Monday, December 27, 2004


Click here for AmazonIt is with a general sense of awe -- and perhaps a thimble-full of wistfulness for the good old days -- that we watch the mainstream media continue to self-destruct. The cold, hard proof comes in the form of falling Nielsen ratings for the likes of CBS News, rattlingly low subscription renewal rates for the LA Times, the continued ratings rise of Fox News and talk radio, and the accelerating importance of the blogosphere as a legitimate news outlet.

The latest, most devastating salvos -- all raining down on the MSM in the last few hours --come in the form of:

* Powerline's eviscerating takedown of Thomas Friedman's latest op-ed.

...Friedman... recapitulates, in a sentence or two, ten recent news stories, all of which are intended to reflect badly on the Bush administration; the general theme--reminiscent of leftism of the 60s and 70s--is that there is plenty of money for defense, while social programs are being cut. Friedman concludes:

So what is the common denominator of all these news stories? Wait, wait, don't tell me. I want to tell you. The common denominator is a country with a totally contradictory and messed-up set of priorities.

There is a fundamental problem, however, with Friedman's attempt to show that our national priorities are wrong. The news stories he cites are largely either false, or mischaracterized by him. Let's take them one at a time...

Ed: here Powerline shreds Friedman on nearly every point, highlighting a level of intellectual dishonesty on his part that is as stunning as it is blatant.

...Friedman concludes: "If we were actually having a serious national debate, this is what we would be discussing, but alas, 9/11 has been deftly exploited to choke any debate." Actually, Tom, there is a debate going on. The New York Times just isn't part of it, because it operates at too low a level of information to be useful to knowledgeable news consumers.

* As a bonus, the Palm Tree Pundit effectively slams Friedman for another major oversight.

* The Mudville Gazette torches CNN and the MSM in general for demonstrating egregious bias in Iraqi reporting -- on a daily basis. Read the whole thing.

* In another pointed attack, Tim Blair notes more evidence of Maureen Dowd's disintegrating skillset (part 183 of a long series of MoDo's continuing woes).

* Captain Ed takes Glenn Kessler of the WaPo to task for ignoring one minor detail in European criticism of the US regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians have still not acknowledged Israel's right to exist and appear dedicated to a course of continued terror. That Europe's history of monstrous anti-semitism bears directly on this issue is casually obfuscated by Kessler, as the Captain eloquently points out.

* And Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs rightfully slams the Chicago Tribune for encouraging dhimmitude while willfully ignoring the real threat of jihadists. Don't these people visit MEMRI? Haven't they heard of Robert Spencer?

The term 'out of touch' isn't sufficient. The MSM is unwired and unplugged.

Hugh Hewitt's new book entitled Blog, due out January 15th, will likely paint the new topographic map of the media: with the seismic recast of the balance of power, both East and West coasts are sinking into the sea.

Actually, the Titanic might be a more apt analogy. Blinded and unrealizing, the MSM continues to frantically rearrange deck chairs while their once unsinkable ship has surpassed the maximum number of flooded compartments capable of keeping it afloat. The compartments - CNN, NYT, LAT, CBS, et. al. - must have their seawater pumped out, quickly, if the ship is to survive.

The odds don't look good.

Update: Hugh Hewitt noticed the trend as well and had a good suggestion to boot:

But if they were so inclined, the very first step would be publication on the internet of biographies of every reporter/producer on the news team along with that individual's responses to a series of questions on important issues of the day. Everyone brings baggage to the reporting of the news. Some of us lay that background out for the world to see --most reporters don't. A sure sign of something to hide is the hiding of something, and the unwillingness of MSM to tell us about their staffs is a giveaway that the lack of intellectual diversity in the newsroom is a scandal.

What questions would I like answered? Very simple ones: For whom did the reporter vote for president in the past five elections? Do they attend church regularly and if so, in which denomination?...

It's a great idea and therefore one certain to be ignored by the MSM. But the power of the blogosphere is still capable of dealing with this issue. How about the following?

Let's have the 800 pound gorillas -- Instapundit, Powerline, LGF, etc. -- agree to publish the same survey. The question the survey asks of readers is to identify the MSM's currently most biased "journalist". When we have a weekly winner, the entire blogosphere gets together and orchestrates a "bias bash", highlighting the person and their obvious prejudices.

Journalist by journalist, we can change the MSM ourselves.

p.s., I'll volunteer to run the Hall of Shame blog site, which will list the weekly losers.

Second Update: Instapundit provides a review of Blog and offers his favorite quote from the book:

"Blogs are built on speed and trust, and the MSM is very slow and very distrusted."


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