Thursday, January 13, 2005

Noonan: Truth Emerges from the New Cacophany

Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan writes that the Rather debaucle marks the end of “liberal” mainstream media's monopoly on information:
The liberals have lost their monopoly
That is, the monopoly enjoyed by three big networks, a half dozen big newspapers and a handful of weekly magazines from roughly 1950 to 2000 is done and gone, and something else is taking its place. That would be a media cacophony. But a cacophony in which the truth has a greater chance of making itself clearly heard.
The Wall Street Journal editorialist is steadfast in her belief that for decades liberals have held mainstream media in a headlock. But the tides are shifting, Noonan writes:
. . .in the past decade the liberals lost their monopoly. What broke it? We all know. Rush Limbaugh did, cable news did, the antimonolith journalists who rose with Reagan did, the internet did, technology did, talk radio did, Fox News did, the Washington Times did. When the people of America got options, they took them. Conservative arguments rose, and liberal hegemony fell.
Really? Isn't all this back and forth about a partisan media missing the point? This should be less an argument about political bias and more an investigation of big media as they cozy up to the powerful.

We live in an environment where media moguls and marquee journalists have joined the political and moneyed elite that they, as the Fourth Estate, are supposed to challenge. The real question, then, is who are the elite in America? Right wing ranters like to think that the "liberal establishment" -- represented by Hollywood on the left coast and New York media and Ivy Leaguers on the right coast -- is all powerful. And that they, the conservatives, are the underdogs in a system that is hard-wired to favor a "liberal agenda."

Last time I checked, though, most real power (Fortune 500 corporations, branches of gov't -- legislative, judicial and executive) rests in the hands of those that hold a center right to far right perspective. And that a commercial media system, which depends on favorable rule making and friendly corporate advertisers to protect its elevated status and bottom line, is leaning rightwards -- towards the powerful -- as a result.

And compliant media is a crime regardless of which party holds the reins.


Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Lord Chesser: Those scapegoats who reported the facts of Bush's disgraceful DIS-service in the Guard are NOT enough. It's time for public executions, with no adults allowed unless accompanied by a person UNDER the age of 10. God bless America!!!!

Anonymous said...

Media Integrity? CIA Integrity? How about White House Integrity? WMD, Prison abuse, Murder of innocent citizens in Iraq, Why? Is Saddam really guilty as charged? Why hasn't he been tried?

Timothy Karr said...

This from an interview with Eric Boehlert published yesterday at the Columbia Journalism Review Daily:

"I suppose the common theme to a lot of what I write about is the enormous role the press plays in society, and specifically in regards to our political discourse, and how the coverage -- unfairly, I think -- often tilts in favor of Republicans. Just look at how the press played two of the most contentious issues of the 2004 campaign: the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and President George Bush's service in the National Guard. I can't say I was surprised that, in the end, both stories broke Bush's way. Even without the CBS debacle, the press had made it clear it was not going to ask the hard questions about Bush's sporadic Guard service. . .

". . .in my nearly five years at Salon and a few hundred bylines, I've never once had to abandon a story I was working on because my editors and I thought that someone else had beaten us to it, or had explored the same angle, which is odd. The bad news is that's driven by an incredibly timid brand of journalism. The good news is that it provides Salon with all sorts of operating room."