Thursday, January 12, 2012

News Or Stenography

I guess some questions would seem jaw dropping in another era of media, but the NYT actually asks Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?. I wonder if the name Judith Miller has dropped out of institutional memory? I wonder if the appellation, paper of record, has any meaning?

There are some things that take awhile to dig out, especially if they've just suddenly popped up. Most political issues aren't in the least like that, particularly with the GOP. Any reporter that is anything more than a stenographer knows about most of the GOP hobby-horses and from a simple understanding ought to know what can be quickly analysed and what is going to take some time. Some things have been around long enough that if the reporter gave a rat's patoot about facts they'd already have gone over that ground and there would be an institutional archive.

Mitt Romney is scarcely a new phenomenon and neither is his bragging about Bain Capitol. If something like Bain Capitol has not already been researched by the NYT you'd have reason to question their competence and if it is already there, for it to not appear in direct juxtaposition to a candidate's claims is a source of question. That would be any candidate's claims regarding Bain. If a politician is going to make claims about "death panels" on whatever side they shouldn't be able to do it without any question by someone who purports to provide news.

There is a very serious difference between being partisan and being objective and there is also a very real difference between objective and being a stenographer. That a politician has something to say is not news, the content my be news. It is immaterial to buy the NYT (or other) to find out what any campaign will be happy to provide - a transcript or their talking points around it. What is meant and its relationship to facts is what actually counts and it is exactly what is not provided.

I'm happy to say that in my contacts with local papers of whatever stripe their questions almost always were directed at illumination rather than obfuscation - the sole offender in that regard was The Oregonian, which also purports to be a "paper of record." I'd see it as hopeful that the NYT asks the question, but I find it too distressing that they'd be in a position to find it necessary. I guess that's the result of a generation's worth of screaming "LIBERAL MEDIA !!!"

3 comments:

SEB said...

Wonderful analysis of most reporting.
Are reporters too lazy to dig or is it newspaper policy? The same goes for TV news!

Chuck Butcher said...

Owned by whom and scared spitless of a 4PM call from some insulted big buck winger.

Liberal Media!!!!

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