Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

November 29, 2007

The Myth of Liberal Media

Filed under: media — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 9:27 am

The above video is a good run through on why the media product is not liberal. Glenn Greenwald has a piece called “Bad stenographers” which touches on some of the themes of the video.

There are two points that I would like to add.

One, the truth does not lie somewhere in the middle of two extremes. If the Republicans claimed 2+2=4 and Democrats claimed 2+2=5, it does not mean the answer is 4.5. One side could be right, they could both be right, or both sides could be wrong. The goal of journalism is not to faithfully record all sides of a story. It is to put all sides into a coherent context from which informed decisions can be made. It does require good judgment and a degree of humility. This is one of the reasons it is disheartening to see Time’s fumbling reaction. However, I haven’t found their reaction to be atypical because a News outlet’s claim to superiority rests on its authority and reputation. So, naturally, the institution does not like it when either of those qualities are challenged. When caught, the response is to waffle, ignore and misrepresent.

Two, there is a nasty tendency to smear the workers instead of the institution. Lackluster shows, blame the writers. Poor programs, blame the programmers. While it is true that a few bad eggs can cripple a product, solely blaming the workers is a cop-out. Workers are hired and can be fired. If the workers are believed to be competent, then inferior results have to attributed to the conditions inside the institution. Individual workers have very little control over the conditions inside the institution. If the conditions are to blame, then it has to be laid at the feet of those that run them. Given the usual ratio of blame, I would say people who blame low-level workers have their scorn direction backwards. More needs to go towards management, less towards workers.

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