Uncivil Discourse

Because civility is overrated.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Oh For The Love of God

Jeff Jacoby demonstrates that he's a bloody fucking idiot, which helps explains why Instapundit is so approving:

What Kerry and the others object to is not that there are only conservative voices in media circles these days but that there are any such voices. The right-of-center Fox News cannot hold a candle to the combined left-of-center output of ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and PBS. Scaife, Bradley, and Olin money helps leverage Republican messages, but its impact is dwarfed by the Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Heinz, MacArthur, Carnegie, and Soros fortunes. The Washington Times is conservative? Yes, but The Washington Post is liberal -- and its circulation is eight times as large.

But for Kerry, Gore, and Clinton, even a few conservative outlets are too many. They grew up in the era before cable TV, talk radio, and the Internet -- the age when liberal dominance was unquestioned. Now Democrats have to compete in the marketplace of ideas, and voters don't seem to be buying what they're selling. Is it any wonder so many are grumpy?
Jacoby, of course, is parroting the standard conservative line when it comes to the media: there's a liberal media and a conservative media, ne'er the twain shall meet, and they're both completely and totally partisan.

We've known, for example, that Fox News is nothing but a press release machine for the Republican Party. And the mentioned Washington Times is, well, a paper committed to furthering the agenda of the Reverend Sun Moon. So in the sense Jacoby is talking about, these are "right of center" (anyone who reads anything Tony Snow or Neil Cavuto shits out knows they're far, far right of center, but anything to the right is, strictly speaking, right of center, so that one can just slide).

But is the Washington Post, or the New York Times, or CNN, "liberal" in the same damned sense, as Jacoby alleges? The answer is "of course not." What these grand media outlets strive for is what they call "balance." But "balance" isn't an attempt to critically examine both sides, it's merely presenting both sides as if they have an equal claim to the truth.

Suppose we look at it this way. The cops are investigating some crime, let's say it's murder. They haul in two people for questioning, both of whom give contradictory accounts. Oh, but they know one of these bitches -- he's lied to them before, back during a rape case they were investigating a year ago. Now, what should the cops do here? It's not difficult, they should give the testimony of the guy that hasn't lied to them before more weight and think about why the lying motherfucker keeps showing up when they're investigating things.

What our media does, though, is to throw up their hands and say "Well, we can't get any further, because both of these guys contradict the other." After all, you gotta be fair.

A case in point was given in the ABC memo written by Mark Halperin during the election cycle last year. It was jumped on as a perfect example of the "liberal bias" in the media. Shit, even that supposed liberal bastion CNN hopped on board the gravy train. As Eric Alterman, Al Gore, and others, including now (finally) John Kerry, have noted, the fundamental problem is that this right wing notion of "balance" is actually right wing bias. Any sort of critical examination of competing claims or, hell, any failure to simply equate them and move on, as Halperin was guilty of, is actually "liberal bias." From Dan Rather to the Swift Boat Veterans to what John Kerry and George Bush were doing in 1985, this came up all the fucking time during the last election, but it's still going on.

This claim that "the media is liberal" is nothing more than saying "the media isn't completely our willing bitch," as this notion of "balance" as goal for reporting reveals. Those who make it need to be fucked hard up the ass, just to know what it feels like, given that they're going around doing it to all of us.