Wither the MSM?

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Jay Rosen weighs the options of the election's big loser—the media, of course—and comes up with some interesting scenarios. Will we see some heretofore "straight" news organizations wear their opposition on their sleeves?

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  1. Very interesting article, Matt, thanks.

    This quote from Weintraub is right on target:

    —————————————–
    Interesting, then, what Daniel Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee said at PressThink this week: “When my colleagues complain about a lack of access to Schwarzenegger at his media events, I ask, is that kind of access really critical to our doing our jobs? Is it our job to get close enough to describe the color of his tie, or his interaction with a voter, or is it our job to deconstruct the governor’s (or president’s) policies and proposals, their effect or potential effect on the public, their cost and consequences? Sure it’s great to have an interview with the man, or fire away questions at a press conference, but I think good journalists are capable of informing the public without the benefit of these tools.” He’s thinking of alternatives to access because he’s already realized it: Arnold is post-press in his political style.
    —————————————–

    This whole access-for-kid-gloves-treatment game the national media have been playing with politicians is a very dangerous game indeed.

    It’s one of the reasons that a pathetic coke-addled retard like bush has been able to mold an image of himself as a “stong leader” with “moral values”

    Horseshit!

    It’s time to take the kid gloves off, say screw the access, and actually do some goddamned journalism for a change.

  2. ‘At some point, one of the big ones might decide and break off and be a liberal alternative to Fox’

    What the – ?? Why the hell do you think Fox has been growing so fast? How about the bloggers? Was this guy asleep during Rathergate? The big 3 and CNN are so freakin’
    liberal it disgusts me.

  3. ” RandyAyn” Yeah, good point… Of course having a case to make rather than using fake documents would help. AND, this from an angry Republican of the 1990’s, I think losing your s&*tty attitude would do wonders, too. Trust me on this, he’s not a coke-addled retard, he’s someone with whom you have profound attitudinal/policy differences with.

    And until your side can come to terms with that, you’ll keep losing. MY side, did until we ran Dubya, watching the Bush-haters has revealed an incredilble new perspective on MY side in the 1990’s. I can see clearly, NOW, the mistakes we made and how our hatred of Clinton tripped us up.

    You need to move past your hatred, because coke-addled retards don’t get elected President. One of the Rules of Armed Combat, Know your enemey. You REFUSE to know your enemey and so your are handicapped in your ability to compete, really it’s worse than that. You REFUSE to learn about your enemy and so you hinder your own efforts. As jesus said, “there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” So whilst it’s painful to read your words, still they heaten me, because they suggest that my opponents are hurting themselves.

  4. As much as I hate to concede a point to anyone who clearly believes it?s spelled “enemey,” Joe is right. Bush is not a coke-addled retard, and continuing to believe that cripples you to really seeing the problem at hand. The problem isn’t Bush’s intelligence, it’s his respect for intelligence. The president is not a man who believes solutions can come from thinking about stuff. And furthermore, he doesn’t like people who do think solutions can come from thinking about stuff. Thinking about stuff takes time, and it requires a willingness to re-evaluate your assumptions. Making your conclusions a function of reason, makes you vulnerable to other people contradicting you with reason, and obligates you to respect it. Bush is not comfortable with any of these things. He prizes being decisive above being correct. He values faith above a foundation of rationality.

  5. Joe L.
    A few points:

    1) I’m not on the side you seem to think I’m on. Lifetime Libertarian, haven’t voted for a Demopublican or Republicrat since I started voting in 1980. Couldn’t give a shit whether the President is a Republicrat or Demopublican.
    2) Bush actually is a coke-addled retard, he just happens to be your coke-addled retard.
    3) Coke-addled retards do get elected to President (see #2).
    4) You don’t have to be on any particular “side” to recognize that Bush is a coke-addled retard.
    5) You don’t have to hate Bush to realize that he’s a coke-addled retard.
    6) You’re taking a simple observation that Bush is a coke-addled retard way too personally.
    7) Nobody needs to produce any “fake documents” to recognize that, yes, you got it, Bush is a coke-addled retard.

  6. RandyAyn, well in the face of that amazingly argued missive I must concede to your brilliance…never have I seen the like of it… You Sir or Ma’am are addled.

  7. “c”
    “The problem isn’t Bush’s intelligence, it’s his respect for intelligence. The president is not a man who believes solutions can come from thinking about stuff. … He prizes being decisive above being correct. He values faith above a foundation of rationality.”
    Oh so close, yet so far…Read Clausewitz and you can understand leadership. Reason has its place, HOWEVER it is the will of the commander that counts. We intellectuals DO think too much and it hinders us in acting.

    So, it’s not that Dubya doesn’t think, it’s that he also ACTS and understands that some acts can not be “thought” and re-thought or we end up as J Alfred Prufrock, “And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions.” When he committed to war, he committed an irrevocable act, committing him and the US to a binary solution set, victory or defeat. There can be no rethinking, we either win and he becomes a victorious and well-regarded war-time President or we lose and he becomes the like of LBJ or Nixon. And THINKING and WORRYING will avail us nothing.

    So yes, Dubya does regard DECISIVENESS as good thing, and it is, the Infantry School has a motto, “Better to do the wrong thing now, than figure out what the right thing to do was five minutes too late.”

    I think you may under-ate the degree of thought that went into the decisions made by this Administration. And that you undervalue the determination to see those decisions thru.

  8. c,
    You?re giving the coke-addled retard way to much credit.

  9. “we” intellectuals? I hope you’re talking about you and Randy.

    Better to do the wrong thing now, than figure out what the right thing to do was five minutes too late.

    This is obviously not always true. Kinda depends on how “wrong” the thing you decide to do now is, and what the negative consequences of inaction were. This sort of truism might help old soldiers sleep at night, but regarding it as anything more that a rough rule-of-thumb, especially outside of combat, is a mistake. The only reason why it survives is that typically the people who bear the consequences of those “wrong” decisions aren’t around to complain about it.

  10. Nonetheless, much of the world is binary, and so rethinking doesn’t get you much…except pissed members of your own tribe, and “I told you so’s” from the members of the enemy tribe. That’s why determination is so important. Again, peruse Clausewitz on the fog of war and friction… it’s enlightening and not just for soldiers.

  11. Sorry about that “c”, I meant to put your name at the head of the post and put it in the header for my name.
    Nonetheless, much of the world is binary, and so rethinking doesn’t get you much…except pissed members of your own tribe, and “I told you so’s” from the members of the enemy tribe. That’s why determination is so important. Again, peruse Clausewitz on the fog of war and friction… it’s enlightening and not just for soldiers.

  12. A call for more partisan reporting?

    Looks like a step backwards for the MSM to me.

  13. I understand that getting the answer mostly right and on time is sometimes preferable to getting it 100% but too late, but the best case scenario is clearly getting it right AND on time. That’s the one we should aim for! Being so willing to accept second best borders on an abdication of responsibility.

    If you really think that criticism of our leaders and “rethinking” gets us so little, how do you justify freedom of speech? Why not just discard the pesky fig leaf and say “what our leaders say goes, you all can suck on it.”

  14. c, I’m not against freedom of speech, rail against or praise your leadership as you see fit. My point is with the point you make about the LEADERSHIP… that Bush doesn’t value intelligence. I disagree.

    Leaders need to make decisions, then they have to live with the consequences of those decisions. In some cases, FDR, Lincoln, and I hope Dubya, voters and history will judge them well. In some cases, LBJ, Nixon, and Carter they get judged poorly… but rethinking their positions wouldn’t have made them into victors either. Better execution of their decisions MIGHT have helped Carter and LBJ and that’s my point, decisiveness is jsut as important as reasoning and a surfeit of reasoning is a detriment to action.

  15. Please. CNN and MSNBC may lean left but they are poor counterbalances to Fox News. There is no antidote to a Hannity, who smugly sits there talking about “my party” and “my president”, least of all his so-called “liberal” straight-man, Alan Colmes. It’s out-and-out frat boy rebel yelling. Chris Matthews on MSNBC sure seems liberal sometimes, but I think he is really more apt to chase a big story for ratings than trumpet a liberal cause. Scarborough is an unabashed conservative, right down ripping Republicans for spending like Democrats of late.

    If anything, Franken’s network is the lefty’s Fox News. It’s a no-shame “alternative” to right-wing media, and seems to be finding its audience.

    We just need a libertarian news base now and we’re all set (luckily we have this mag).

  16. At some point between now and 2008, either MSNBC or CNN may break off from the pack and decide to become the liberal alternative to Fox[…]

    Uhh, I can’t speak for MSNBC, but CNN (and plenty of other news organizations ARE already the liberal alternative to FOX. In fact, I’ll go further- Fox’s off the heezy popularity in recent years is because it was the conservative alternative to, well, everything else.

    Opponents want to define the national press as the liberal media, and they are well along in their cultural project, which does not require the participation of journalists.

    The larger portion of straight news is liberal. End of discussion. So the only question is, do they admit it openly, or continue the facade?

    […]Michael Moore’s success with agitprop[…]

    Michael Moore’s success with agitprop, may have been a major contributing factor in the withering of the Democratic party. I told many of my ‘liberal’ and Democratic friends that it would be very, very wise to distance themselves from the likes of Michael Moore. Michael Moore is, frankly, full of shit, and the tighter the Democrats as a party embrace this guy, the more mobilized both Republicans and even moderate swing voters become against the Democratic party as a whole. Moore may have singlehandedly done more damage to both the Democrats and the Kerry campaign than any other easily identifiable issue. Every time Moore opened up his fat yap, I was tempted to go back and vote for Bush. I can’t imagine that I’m alone.

    Paul

  17. Randyann
    2) Bush actually is a coke-addled retard, he just happens to be your coke-addled retard.

    I remember, some years ago, catching a segment of none other than Rush Limbaugh, either shortly after or shortly before the 2000 election. Limbaugh was talking about the Democrats constant demagoguing over Bush’s lack of intelligence. And I remember something that Limbaugh concluded with. He said “You go ahead, liberals, you go ahead, you keeeeep on thinkin’ that, you keep on believing that, and you’ll get beaten everytime”. Sorry, that’s not an exact quote, but pretty close.

    Fast-forward to the midterm elections a couple of years later- Bush surprised everybody in his shrewed support of congressional candidates, and strenghtned his legislative backing. After those elections, I remember listening to a Democratic party leader on one of the local radio stations in Seattle, speaking frankly about Bush’s ability to mobilize voters and get things done. This Democrat said: “We will NEVER underestimate this president again. We have repeatedly underestimated him, and it’s bitten us every time.” Fast forward to the 2004 elections. Democrats AND MOST OPPONENTS of Bush are NOT LEARNING. And my warning to you (as a non-Bush supporter, by the way) is that if YOU KEEP THINKING HE’S A COKE-ADDLED RETARD, you’re going to be steamrolled AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN- and reduced to making ADDLED comments in obscure weblogs screaming about Bush being a coke-addled retard. If you want to defeat Bush you need to understand that the man is bright, intelligent, shrewd, but a poor public speaker. The latter does NOT cancel out the former.

    Paul

  18. Paul: “Every time Moore opened up his fat yap, I was tempted to go back and vote for Bush. I can’t imagine that I’m alone.”

    I can confirm that you were not.

  19. There is no antidote to a Hannity, who smugly sits there talking about “my party” and “my president”, least of all his so-called “liberal” straight-man, Alan Colmes.

    And two, if anything, Franken’s network is the lefty’s Fox News. It’s a no-shame “alternative” to right-wing media, and seems to be finding its audience.

    Two things, here. One, Fox (with all of its conservative bias) still produces straight news. It’s just couched in pro-bush, pro-conservative cable-news (read editorial) shows. I’m not ready to say that CNN is much better- but I’d agree that CNN isn’t ‘worse’ per se.

    I disagree that Franken is the lefty-s fox news. Franken is the lefty’s Rush Limbaugh. It’s pure editorial broadcasting from a starkly partisan viewpoint. Like Limbaugh, Franken will produce his shows from the PIVOT of straight news. The problem with the general straight news media, is that there are so many outlets which lean left (not always strongly) and again, it’s not conspiratorial. It’s not coordinated. It just is. Jennings said himself: “Those of us who went into journalism in the ?50s or ?60s ? it was sort of a liberal thing to do. Save the world.”

    I don’t fault Jennings for this, I simply take it as generational and demographic fact. My general feeling comes down as thus:

    o The larger straight news media leans left. You deal with it, and move on. Recognize it, but get over it.

    o As time has progressed through the nineties, there are now more than enough alternative sources for conservatives to get alternate viewpoints.

    o The straight news, despite it’s liberal/left leanings, have less impact on the body politic than previously thought- conservatives should ease up on their paranoia. Dan Rather just doesn’t matter anymore.

    o The straight news is beginning to realize this– is beginning to panic, is frothing at the mouth about the ‘decentralization’ of information- hence the discussions of wearing their beliefs on their sleeves. All that hiding is apparently taking its toll, and stressing everyone out in Journalist land.

  20. Paul,

    You’re confusing Bush with the Bush administration, and in particular Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

    All of the attributes you listed belong not to Bush but to the faceless cabal using him as its figurehead.

    When you speak of “Bush’s ability to mobilize voters and get things done” you’re talking about Karl Rove, who, legend has it, can tell you almost anything you want to know about nearly every congressional district in this country.

    When you mention that “Bush surprised everybody in his shrewed support of congressional candidates, and strenghtned his legislative backing,” again you’re talking not of Bush but puppeteers Rove and Cheney.

    They’re the ones who made the decision to go to war with Iraq. They’re the ones who crafted his reelection campaign, and coyly coordinated with the state legislatures to make sure that gay marriage bills were on the ballot in battleground states.

    They’re shrewd.

    And yes, you do underestimate them at your, and our country’s great peril.

    Bush, on the other hand, is a fool. He stands where he is told to stand, he poses the way he is supposed to pose, and then regurgitates the words Rove and Cheney have written for him to say. And he’s barely able to appear competent at doing even that.

    This “bright, intelligent, shrewd” individual you mention had to have Dick “Jim Henson” Cheney at his side just to testify before the 911 commission, so convinced were his handlers that he would give away some lurid detail of their own involvement with the affair.

    During the first presidential debate, we got an uncharacteristically candid glimpse at this amiable, dopey husk of a man. After all, you can fill up a coke-addled retard with only so much information before his drug-abused mind collapses from the sheer effort. And he had to be let out of his pen for the debates; Dick Cheney simply could not have stood up there at the lectern with him and told him what to say. That would have been most unsightly.

    Thus we witnessed instances where he would just sit there and desperately try and construct something relevant out of what either the moderator or Kerry had just said. When he responded, he was obviously either parrotting back one of his talking points, or when those failed him, repeating the obvious, as in “I know Bin Laden attacked us.”

    Good boy. We know you do.

    Paul, let me tell you, the only way to defeat Bush is to expose him for what he is, not to confuse him with those who use his persona to further their own sinister ends.

  21. RandyAyn–

    GW was so dumb that he managed to hire people that were smart enough to get him 8 years in the White House.

    How smart are you?

  22. scott,

    I’m smart enough to realize that it’s the puppeteer who chooses the puppet and not the other way around.

    Are you?

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