Thursday, December 28, 2006

Press Bias, or Merely Press Incompetence?

Instapundit quotes from, and links to, an interesting post about the "grim milestones" the press keeps dredging up in order to add some spice to its coverage of the Global War on Terror:

"Did anyone ever think to criticize World War II after the 2.303 'grim milestone' was reached (the number of people killed at Pearl Harbor)? Obviously not; back then people had the moral compass in place. Just think that as the war ended, they would have been able to count that 'grim milestone' a staggering 182 times, since in WW2 about 420,000 (American?) people died, 407,000 of them military."

Maybe the press isn't biased against this President or the War on Terror. Maybe they're just not that good at what they're supposed to do, and keep recycling the same worn phrases and stories (quagmire?) because that's all they're capable of. Neither option speaks very well of the Fourth Estate, which has become a fifth column.


Anonymous said...

The author was a professor of political science at UCLA.

Darren said...

Excellent article.

allen said...

It's just the Disneyfication of politics.

There's the illusion of courage without the attendant danger. The same as the illusion of danger on the run away mine car ride versus being on a real run away mine car. You get the adrenalin rush in the former without the danger of the bone-shattering impact of the latter. Similarly, you get the adrenalin rush of courage, hence all the blather of "talking truth to power" and "manning the barricades" without the resulting reaction of an authoritarian regime. No one goes off to gulags or extermination camps, no one gets crushed by tanks. There's no knock on the door in the middle of the night.

News people can get a similar, cheap adrenalin rush. They can abet the popular Disneyfication of politics by both lionizing it and participating in it.

They can become conduits for enemy propaganda, as a means of displaying their courage and independence, secure in the knowledge that they're unlikely to suffer any legal, or even illegal, persecution. They can search out the inevitable excesses of war and portray them as policy and however vicious the slander, however dishonest the representation, they'll suffer no repercussions, personal or professional.

As the facilitators of Disneyfication though the media professionals have a selfish interest in the process. It's a clear career path since there's a noisy, uncritical constituency for their work and, of course, they get to participate in the Disneyfication in their personal capacity.

If service personnel are made to feel like dirt, and treated the same way, well, every war has casualties and the Disneyfication of politics is one front in the cultural war between the permanent adolescents first glorified, and self-glorified, by the Baby Boomers and the preceding generations for whom life wasn't an amusement park ride.

It's that cultural war that requires that the sacrifices of service personnel be demeaned and denigrated. Otherwise the contrast between the sacrifices of the culture warriors which consists of flying couch rather then first class on the way to an anti-war, an anti-capitalist, anti-anti-environmentalist extravaganzas on dad's Visa and the sacrifices of service personnel, which consists of dying, might necessitate explanation.

It really works out for everyone. Well, everyone that matters.