"A New World of Blogs and Monsters" Edition.
This week we will travel belatedly and with great affection to Batocchio's mighty 2016 Jon Swift Roundup. Because despite the disreputable medium in which I do most of my writing being consigned repeatedly( hell, annually) to the narrow house with pennies on its eyes, suddenly and holy shit, we find ourselves needing the fuckingblogs (as future historians will call them) and bloggers more than ever.
I know this because I was silly enough to be duped into watching the Meet the Press because of this overview of the proposed subject matter:
Here are words I never imagined writing: Tune in to NBC's "Meet the Press," and you'll see me as a guest.
Moderator Chuck Todd invited me to New York, and I'm on a panel discussing coverage of President-elect Donald Trump.
We taped the segment earlier this month. The other panelists are Claire Atkinson, media reporter of The New York Post; David Folkenflik, media correspondent for NPR and author of "Murdoch's World"; and Gabe Sherman, national affairs editor for New York magazine and author of "The Loudest Voice in the Room." "Loudest Voice," about former Fox News boss Roger Ailes, will become a TV miniseries.
This led me to believe matters of substance like the cascade failure of the media and the cancer that is Fox News might actually be discussed.
I was wrong once again.
Fox News -- the fountainhead of the cancer that destroyed the media and the Republican party -- was never mentioned.
Roger Ailes was mentioned only once, by the Gerard Baker, the editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, and only by way of buttering up his boss, Rupert Murdoch:
GERARD BAKER: ... And I do think one of the problems with trust in this country is that, for a very long time, people have seen news presented by news organizations in a way that they think is unfair. You know, it's no accident, there's the old joke about Fox News, when Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes started Fox News 20 years ago, that they said, you know, they were catering for a niche audience. And it turns out the niche is 50%, right? People were unhappy with the mainstream media, whether it was newspapers, television or whatever. So they did see an opportunity.
And the compliant, Quisling "journalists" who have reserved seating at every single table in the corporate media?
Touched on fleetingly by Chuck Todd, who went out of his way not to names names or networks because ace reporter Chuck Todd really is just that afraid for his own professional skin (emphasis added):
CHUCK TODD: How do you define objectivity in the age of Trump? And I say this because, you know, Trump's going to have his own version of it, who's fair and what's not. Trump has what I call sort of concierge, concierge media friends. I'm not going to name names here, but we all know who they are. Basically, people he knows that can help steer a conversation for him or get rid of. And it's in multiple networks, it's all over in multiple print publications. How does a mainstream press corps deal with that?
Chuck, those "concierge media friends"? The ones we see you cheerfully bantering with on your teevee show every week? Ones to whom MSNBC gives three hours of priceless network time every single god damn morning? Who have their shitty books published and pimped by the same corporations who pay them to lie into the camera? Who can hop on coast-to-coast radio anytime they please? Who are handed prime op-ed real estate in every fucking newspaper in America?
They are the mainstream press corps, Chuck, and will remain so until people like your bosses at Comcast decide otherwise.
The other half of the Newspaper Big Shot segment was given over to Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times. Mr. Baquet came across as a guy who had somehow found himself Twilight Zoned from his first class B&B seat on Emirates Airline to the screaming-baby coach section of Spirit Airline, there to explain to the grubby peasants packed into steerage that, on the whole, air travel was really pretty great despite a few glitches here and there.
Sure, we made a couple of boo-boos --
DEAN BAQUET: ... I think if news organizations made a mistake, and I can only speak for my own, I think that we wrote stories about anger in the country. We even did a series called Anxiety in America. But, of course, we should've done more. And I think people would've been less surprised, had we done more. That's what I would've done differently.CHUCK TODD: How much of this do you think -- Here's what I've chalked up some of the Trump coverage to in our own, which is we in the Acela Corridor of the media from New York to DC knew Donald Trump the person too well. And let that almost cloud or dominate our own focus in ways we didn't realize really until after the fact.
-- but overall, we're pretty darned swell!
DEAN BAQUET: You know, I guess I'm going to make the case that the coverage of Donald Trump the person and Donald Trump the candidate was actually quite strong, if you look at the whole of the press. Given what he didn't share, like his taxes and information about his income, we learned a lot about him...
Hey that's just super-duper, Dean, but what about your paper's wildly over-the-top obsession with Hillary Clinton's emails? (from Media Matters):
STUDY: Top Newspapers Give Clinton Email Story More Coverage Than All Other Trump Stories...
The New York Times Published Almost Three Times As Many Clinton Email Stories As “Trump” Headlines.The New York Times published 37 articles mentioning the Clinton email story while publishing only 13 “Trump” headlines that did not also mention the Clinton email story.
Also from Media Matters:
NY Times Floods Front Page With FBI Letter Stories While Acknowledging It Didn’t “Reopen” Clinton Server Inquiry
Because speaking as a nobody living in the middle of Middle America, I would be very, very interested in hearing a whole lot more about this much-more-salient side of the "unbalance coverage" equation from the person who actually made those criminally negligent decisions every day.
But as always, when Chuckles runs out of softball questions, suddenly we're outta time!
CHUCK TODD: Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times.DEAN BAQUET: Thank you.CHUCK TODD: It's going to be interesting times up ahead, but I'm with you. I'm optimistic about--DEAN BAQUET: Good.CHUCK TODD: --the future of journalism. Thanks, Dean.DEAN BAQUET: Good. So am I. Take care.
The rest of it was a shitshow of the same, tired opinions (Angry Murricans! Why didn't we listen?) being trotted around the track by old and slightly newer (translation: not on vacation) faces. The only one who seems to grasp the world we now live in -- the world our corporate media has pied pipered us into one sellout at a time -- was former Dubya Bush press flak and McCain/Palin campaign killbot Nicole Wallace:
NICOLLE WALLACE: I think we're staring at trees and missing the forest. We've just elected a man who bullies female reporters at his rally as an applause line. We have just elected a man who started a hot war with a female anchor instead of intending a debate she moderated. We are in a new place. And I don't think it's good. And I don't think it has any parallels to the past. And I don't think Trump needs the press. But I think he wants them like an addict craves their drugs.
Meanwhile, it was exactly two years ago when Schuck Todd himself, a little drunk on the prestige of taking over Meet the Press from David "Fluffy" Gregory, opened his pie-hole and gave the whole game away by explaining exactly why he has to lets his guests get away with murder (h/t Crooks & Liars):
And so, in an odd way, I find myself agreeing with Dean Baquet and Schuck Todd. I am optimistic about the future of journalism, because the future of journalism is once again to be found the disreputable-but-never-quite-dead medium of blogging.
Over to you, Batocchio!
Jon Swift Roundup 2016(The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)Welcome to the 2016 edition! It's been a long and crazy year. This tradition was started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel, who left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs. As Lance Mannion explains:Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the "reasonable conservative" blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.Here's Jon/Al's 2007 and 2008 editions.
Meanwhile, here are the revivals from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.If you're not familiar with Al Weisel's work as Jon Swift, his site features a "best of" list in the left column.Meanwhile, Blogroll Amnesty Day (cofounded by Jon Swift and skippy) is a celebration of small blogs coming up again the first weekend in February.Thanks to all the participants, and apologies to anyone I missed. (As always, my goal is to find the right balance between inclusive and manageable.) You still can join in, by linking your post in the comments. Whether your post appears in the modest list below or not, feel free to tweet your best post with the hatchtag #jonswift2016.A special thank you once again to DougJ and the crew at Balloon Juice for hosting an open thread to help folks self-nominate.As in Jon/Al's 2008 roundup, submissions are listed roughly in the order they were received. As he wrote in that post:I'm sure you'll be interested in seeing what your favorite bloggers think were their best posts of the year, but be sure to also visit some blogs you've never read before and leave a nice comment if you like what you see or, if you must, a polite demurral if you do not.
Without further ado...
This is the part where you go to Batoccio's place and read 'em and thank him for doing so much heavy lifting on behalf of the rest of us.