Thursday, December 21, 2006

never the twain shall meet

as you know, i never read the righty-blogs - i consider it a great personal failing, but they never seem to be right about anything. In any case, rich lowry wrote a mia-culpa-ish piece at NRO called "When the Media’s Right" - including:
"The “good news” that conservatives have accused the media of not reporting has generally been pretty weak. The Iraqi elections were indeed major accomplishments. But the opening of schools and hospitals is not particularly newsworthy, at least not compared with American casualties and with sectarian attacks meant to bring Iraq down around everyone’s heads in a full-scale civil war. An old conservative chestnut has it that only four of Iraq’s 18 provinces are beset by violence. True, but those provinces include 40 percent of the population, as well as the capital city, where the battle over the country’s future is being waged.

In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation’s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it."
Randomly, I stumbled across this response by jules crittendon:

Trees = Forest

Rick Lowry at the National Review has a thoughtful column on the limits of media bashing. He makes some very good points regarding some specific cases and criticisms. He is talking about trees, and a couple of thickets. What he misses is the forest. The pervasive underlying assumptions and perspective that taint many Associated Press reports and those in other major newspapers and broadcasts.

Chief among them is the notion that we remain a nation at peace, with a bit of a global crime problem, engaged in elective wars, and the notion that adversarial reporting should proceed full steam ahead regardless of any immediate or potential consequences (google New York Times treason).

Another example is the pervasion disinformation campaign that suggests Saddam Hussein was an manufactured threat, ignoring the actual history, what was believed by every major intelligence agency at the time, the image he was successfully projecting, and the very real consequences of the collapse of sanctions. Another example is the fast and loose use of terms such as "torture," eagerness to amplify any U.S. misdeed, and the unequal standards of coverage applied to matters such as harsh U.S. interrogation techniques, as opposed the relative lack of horror and matter-of-fact coverage of true atrocities committed by Islamic terrorists.
and some comments to that post (again, this is completely random) - comment a):
I've been watching Rich Lowry and NRO for some time.

Speaking as a committed Conservative, I have to tell you that I think that Lowry is sucking up to the MSM. For him, it's a career move. Ever since the guy managed to wrangle a guest host position on Fox Cable's Hannity and Colmes, Lowry has been trying to weenie his career moves into the MSM.

Lowry is an MSM sycophant and a defeatist.

comment b):
I'm in 95% agreement here. The main point of Lowry -- not to assume the MSM is always wrong -- is true, but misses the point. We should be able to EXPECT the mainstream news to be at least reasonably accurate -- and we can't.

If it was only Rather and his "fake but true" old Air National Guard documents, or only the current flap over the AP quoting a probably-fictitious source, it wouldn't be so bad.

But it's worse. Some of the worst parts are the "facts" that everyone is supposed to know now:

a) Saddam Hussein had no WMD (even though he used them against the Kurds 14 years before)
b) Bush lied about WMD (even though that was the consensus opinion of the CIA)
c) Joseph Wilson "spoke truth to power" (even though he actually lied about nearly every aspect of his trip)
d) the Bush administration outed Wilson's wife to get back at him (Turned out to be Richard Armitage indulging in a little gossip)
e) Bush promised to fire anyone who leaked the information about Wilson (though he actually promised to fire someone IF that person broke the law by so doing
f) Bush promised that Iraq and the War on Terror would be easy (though he actually said multiple times it would be a very long conflict)
g) Bush said, "Mission Accomplished" once Saddam's government fell (though it was really a sign on the Kitty Hawk ship, that had accomplished its mission

I could list many more. Worse, we have the attempts to frame stories to lead to the "right" conclusions, like "Star Wars" to make missile defense sound like an absurd idea, "domestic spying" when the spying involved international calls from people associated with Al Quaeda, and of course, welfare reform being described as "mean-spirited" when talked about by Ronald Reagan, but ... not so much when talked about by Bill Clinton.

I've been consuming the news since Reagan, and it hasn't gotten any better.

never the twain shall meet.

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