The affable and strong-of-backbone Nightfly writes in to color in some of our sketches on media bias:
Hello, Your Dreaded Awfulness –
Many years ago, I took a number of journalism classes in college. Thankfully, the first of my professors was excellent at his job.
Perhaps teaching, like journalism, is never purely objective; but at the least, it can be honest, and Prof. Miller was honest. He knew he was dealing with a bunch of Squishy Marshmallows who had been sold on the “First Draft of History” shinola so many schools ladle out to their impressionable charges. His attitude was simple: if you’re going for the romantic model of crusading, activist journalism, then forget the objectivity. You can’t do both – unless you become a frightful liar.
Since journalism is supposed to be truthful, he was a scrupulous corrector of both factual errors and lazy narrative-building.
Based on what I’ve been seeing lately, few reporters have had similar treatment in their Intro classes, or else they got undone once they got to the 300, 400 level stuff. It’s shameless. But the citizen media has done a great service for the body politic: by their united strength, they have forced the legacy media to finally be honest about their biases. It hasn’t made them more honest about the facts in evidence: pick a topic, and the legacy media have clearly picked a side and resorted to any shading, spinning, or outright fabrication to justify and promote it. But now it’s obvious that they’ve done it. When a rebuttal is met with is “Nuh-uhhhhh! Racist,” then I feel fairly confident in dismissing the initial position.
Case in point: a recent local article about some speech someone gave. It’s hardly important which one, or by whom – in fact the whole point of the article was that nobody would remember the point, but they would remember the small pictures that ran with the story. Picture A was a headshot of Romney, captioned: “Mitt Romney has rarely strayed from jobs and the economy.” Picture B was of Obama, captioned: “President Obama often takes strong positions on social issues.” It seemed a fairly overt suggestion: the GOP cares about money, Obama cares about YOU.
If you wrapped the major metropolitan newsrooms in copper wire, the spinning would generate enough electricity to power the cities they’re located in. (Finally, an energy source the Left can’t complain about.) It might work as an energy policy, but there’s no way it’s anything like working the way they hope for.
Your in minionhood,
Agreed across the board. Indeed, there are in our weighty estimation some folks working in journalism who set an astonishing standardperhaps no one is better than Jake Tapper, insofar as nobody can figure out whether he even votes, let alone for whom. And there are easily a dozen more folks who have mastered objectivity.
Of course, the last four years have been astonishing (and we are of course behind it): the American public is no longer accepting the bias, but is actively seeking to obtain their news elsewhere. Hooray for all of us!
We might add that bias overcomes objectivity in a couple of ways: one, gradual conditioning so that the objective journalist is unaware that he or she has written a liberal slant. Two, there exists the not unlikely probability that Lefties are intentionally infiltrating J-schools with the intent of subverting objectivity. The Left has, after all, become increasingly desperate as their hour draws near.
Nice work, Nightfly! And related to that same essay by the Czar comes a historical observation by Operative MH:
I don’t have my copy of Remini’s three-volume Jackson biography handy, but I’m pretty sure that story about men under Jackson’s command hanging Creek prophets (and two British subjects who where likewise involved in arming and supplying the Creek refugees and Seminole communities of West Florida) is detailed satisfactorily. It did happen, just not during the Creek War – it was the First Seminole War, during Jackson’s dubiously-legal occupation and de-facto conquest of Spanish Florida.
Thanks for checking in! The Czar, of course, was referencing the histrionics behind the article as fiction. Indeed, the military history of Andrew Jackson is well documented, and the Tallahoosa battle referenced in that 1828 article happened during the Creek Warbut the events described in the article could actually have occurred during the Seminole War. So two points:
First, the conflation by the articles author shows that irrational editing to make someone look bad is not an MSNBC invention, but was happening in full swing as far back as 1828. We were not attacking the historical accuracy of the articlewe trust the readers understand the history is all messed upbut the fictionalized style.
Second, please let us know (if you have a moment) if Jackson slaughtered any innocent Indians during either battle. Andrew Jackson was a jerk about many things, but a butcher of innocents…err, not really. Indeed, his own treatment by the British (in which he lost most of his family to British cruelty) would encourage him away from that sort of military barbarism. That Jackson killed many Indians in battle is uncontestedbut please let us know if you have information to the contrary. It would make a great follow-up piece.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.