Writing about the media is not my favorite subject, but I really am bothered by this new media trend of reporting on the Beck beat, as though it were legitimate news. This is merely another thing that demeans the news media in this country, and I think it's actually pretty easy to explain: the media is liberal, yes, but not proudly liberal, a la HuffPo or Kos. No, it's made up of self-hating liberals. I think this explanation makes quite a bit of sense when you consider stuff like this. If the media were really objective, they'd sluff off objections from both sides about bias and just do their jobs. But because of their self-loathing liberalism, they overcompensate by acting as though Beck (almost typed Bleck, though that's not a bad pejorative) is some tribune of Real America. Beck is an idiot that hardly anyone takes seriously, but the coastally-bound elites figure he must be since he can get massive amounts of angry email sent to them. That they think that Beck is actually influential outside the echo chamber actually underscores how much they actually despise "average folks"--they take for granted most of the right's assumptions that the average guy is ultraconservative when the truth is that the average guy doesn't pay much attention to politics and could really do with less posturing and some actual truth. To be perfectly honest, the activist corps of both parties skew heavily toward the elites. Much of the national conversation at this point is about elites arguing with other elites about which set of elites most resembles actual Americans. I can't think of anything more pointless.
In the end, though, the only thing that keeps the Times and the Post around is the indulgence of their readership, which is obviously well-to-do and liberal. The alternative media of the left is still largely embryonic, while the right's has gone from bloom to decay to zombified in the past few years, but the left's will explode if the Times and the Post decide that their need to be liked by the people who despise them outweighs a need to inform. And that will kill the MSM for good if it happens. I go back and forth about whether the death of "objective" journalism will be a bad thing or not a big deal, but these days I'm leaning more toward the latter, if for no other reason than that we don't have objective journalism now. Frankly, I'd love to have some of that, but even the Times got out of the journalism business when they decided to stop using the word "torture" in the MSM's poignant attempt to make conservatives hate them less. Of course, the opposite is the case, because you don't respect somebody you can push around. It's just sad to watch.
I just wish it weren't necessary for the whole thing to die, and it wouldn't be necessary if the MSM would decide that it doesn't give a shit what the Becks and Limbaughs think about things and just reports the facts. But at this point I'm not that worried about self-hating liberals being replaced with proud liberals. Indeed, I suspect that would make the news media far better, so long as liberals continue to stick with trying to report the truth (however imperfect that quest might be executed at times) instead of adopting the political fundamentalism of the right.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.