding the pluralism of opinions. The European Parliament is concerned about the threats these developments pose for democracy, and will vote on a report urging the need to protect media content, expand pluralism and tackle consolidation of media ownership.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 May, 2008 08:06 am
I doubt anybody who has never worked on a newspaper or with television or radio has any idea of the kinds of behind the scenes efforts, conversations, cat fights, etc. that go on. A reporter can have heated exchanges with the city desk before an investigative piece gets published. And sometimes the city desk puts it in the paper (or on the air) before the reporter feels it is ready. More and more though, you see competent journalism taking a back seat to just getting something on screen or in the headlines and screw whoever might be unjustly hurt and/or the public who will certainly be misled.

But for a change of pace here, this clip gives us some interesting glimpses into some of the behind the scene dynamics:

LINK

Just click on the group picture.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 04:36 pm
nimh wrote:
From a European perspective: The Trouble with Our Press

More...

***

Quote:
Less free speech

The Economist
Apr 24th 2008

Summary:

Quote:
Pick up a Slovak newspaper, and you will find it a quick read. The main dailies have been appearing with blank front pages, in protest at a new media law that will give anyone mentioned in an article sweeping rights to an equally prominent rebuttal. International media watchdogs have sharply attacked the law. But Slovakia's new law is only the most conspicuous of arbitrary legal constraints on press freedom being applied in the region. Journalists in Bulgaria can be sued for infringing somebody's "honour and dignity", and 100 cases went to court in 2007.

According to Freedom House, the ex-communist countries show the biggest relative decline in media freedom in the world, chiefly because of the politicisation of public broadcasting. "Politicians think these public broadcasters should be 'theirs'," says Marius Dragomir of the Open Society Institute, which is publishing detailed reports on public broadcasting in the region. With EU accession safely negotiated, politicians now feel able to exploit the fruits of power more freely. Politicised public broadcasting is a useful tool, especially when commercial television is run by friendly tycoons.


***


Summary:

Quote:
The financial crisis in the French newspaper Le Monde, that led to an unprecedented two-day strike in April, is symptom of a growing crisis in the print media in France, and in several other European countries. French newspapers have been hit hard by a steady loss of readers and advertising, and by the emergence of the Internet and of newspapers distributed free.

The strike at Le Monde targeted a sharp cost-cutting plan, which foresees 130 job cuts and end staff say in management; the paper is at present run as a cooperative. Rival newspaper Libération was sold to a private investor in 2006, and like now at Le Monde, many reporters left to work for online magazines. France Soir, which used to sell more than a million copies in the 1960s, now sells less than 30,000, and L'Humanité, which was the official newspaper of the Communist party, is now partially owned by a conglomerate of shareholders, including the military industrial group Lagardere.

Sylvain Bourmeau says these changes have impacted the quality and independence of journalism. "You only have to see the way (the conservative newspaper) Le Figaro reports on the business affairs of its owner," he said.

In Germany, the government, newspapers publishers and journalists' unions launched a campaign to encourage youth to read newspapers. But the ministry for culture acknowledged that "fewer and fewer children and youth read print media."
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 04:37 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
LINK

Just click on the group picture.

LOL, that was funny. Razz

Bonfire of the vanities, eh...

I dont think any of 'em can really rival the Bill O'Reilly one though - he stands out even in this compilation. And the full-length clip is just a hard to equal demonstrative display of assh0lishness (CBS keeps shutting the copies on YouTube down but right now there's one here).

Talking of which, have y'all seen the dance remix? It's hilarious, and especially the first half is really well done...

0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 18 May, 2008 08:34 am
Yes, funny stuff, Nimh.

Having done a little bit of television work--a very little bit--in my far distant past, those 'melt downs' are not that unusual behind the scenes. Major screw ups do rattle the anchors and on screen reporters and tempers do flare. It is far worse now with eight cameras where there were once one or two and teleprompters instead of printed scripts. The only thing unusual about the clips is that they were leaked and are now out there on YouTube for all the world to see.

(I don't know if you get "Hell's Kitchen" over there, but it is an American reality show in which aspiring chefs vie to win a 'chef's competition' overseen and judged by a tyrannical chef who bullies, embarrasses, yells, and swears at the contestants. One of my great nieces went to culinary school and worked in a large fine dining restaurant kitchen for awhile. I asked her how realistic the conditions in Hell's Kitchen were and she said it sometimes it is very realistic when you have an excitable chef and things are going badly. And so I say it isn't much different when you're putting together the nightly newscast and things are going badly.)

More pertinent, however, are the media issues in Europe that you posted and I have mixed feelings about those. I am an old dinosaur who trained and worked in an era when good journalism was a badge of honor. You checked and rechecked and then verified again your sources and the information printed in the newspaper, most especially if it was information damaging to a named individual. The journalism code of 'without malice' was drilled into us and we used no adjectives or metaphors of any kind that would give any kind of clue of our personal opinion. A new reporter who was unable to grasp such principles didn't work long.

With some exceptions--there are always exceptions--newspapers and newscasts of that day were far more respected and far more trusted than they are now. Journalists were not only allowed to do their jobs but were required to do their jobs. They no longer are. Too often a reporter is not allowed to follow a story to its conclusion--the initial damaging piece is put out there but any follow up that might modify or alter it will be buried or just not printed or aired at all. Most newspapers and television media now make little pretense of objectivity, and a journalist who disagrees with the very obvious bias is not likely to do well unless they are the 'token' whatever to give the appearance of 'balance'. As a result journalists and newspapers and television newscasts are no longer as trusted or respected and they have steadily lost readers, viewers, and advertisers for decades now. Diminished revenues only exacerbate the problem.

The public has been well served by the emergence of the internet, radio talk shows, etc. These are no more accurate and no less biased than the mainstream media, but they do expose the hypocrisy and dishonesty we find in the mainstream media these days and they do get out information that the mainstream media inadvertently and/or intentionally omits. It is far more difficult for the mainstream media to manipulate all the people.

Personally I abhor the politics of personal destruction that is the norm these days and I abhor a media that feeds on it, encourages it, participates in it, and initiates it. I can only trust the the pendulum will swing again so that civility and integrity will be the norm along with the principle of the people's right to know and the freedom of the press to let them know it.
Ramafuchs
 
  0  
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2008 12:34 pm
@Foxfyre,
The public has been well served by the emergence of the internet, radio talk shows, etc. These are no more accurate and no less biased than the mainstream media, but they do expose the hypocrisy and dishonesty we find in the mainstream media these days and they do get out information that the mainstream media inadvertently and/or intentionally omits. It is far more difficult for the mainstream media to manipulate all the people.

Personally I abhor the politics of personal destruction that is the norm these days and I abhor a media that feeds on it, encourages it, participates in it, and initiates it. I can only trust the the pendulum will swing again so that civility and integrity will be the norm along with the principle of the people's right to know and the freedom of the press to let them know it.
The best sentenses which mirroros my view about US media and journalism
Regards
Rama
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 10/22/2019 at 11:47:30