Saturday, November 18, 2006

See How They Run - As of late, much has been made of Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi's missteps in her supporting John Murtha over Steny Hoyer for House majority leader. (As you are doubtless aware, Mr. Hoyer defeated Mr. Murtha by 149 to 86.) From Ms. Pelosi's hometown San Francisco Chronicle, to Slate, to the Washington Post, the chattering classes are in full cacophony. Perhaps the real story of all of this is not that Nancy Pelosi has made a predictable blunder earlier on in her leadership tenure, (after all, Ms. Pelosi is noted more for implementing strongarm tactics than developing well-considered strategy.)

By my lights, the real story is that the self-same media that is now pillorying "Madam Speaker" is the exact same bunch that gave her glowing reviews prior to the election. (The recent 60 Minutes profile on Pelosi was particularly egregious in this regard.) While the media have not lost their preference for "red meat" so to say, they are clearly omnivorous enough to feed on one of their own. It is the media's gluttony for scandal and their penchant for the "journalism of personal destruction" that has rendered them a spent force in terms of shaping the culture for the better.

America’s trust in its media has declined precipitously due to the media’s fixation with maligning America’s leaders, institutions and traditions in pursuit of the next big story. The general sense that the media have purposefully worked to debase American establishments appears to be well founded. Indeed, the media have launched a decades-long campaign against much of what our nation stands for, to the point where network newscasts look more like a 22-minute negative ad campaign against America and her values.

That the media have abandoned any pretense of objectivity is evident as well. While it seemed like a big deal at the time, perhaps the most petty media misdemeanor against objectivity (and Western sensibilities) is represented by Reuters’ use of images that were altered by Adnan Hajj, a Lebanese photographer whose work – including two photos that were digitally altered to make the damage from the July 2006 Israeli air strikes into Beruit worse than the original photos – was used in dozens of national newspapers.

As is clear, and as we will see in upcoming posts, the media has declared itself to be apart from this country and it's cultural norms. We will examine in greater detail how the media see themselves in relation to it's customers and consumers. (Hint: in this context, customers and consumers are not mutually inclusive categories.)

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