Many Springs ago, the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof was deeply (deeply!) concerned that after spending eight years helping the wingnuts slander Bill Clinton, and then four years helping George Bush wreck the economy and lie us into a disastrous war, for some reason people were starting to lose their confidence in the national media.
I wrote about it at the time:
Oh it's much, much worse than that, and you have only yourselves to blame.
A punk’s first punch is always a little hesitant, not knowing if you’ll hit back and, if you do, how much throw-weight your packing. Bullies are cowards and once upon a time it was the job of the Free Press to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.But you all never hit back when the thugs came. You flinched and cowered, and left us all at their mercy....Yes, you were scapegoated. You were kicked around like a soccer ball , and every time you came up for air you backed off instead of fighting back.You wanna be thought of as crusading, then crusade. You want respect for your investigative savvy...then investigate.In any case, it's not just right-wingers who distrust the media these days. The Pew Research Center found that while only 14 percent of Republicans believe all or most of what they read in The New York Times, even among Democrats the figure is only 31 percent. ......the one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is that the news media are not trustworthy.No pun intended, but this is news to you?! In your weird fetish to be “objective”, the Republicans learned the little trick that makes you dance like organ grinder monkeys. Whatever goofy-assed idea they came up with, you’d reflexively cede them half the distance between the truth and their goal.There was a book I loved when I was a little driftglass called, “Half Magic” by Edgar Eager, about a talisman that granted the user exactly half of what they asked for. Wish to be ten times stronger that Lancelot, you’ll get five. Wish for a million in cash, you get 500K. In the Mainstream Media, the Right Wing of the Republican Party found their Half Magic Charm. And each time you met them halfway, they moved the goalposts another twenty yards again...and you jogged right on along behind them, ten yards at a time.The “compromise” between the truth and a lie...is a lie. The “compromise” between science and superstition...is superstition. Now, would you care to guess what the compromise between tolerance and bigotry is? Between knowledge and ignorance? Between Ann Coulter and Paul Krugman?I don't see any easy solutions, but print, radio and television all need to take much bolder steps to reconnect with the public...Oh goodie! Another journalist making with the sackcloth and ashes! Every few months, year after year after year, journalist/self-flagellates moan publically about how awful it’s getting and how Somebody should really Do Something! As predictable as Aldermanic indictments in Chicago in Spring.
And yet year after year after year it gets worse.
-- driftglass, "Here’s what a ship that has already sailed looks like", April 13, 2005
It is now 2013.
And things have gotten so much worse.