I don't know That Dude From Philly
. In classic internet style, I came across his blog as a link from a link from a link. But if I met him, I'd probably like him. I certainly like his writing style. His "I'm Back Mofo's" post was a classic minimalist sojourn into the life of a guy with more obligations than time. I doubt there's a Dad out there who can't relate to being too busy to even have time for a good puke.
And I bet he'd probably like me. If we ever met at some backyard barbecue, we'd probably have a great time swapping stories and talking about sports, kids, women, and yes, even politics.
Because in politics we're two different colors: Red and Blue, with very little room for purple.
On his blog, this blog, and others, we've ping-ponged our viewpoints about the state of our country. And, if nothing else, he's forced me to clarify my thinking in order to make or refute various points.
The other day, over at The Cranky Yankee's
blog (another guy I wouldn't mind bending elbows with), we were at it again. Follow the thread from Monday, May 16th if you want to read it.
During the match, Dude said the following...it does go to say something about the media's glee in always believing something evil about America or its military b4 doing any checking.
The assumptions made in that statement astounded and saddened me, because it distilled in a sentence fragment something that a large portion of America believes.
A little bit about me: I'm a media guy. I've got a Master's Degree in it. A fat lot of good it's done me, but I've worked in television my entire adult life. I've worked on both national and local documentaries, educational series, instructional programs, children's programs, game shows, sporting events, directed and produced newscasts, and made commercials. I'd say I'm fairly qualified to talk on this subject.
Firstly, 'the media,' as a unified entity, is a fiction. There are a large number of TV and radio networks, news services, magazines, newspapers, and webpages. Many are owned by the same few corporations. But, these news organizations all have separate newsrooms, filled with reporters, photographers, editors, researchers, and others. However, with much of the same people from competing news operations reporting on the same item, it's easy to see why there are some that lump the entire group together.
But it's also possible that several different reports on the same activity will have entirely different viewpoints. Because each reporter, editor, editorial board et c.
, will have a different viewpoint on the issue. Each can be factual, but vastly different.
It's my opinion that some of what is perceived as 'media bias' is in the eye of the beholder. You can have two people look at the same report and, if one's a conservative, he will see a liberal bias, and vice versa. But there is a large number of people and organizations that are doing their best to paint 'the media' as liberal, and doing it for their own gains.
The practice of reporting the news is an incredibly complex process that, when properly followed, does its best to report without bias. It's not perfect, but it does its best.
Unfortunately, there's a large faction of the populace that believes any negative reporting against the military or the government in this post 9/11 world is proof that 'the media' is trying to 'get' someone or something. These opinions of a 'liberal media' are exacerbated in part by 'the media' itself. I'll get to that later.
Here's two newsblurbs about an incident that happened a few days ago:"The New York Yankees' ten-game winning streak ended, as they fell to the Seattle Mariners, 7-6. Jason Giambi struck out looking with two men on in the ninth.""The New York Yankees' ten-game winning streak ended, as they fell to the Seattle Mariners, 7-6. Jason Giambi brought in two runs with a single in the sixth."
Both reports are accurate. Giambi DID have a 2 RBI single. Giambi DID strike out looking in the ninth. But which is the better report?
This is the situation reporters and editors are faced with on a daily basis. In any situation, a decision must be made on what to include, and what not to include. Compounding the issue are factors of deadlines and space--column inches for print, time for TV and Radio.
Do you mention that Giambi struck out? There were other factors involved in the loss; the Yankees couldn't hold the lead. Do you mention the RBI? He's been hitting the ball a bit more recently. Do you not mention Giambi at all? He's been a lightning rod for Yankee fans.
All of these quesitons are valid. Any of the reports would be accurate.
But would they show a bias?
And that's just sports. Wins and losses are wins and losses. It's pretty cut-and-dried.
But still, debates rage about players and teams. How many magazines, TV and radio networks are out there that just deal with sports and sports issues? How many sides are there to every story?
In politics and governance, there are much greater shades of grey. Much of the reporting is about issues whose effects may not be felt for years. Rarely is there a piece of legislation that is so cut-and-dried that there is only one way of looking at it.
And 'the media' has to cover it.
Now, add to the equation a government that's fighting two wars: one a blood-and-bullets war in the middle east, and the other, a cultural war at home. This government is well-funded, and single-minded in its goals. At least on the cultural side. This government, and its supporters, are playing 'the media' like a drum.
And every time 'the media' tries to defend itself and its editorial decisions, the culural revolutionaries just see their response as proof of liberal bias.
How did they get so good at this? Because they have been preparing for this war for at least 40 years.
At the 1964 Republican convention, Former President Dwight Eisenhower denounced "sensation seeking columnists and commentators" and nearly caused a riot—the delegates howled and shook their fists at the network anchors' boxes. From Goldwater on, press bashing became a winning issue for Republicans, with every GOP presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Gerald Ford) doing his best to bully reporters or at least neuter them.
(For a great analysis of how long this has been going on, and a freaky-scary prediction from back in the day, check this out.)
And now, they've got it down to an art form. Any report that seems to go against this government's policies is decried by culural revolutionaries as showing a 'liberal bias.' And the media is so cowed by this, that they let them get away with it.
Add to this, they are incredibly media savvy. They are able to take the most onerous public policies, and give them patriotic, positive-sounding two-or-three word phrases--phrases that 'the media' gobble up like candy:
Family values. No Child Left Behind. Patriot Act. Yummy.
Sometimes the buzzwords don't work. Remember when GOP talked about the 'privitization' of Social Security? Didn't play in Peoria. So now it's "Personal Accounts."
Chomp chomp lick goes 'the media.' And any reporting that doesn't fall into line is labeled 'liberal.'
You know, with all his money, maybe Jason Giambi could hire some of these folks for himself, and let them hit the sports talk circuit."Giambi's two-run single in the sixth was a shining victory in the flow of the game. Why must you dwell on the negative? He didn't stike out, he just chose the 'non-contact' alternative."Why do you hate baseball?"