Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mainstream Media

David Sirota on media conventional wisdom in all of its brainlessness:

A lot has been written about how, when reporters spend too much time in Washington, D.C., their brains start to rot, and they start spewing back insider gossip and stereotype that is so removed from reality, you think you are reading the rantings of patients in an insane asylum. Case in point is Washington Post reporter Dan Balz - one of the most intellectually impaired reporters working today.

Balz has made a career parroting whatever Beltway conventional wisdom is out there, regardless of how polls show it is totally disconnected from reality. He regularly writes declarative statements that have literally no connection to anything other than what he and his insulated cocktail party friends have decided in a vacuum is what America believes.
Read more.


william t nelson said...

The premise of Sirota's posting is quite true; there is an understanding of policy positions that develops among political elites/reporters in Washington that doesn't reflect reality.

However, Sirota's decision to use polling data to support his factual argument is really dumb. It is quite obvious that the invasion was a disaster for national security. Why does he use a poll to support his claim? If a minority held that position tomorrow, would it be any less true?

The main reason he chose this writing method was to let his readers know that they are with the majority. Frankly, the site has an agenda, and especially if you agree with it, it is important to be very skeptical or else lose sight of reality.

Sen Clinton will get credit for her position should she run for higher office. You get points for national security credibility when you vote for war regardless of the outcome--Balz is essentially correct, though he used biased phrasing. Had Sen Clinton voted against the war, she would in the future be attacked by the hawks. In effect she gained armor against the far right while losing little of the center-left [although perhaps losing with the far left].

Sen Clinton voted for the war for one of three reasons:
1. because she's an idiot
2. because she's too much of an insider to know better
3. because she is extremely politically shrewd, and could not have stopped the war anyway.

I would be most likely to support Sen Clinton for higher office if #3 turns out to be true.

As for Balz and Sirota, neither one of them comes out of this piece looking that solid. Sirota cites one line from Balz, then proceeds to tell us many things we already know that countradict it. Finally he tells us that the media has failed, that "all the media can do anymore is be a stenographer for the Establishment's propaganda." Well, it would have been nice if he had supported his thesis with more than one example. I think this basically supports my claim in paragraph 3.

Elaine said...

Sen Clinton will get credit for her position should she run for higher office. You get points for national security credibility when you vote for war regardless of the outcome

Well, Clinton would get credit for being hawkish because guys like Balz report it that way. If the press weren't so intent on promoting the myth that Republicans go to war more therefore they're better for national security, we would all be better off.

I agree that citing poll data is irrelevant.