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February 07, 2005

Shut Up, They Explained

Via Instapundit, the MSM and its Arts and Crafts Auxilliaries in the academy (to use a Pat Buchanan laugh-line) are pretty angry about being challenged by lowly bloggers, and they're fighting back:

....Newcomer, a Microsoft programming teacher who has studied typesetting for decades, suspected the hubbub was about his recent assertions that CBS's 1972-73 memos on President Bush's National Guard service were fakes.

Sure enough, "Blog-Gate," by Corey Pein, a CJR assistant editor, said Newcomer was a "self-proclaimed" expert whose resume "seemed" impressive. His conclusions were "bold bordering on hyperbolic." Newcomer's font analysis, posted on his Web site, www.flounder. com., was "long and technical, discouraging close examination."

Then, without asking Newcomer for help on those long, technical parts, Pein concluded that Newcomer's ability to replicate the CBS memos with Microsoft Word (not available in 1972) proved nothing. Blogs had not been instrumental in exposing CBS and, through it all, "liberals and their fellow travelers were outed like witches in Salem, while Bush's defenders forged ahead, their affinities and possible motives largely unexamined."

Newcomer, who voted for Sen. John Kerry in November, was baffled. When I spoke with him recently, he told me that The New Yorker once called his wife, a botanical illustration expert, to ask whether a certain plant could grow in a certain area, because a fiction writer had mentioned it in a piece. That was fact-checking. CJR "did not do any fact-checking," he says.

...

Criticism of CJR and the "MSM" (mainstream media) for leftward bias is nothing new. "If you polled our office -- I'm sure most news organizations -- you'll find more Democrats than Republicans," Pein says. Many of CJR's employees and contributors, for instance, have worked and/or written for left-leaning magazines or causes (see sidebar).

But look a little deeper and you start to wonder if, perhaps, CJR's decision to attack blogs wasn't just a knee-jerk liberal defense of Bush critics but jealousy. The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that blog readership rose 58 percent in 2004. Editor & Publisher reported in May 2004 that veteran newsman Eugene Roberts was leading a consortium to shore up the CJR's (and the American Journalism Review's) weakening finances and readership.

Blogs these days are holding the MSM's feet to the fire, forcing newspapers and TV news shows to reflect the country's politics more accurately. CJR, "America's Premier Media Monitor," on the other hand, has been nudging the media leftward for four decades. Now it has to compete -- and it's not happy about it at all.

"They are, to some extent, just another blog, except they have the brand," says Graham.

...

"We still don't know what blogging is going to do to journalism over all," says Phil Meyer, professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, "but it's certainly upsetting it."

Upsetting them is good enough for now.

Commenting on the Jordangate post below, Shannon Love of the ChicagoBoyz site noted:

Major media, as collective brand, depends on an industry consensus view for each story to protect the value of the brands. People trust a major media sources because none of the other major media ever questions them. Until recently, all the major media all told the same story. It creates the illusion of an omniscient industry.

When major media questions major media then it shatters the illusion. Consumers don't know which version to trust. The major media, as an industry wide brand, loses values.

They have a intense interest in not questioning each other to closely.

And defending each other to the hilt, too. The illusion of objectivity is maintained by them all saying about the same thing about the same topics. When discordant voices sound off, it breaks that illusion, and suggests that perhaps there isn't merely one "objective" way to cover the news.


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posted by Ace at 02:25 PM

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