Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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yet more about press and publishing

I'm busy getting ready to go up to Vancouver, but I really, really, really wanted to point at this quote, posted by Glenn Greenwald this morning:
"I think there are a lot of critics who think that . . . . if we did not stand up [in the run-up to the war] and say 'this is bogus, and you're a liar, and why are you doing this,' that we didn't do our job. I respectfully disagree. It's not our role" -- NBC News' David Gregory, thereafter promoted to host Meet the Press.
This is the MSM showing that it not only does but does proudly exactly what Mr. Colbert described so famously at the White House Press Corps dinner a few years ago: the government (or other power figure) dictates, the press transcribes it, and publishes it. Questioning, calling out obvious lies and errors of fact - "It's not our role."

And that's pervasive. C.f. Mark Helprin's new book, Digital Barbarism, inspired by this desperately stupid column he wrote a couple of years ago on copyright, and the public reaction to it. Lawrence Lessig reviews the book here, and asks:
this book is riddled with the most basic errors of fact. It would be an embarrassment were it an essay by a first year law student, let alone a major work by (at least what was thought to be) one of America's greatest novelists. So what exactly does a publisher do anymore? Are there no editors? Is there no one with the power to say to a raving author, "Mr. Helprin, sir, what you've said is actually just not correct."
No, Mr. Lessig, there aren't. That's "not [their] role." Particularly not where the political press is concerned.

Oh, and what inspired Mr. Greenwald's post was the abrupt firing of the only Washington Post columnist (and blogger) known for actually questioning administration statements when they differed from reality, and calling Mr. Bush's torture techniques "torture." Apparently, that was "too leftist." Back to Greenwald:
To be a real establishment journalist (objective), you're not allowed to say when one side is lying -- even when they are. All you're allowed to do is repeat what both sides say and leave it at that (Colbert: "The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home"). Froomkin -- unlike David Gregory -- believes that reporters should actually point out when the Government is lying. That's what he did. That's why, to The Post, he wasn't a real reporter but, rather, an "ideologue." That's the sickness of American journalism in a nutshell.
More on this here and here, at Sullivan, and here, at firedoglake.

And people wonder why these organisations are dying. According again to Sullivan, this morning's Washington Post had no stories on Iran - not even in International. None. What the fuck, guys? What the fuck?
Tags: politics
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