Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Media Explained?

This over at Josh Marshall's TPM, along with this response strikes me as an important contribution to the question of why MSM journalists are doing their jobs so poorly. An MSM (presumably) political journalist explains:
I have had people (three men) show up at my front door at 9 am on a Saturday morning to complain about my coverage of their cause and demand to be invited in. I had another two guys stalk me, waiting until I left my office at 10 pm to accost me and take issue with my coverage of their pet issue.
So, MSM journalists don't investigate challenge administration views because they are afraid of right-wing threats. Makes sense. Now how do we fix it?

UPDATE: In case anybody wonders what I mean by the media "doing their jobs so poorly", here's Digby putting it better than I ever could:
After 9/11 when they helped the president promote the idea that the country was at "war" (with what we didn't exactly know) I knew it was a terrible mistake and would lead to a distorted foreign policy and twisted domestic politics. But I didn't blame the media because it was very difficult to fight that at the time. They're human, after all.

And when they helped the government make their case for this misbegotten war in Iraq, I assumed that they knew what they were talking about. After all, I had been defending their credibility for years now, in spite of everything I've mentioned. If they would screw up something like this, then for what was I holding back my criticism? This was the most serious issue this country had faced in many a decade.

When no WMD were found and I was informed that the NY Times had assigned a neocon shill to report the story, and then defended her when she was implicated in a white house smear to cover up its lies going into Iraq, I no longer saw any need to defend them or any other mainstream media outlet who had rah-rahed the country into Iraq because of promises of embedded glory on the battlefield and in the ratings.

This is fifteen long years of watching the Times and the rest of the mainstream media buckle under the pressure of GOP accusations that they are biased, repeatedly take bogus GOP manufactured scandals and run with them like kids with a brand new kite, treat our elections like they are entertainment vehicles for bored reporters and generally kowtow to the Republican establishment as the path of least resistence. I waited for years for them to recognise what was happening and fight back for their own integrity. It didn't happen. And I began to see that the only way to get the press to work properly was to apply equal pressure from the opposite direction. It's a tug of war. They were not strong enough to resist being dragged off to the right all by themselves. They needed some flamethrowers from our side pulling in the opposite direction to make it possible for them to avoid being pulled all the way over.

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