Friday, August 19, 2005


Brother Smitty got an e-mail from his conservative cousin -- one of those "here's a good news story you won't hear about in the mainstream media" messages.

The e-mail had a link.

The click-thru took you to The Washington Post.

Knight-Ridder -- one of those damned mainstream media chains -- has a smart piece on media criticism. Exploding from both ends like a virulent case of food poisoning, the criticism shows the media are screwed, no matter what they do:
Military mom Cindy Sheehan, who got extensive media coverage for her anti-war protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch this month, voiced the view from the left in a conference call with supporters Aug. 10.

"Thank God for the Internet or we wouldn't know anything and we would already be a fascist state," she said. "The mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government."

That's not the view from the right.

"If you believe the liberal media's reporting on the American military effort in Iraq, you're almost forced to be ashamed of America," the Media Research Center, a conservative media-watchdog group, said in a recent message to potential donors.

Both sides are happy to toss acid on the foundations of the media. Each camp's corrosive actions spur their enemies into doing more of the same.

Who suffers? People who care about news, and who are smart enough to realize that without the MSM, we're clueless. We won't have watchdogs like the Springfield News-Leader going through records that reveal perks for lawmakers. We won't have reporters willing to ask tough questions of both sides; we'll have harpies shouting questions to their ideological enemies and gushing much love to their allies.

Cindy Sheehan thinks the media peddle propaganda? She ought to imagine a media world led by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, mouthing talking points issued by the White House. She'll pine for the days of the networks.

Conservatives think the mainstream media are liberal? Did they sleep through 1998, when the MSM spent the better part of a year doing daily updates on Bill Clinton's blowjob escapades?

Partisans from both sides like to evoke Harry Truman, the dead president from Missouri who relished his "give-'em-hell" image. The news media are today's Trumans, giving hell to both sides when needed. The Left and Right partisans sure as hell don't like it.


Anonymous said...

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that average citizen doesn't distinguish between news and entertainment/talk/opinion in the MSM. Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Rieley are all viewed as "news" programs, as is Entertainment Tonight and programs like it.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the local MSM, I say amen. Keep up the good work, Ron.