11. March 2005 · Comments Off on Get Your Ticket… The Fix Is In. · Categories: Media Matters Not, Politics

I was up at 4AM this morning, doing what I regularly do when up at that hour – watching C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. One of the topics of discussion was “will America be ready for a female Presidential candidate in 2008?” Of course, the focus was on Hillary Clinton and Condi Rice, although a few others were mentioned, most notably Liddy Dole. As usual, most of the callers had anything but a balanced, considered opinion of either. Few mentioned Condi’s youth, or inexperience and seeming discomfort with the world of elective politics. And none mentioned Hillary’s apparent paradigm shift since moving from First Lady to Senator.

But oh, there were many that claimed Condi was “just a puppet of Bush.” (Wait, I thought Cheney was the puppetmaster, or was it Rove?) And there were a few that said Hillary was “just too liberal.” to be President. But this is typical of Washington Journal callers. It is obvious to me that the reality most Americans perceive is what is presented to them by a few very limited sources.

Currently, I am just completing a marathon view of the documentary series Reality of Reality on Bravo. The episode just before this one dealt with how “reality” shows producers “shape” the reality the audience sees. And this is the typical tug-of-war between ethics vs. greed. I can’t help but tie this back to former San Jose Police Chief Joseph D. McNamara’s famous quote about police corruption: “you’ll get 10% that will absolutely toe-the-line, 10% that will certainly be corrupt, and 80% that will fall somewhere in the middle” (paraphrased). But, where is the line drawn?

Later this morning, Washington Journal featured an interview and call-in questions with ex-Newsday columnist Laurie Garrett, who’s scathing memo has been quite the talk for the past week. Her contention is that, for the past decade, the journalistic community has abandoned responsibility, in favor of profits. While I don’t totally disagree with her, it’s been going on far longer than that. Let’s remember, Network dates it 1976. And Peggy Noonan has coined the term, Chronkiteism.

But, in fact, it goes back much farther than that. Surly, all who weren’t napping in high school history class recall the Yellow Journalism period of Hearst and Pulitzer? What was that famous Hearst quote concerning the Spanish-American War? I’m sure my readers can help me out.

But now, tying this all together, Laurie Garrett repeats the old lament about “traditional media’s” failure to present a unified, filtered (edited and fact-checked) vision of the world to and audience which is “too over-worked and stressed” (again, a paraphrase) to spend 5 hours/day on the Internet sorting out the details. She applauds the recent rise to success of such as Salon.com, but includes quite curtly that these electronic media follow the traditional structure. She doesn’t blow away the blogosphere totally, but says, “who has 5hrs./day to sort through that stuff?”

She longs for the halcyon days of Ernie Kovacs and Edward R. Murrow (and thinks this continued in the print media into the 1990’s), and thinks current news producers present no truer form of reality than the producers of Big Brother. Well, dear lady, I have studied the work of both Murrow and Kovacs. And I can certainly say that, while it pales in comparison to what we get today, there was a definite pro-regime (or, at least, not-too-anti) spin on everything they did, particularly in the case of Kovacs.

But, dear Laurie, that doesn’t mean that the work-a-day stiff must rely upon the traditional hierarchy media format, who’s purveyors are just as likely to “shape” the world he/she views in the same way as the “reality TV” viewer. There are many bloggers out there, such as us here at The Daily Brief, who, to one extent or another (Much greater in my own case that of most – I must admit), do their internet homework, plus (at least in my own case) some local footwork for my own stories :), and present the truly important matters of the day to them in a coherent, responsible, and palatable manner.

And we suffer the wrath, when we misstep, as I found when I did my recent post on steroids and Reggie White, Even though I qualified my assertion at the outset, I had a dozen people on my case before I had a chance to return from the restroom. That’s the way it is with popular blogs – the instant you publish, you have 1000-or-more fact-checkers on your case.

And so it goes here; at The Daily Brief, myself, Sgt. Mom, CplBlondie, Timmer, and all others which contribute here, take great care to only present those things as fact which we truely believe to be so, or properly qualify those things we are questionable on. And, we openly qualify our analysis and opinion as that from a person which is part of the defense community. We expect our readership to take that into account. But, with that in mind, we feel we present a balanced view of the world-at-large.

Can any more be asked?

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