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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

What he said

Glenn Reynolds gets in line with Samizdata, bridging the gap between your humble poster’s musings on big media and the current kerfuffle over Kerry’s account of his adventures in Vietnam.

But this story seems to me to be absolutely fascinating in that it reveals just how in the tank for the Democrats the mainstream media are, and how little the vaunted Cronkitean claims of objectivity and research and factual accuracy really mean when the chips are down.

To me, that’s a bigger deal than the underlying issue or even, in some ways, the election itself. Elections come and go, politicians come and go, and pretty much all of them turn out to be disappointments one way or another. But the “Fourth Estate” is a big part of the unelected Permanent Government that in many ways does more to run the country than the politicians.

Glenn does more than any professional journalist that I know of to bring together the public information on stories that catch his eye. His work on the Kerry “Christmas in Cambodia” story has been first-rate.

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8 comments to What he said

  • Susan

    OT, but how come our resident star-watchers haven’t posted anything about this:

    Solar-powerd Space Sailing Ship Gets Close to Launch

    Looks like a private venture too.

  • The Planetary society tried to launch one of these before, on a Russian Submarine launched missile. It was not a success.

    I wish them well, and I want to note that the Society has dropped its old objections to human spaceflight.

  • jk

    Yup, Glenn is dead on — and really does as good a job of pointing out media bias as anyone – more credibly since he is not overtly partisan himself.

    When the imbroglio dies down, it will be tough for the media to defend themselves over the differential of coverage between “Bush AWOL” and “Kerry in Cambodia.”

  • Hyksos King

    i could not care less who wins the election as i loath them both sooooooo much, so yeah, this behaviour by the media is the real story.

  • toolkien

    But this story seems to me to be absolutely fascinating in that it reveals just how in the tank for the Democrats the mainstream media are, and how little the vaunted Cronkitean claims of objectivity and research and factual accuracy really mean when the chips are down.

    “More likely it is because most of us served our journalistic apprenticeships as reporters covering the seamier side of our cities — the crimes, the tenement fires, the homeless and the hungry, the underclothed and undereducated. We reached our intellectual adulthood with daily close-ups of the inequality in a nation that was founded on the commitment to equality for all. So we tend to side with the powerless rather than the powerful.”

    “If that is what makes us liberals, so be it, just as long as in reporting the news we adhere to the first ideals of good journalism — that news reports must be fair, accurate and unbiased.”

    -Walter Cronkite, August 15, 2003 Walter Cronkite | Liberalism in media

    (Link)

    These quotes from the same source material. Dizzying contradiction in two consecutive sentences from the grandfather of media. I guess that’s o.k. when you’re a white knight championing the cause of the ‘powerless’. I guess it escapes his razor sharp mind that maybe, just sometimes, the powerful are right and the powerless wrong.

    Look at how he dares to cloak the ‘liberal’ in this sense with the definition of liberal in the broad sense. I haven’t known a ‘tolerant’ liberal (US definition) in all my days. And they’re as reactionary as they come. Unprejudiced? Please! (How one is to unprejudiced yet categorically opt for the powerless over the powerful is beyond me).

  • R C Dean

    Since when are bigfoot Dems “the powerless”, anyway?

  • veryretired

    There are some very long term forces at work here as the conduits for information in this era change with new technology just as they have repeatedly in the past. It is critical to remember how new the various media really are, including newspapers. That they have blossomed into such powerful, gigantic enterprises does not mean they will exist in anything like their current forms in another few decades.

    In their turn, newspapers, then radio, then network TV have all become the “big deals” of their era. Now they are threatened by the internet, satellite systems, cable channels, etc., and, of course, the reigning princes don’t like all that criticism and competition.

    The bizarre claim of objectivity and neutrality made by the media to justify mass markets is also very recent, and any short look at the history of newspapers, or any of the outlets, would quickly dispell the notion that they have ever been non-partisan. But, having staked so much on the false front of objectivity, the media now have to desparately repeat this mantra whenever challenged, so as not to actually have to reevaluate their various practices.

    It can never be repeated too often that the true purpose of all of this is entertainment, and the selling of products, not some kind of mystical dedication to the truth, or all the news that’s fit to print. It is a dedication to staying in business and selling more ads to more people. I do not find this objectionable, as long as it is acknowledged honestly, and not dressed up as some sort of altruistic campaign.

    As we move into a world with an electronic, world wide network which can provide custom order news or entertainment as the individual wishes to construct it, the need for mass market media outlets may diminish, or at least morph into new forms. It would be a relief if that heroic myth, the “professional journalist”, would morph along with it.

  • Susan

    We reached our intellectual adulthood with daily close-ups of the inequality in a nation that was founded on the commitment to equality for all. So we tend to side with the powerless rather than the powerful.”

    Notice how he deliberately conflates equality of legal status with equality of economic outcome — two seperate and distinctly different things. A typical tranzi sleight of hand.