Monday, October 27, 2014

Birthday Fundraiser Day Three: Don't Go No Further -- UPDATE

Over at The Brookings Institute, Robert G. Kaiser has a long essay on the death of the News Industry.

It has charts and graphs. Quotes. Cool vintage photographs. It has s zazzy word-cloud-looking headline. It has interesting anecdotes about how the News Industry refused to understand the business it was actually in until long after shovels-full of digital dirt were landing with very loud thuds on the lid of its coffin.

Of course it is pretty much the same, hand-wringing "Newspaper Publishes Newspaper's Obit" story we have all been reading for over a decade now, but longer, and with lots of earnest bells and whistles.

You want to know the moment at which I stopped reading?

It was
Fox News's determination to ridicule the Affordable Care Act—”Obamacare”—had nothing to do with traditional journalistic truth-seeking. Rather, it was part of a propaganda campaign. The MSNBC cable network, part of NBC, which used to be a serious news organization, saw a business opportunity in making itself a liberal alternative to Fox, the most profitable cable news network, and now unabashedly propagates a liberal view of the news. Fox and MSNBC have both decided to cater to their audiences not with original reporting of the news (which is expensive), but with commentary on the news interspersed with broadcasts of set-piece events...
I was unaware that MSNBC's longest single non-prison-based block of programming -- Squint and The Meat Puppet's Three-Hour Beltway Groveling and Wingnut Talking Point Jamboree -- was considered to be an exercise in the propagation of Liberalism, unabashed or otherwise.

Also too, based on my own unscientific assay of it programming, most of MSNBC's evening hours are usually  devoted to debunking the daily output of the Roger Ailes Lie Machine.  Like, say, for example, that very same ”Obamacare” ridicule propaganda campaign which the author himself mention above.

For all you young 'uns out there who might not know this, the nasty and often professionally-risky task of challenging nation-crippling Right Wing propaganda used to be the job of Genuinely Serious Newspersons like Edward R. Murrow.  

Then, right around the time the Corporate media started putting up monuments to Edward R. Murrow, Hero Newsman, they unceremoniously went out of the businesses of doing the work which make Edward R. Murrow worth memorializing.  And before you could say "If It's Sunday, It's Meet the Profit-Center..." Murrowism was as dead as disco and replaced by High Broderism.  Before you could say "Great news for John McCain!!pointing cameras at Conservative liars and lunatics and asking "What the Fuck?" stopped being celebrated as the noble duty of crusading servants of the First Amendment and became something shameful and rude; something to laughed off and shunned as the toe-picking province of those "vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left" and a handful of potty-mouth jesters on basic cable.

Of course, these days when you need a to level up your Serious Journalism Cred fast and cheap, you can never go wrong punching imaginary hippies.  And the whole, lazy, ridiculous "Both Sides" lie is now so woven into the media's DNA that it's probably impossible to remove it short of burning the whole thing down and starting over from "Who", "What", "When", "Where", "How", and "Why".

But I don't have to reward that lie with my silence.

And when I come across that lie in my reading, I no longer feel any compunction about shit-canning the entire piece and letting the author know what a huge disappointment it was to find one more Serious Person who feels compelled to prove their Beltway bona fides by dropping that turd in the punch-bowl one more time.  

This is the part where I ask you for dough:

UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader Frank for pointing out that Olbermann had plowed this field long ago.


Anonymous said...


Totally, well, semi-totally off topic: Evidently, taxation is cool again with the anti-tax libertarian crowd. I see in our local paper (which purports to be about news) that the city council is jumping with joy at the idea of taxing marihuana to the tune of 10%, even before the ballot measure to legalize it has been voted on.

This is the same local newspaper that has been dead silent while the county government, and of course local constituents, have steadfastly refused pay any form of taxes to the point of complete local government collapse, meaning no funding for schools, police, libraries, general infrastructure…Well, you know the tune to which they dance.

They didn’t even start at 2-4% they just jumped to 10%. And they passed the tax prior to the actual election, because the levy prohibits the taxation of the legalized pot, in the hope that they can claim some form of Grandfatherization clause and override the tax prohibition clause from the marijuana legalization levy.

Ain’t life grand. Where there is hypocrisy, there is a way.

If they succeed, I wonder where the tax money will go? More tanks and anti-aircraft guns for the police. That would be my best guess.

CM said...


Also off topic. Did you check Krugman's column today? He is writing like you.

**And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.**

Frank Stone said...

Kaiser is a little late to the party; Keith Olbermann already eviscerated his nonsense almost four years ago.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Keith - yeah, that's who is no longer working, who lost his soapbox, out of all the useless hacks on the tube.
"Objectivity" is a god that the media worships not just because they are lazy and stupid and afraid. Like cattle, they were prodded and whipped and threatened and the herd culled until they learned how to behave so that they posed no threat to power and could easily be manipulated. "Objectivity" is a perfect system in which everyone can be prosperous and happy and can get along and keep their jobs and the paychecks coming. For the successful, it requires no effort, no judgment, no danger.