Reflections in the Augean Stables: The American Political Press’s Psycho Moment

I just ran across an interesting article (H/T: Ed Driscoll) that deserves note. Erick Erickson’s reflections on the disconnect between a media that has increasingly allowed bias into its reporting and the public they supposedly inform. It made me think of Richard North’s devastating “The Corruption of the Media” written in the wake of the revelations about media malfeasance in Lebanon, Summer 2006, which prompted further reflections by Zombie, “The Reuters Photo Scandal: Taxonomy of Fraud,” and me, Meditations on Reutersgate: What’s Going on in the MSM?.

I read this current piece and think, Israelis learned this bitter lesson in 2000, when a news media that had taken leave of its moral and professional senses, began furiously channeling the Palestinian-David vs. Israeli-Goliath storyline. Anything that got in the way – like say David’s genocidal ranting and pathological hatred of America – did not get reported. People lived in an information rich-accuracy deficient environment.

The question now is: how do we reform the news media so they can and do do their job (which is not, as Erickson almost suggests, feeding another set of political proclivities), but getting the news media to report accurate and relevant information to their audiences, and allowing the public a role in making the decision about how to judge any given issue. Detox for journalists? New curricula!

The American Political Press’s Psycho Moment

By: Erick Erickson (Diary)  |  October 10th, 2012 at 11:10 PM  |  101


Consider Psycho.

Alfred Hitchcock’s most successful film was a huge box office success. Hitchcock made movie theaters agree not to let people enter the movie late. It drove buzz and demand. He would not even allow film critics a pre-screening. They had to see it with the audience. Early critics’ reviews panned the film. But the audience loved it. Long lines grew longer. Eventually, many news outlets re-reviewed the film and, no one will be surprised to learn, the critics loved it.

Psycho was a major moment in film history, not just because of what it showed on screen, but because a lot of people realized the movie critics really were disconnected from the average movie viewer.

A few weeks ago in Benghazi, Libya, the American Ambassador was assassinated by Al Qaeda in a pre-planned attack. Within twenty-four hours the White House knew it. A few hours after the American media began running horrific stories about the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Barack Obama flew to Las Vegas, NV for a campaign event.

There is not an honest American, left, right, or center who thinks the media would have been as docile or compliant had George W. Bush done the same. But the press gave Barack Obama a pass on his campaign trip.

More than that, the press — led by Chuck Todd on MNSBC no less — began pounding on Mitt Romney with the press on virtually the same talking points across the networks and printed press, given more energy by Barack Obama’s characterization that Mitt Romney shot first and aimed later.

Read the rest.

Part of what this all displays is the Augean Stables at work – years, decades of advocacy journalism which wants to “promote peace” by hiding the signs of war lest people vote for the “wrong” parties.  As Jean-Claude Dassier, the head of TF1, one of France’s major news agencies, noted during the riots in the French “zones urbaines sensibles”:

“Politics in France is heading to the right and I don’t want rightwing politicians back in second, or even first place because we showed burning cars on television.

Part of the irony in all this, is that the same media that wants to shut down true evidence that sets Islam in an unattractive light because it’s “inflammatory” and “hate speech,” is almost eager to spread false images that inflame Muslims to hatred.

We really can’t afford this. And it really is time for progressive folks to wake up and realize that the NYT is giving you the news it sees fit for us to read, and although that may feel good, a denied reality has a way of biting you where you least expect it.

3 Responses to Reflections in the Augean Stables: The American Political Press’s Psycho Moment

  1. Cynic says:

    When you wrote:
    The question now is: how do we reform the news media so they can and do do their job (which is not, as Erickson almost suggests, feeding another set of political proclivities), but getting the news media to report accurate and relevant information to their audiences,

    one reasonable response could be like that of Mary Matalin on ABC TV where she told Krigman to his face that he is a liar

    MATALIN: First of all, that’s not —

    KRUGMAN: That’s a flat-out denial!

    MATALIN: Can I ask you: You have mischaracterized and you have lied about every position and every particular of the Ryan plan on Medicare, from the efficiency of Medicare administration to calling it a voucher plan.

    KRUGMAN: Mmmm, well, it’s a voucher plan.

    MATALIN: So you’re hardly credible on calling somebody else a liar.

    Matalin Puts Krugman in His Place

    but that is only likely to come from the general public when they realise and take umbrage at being misled, deceived and lied to, a far call from the receivers of an Obamaphone.

  2. […] Landes has a couple of very good articles about it here and here where he describes a “rogue media” that is dangerous. posted under […]

  3. Rich Rostrom says:

    Charles Murray – “The White House and the Pauline Kael Syndrome”

    Over the last 35 years, while the rest of America (and probably Canada, Britain, Australia, and France too) have moved slightly to the right, the “Intellectual Upper Class” segment has moved far to the left.

    This explains almost everything.

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