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Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon Valley-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry and political bile.

btman at grotto11 dot com

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Tal G in Jerusalem
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Friday, August 6, 2004
20:15 - The fourth branch of government, the fifty-first state
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12032_Journalism_Isnt_Dead_It_Just_Sme

(top) link
Something's happening in journalism. Something big.

I can imagine what it must be like to be one of these journalists present at this conference, can't you? You've got your laptop and your notepad, you're sitting in what's become the position of power in the press room, where you get to ask whatever questions you choose, no matter how irrelevant or loaded. You've got this specter called "Journalistic Integrity" hovering around at the edge of your consciousness like an unwelcome chaperoneóbut as you ask your questions, and as Bush does his best to fend them off, first you clear your throat pointedly, and nobdy elbows you in the ribs... so the next time, you try a little snort, and you hear someone else giggle at the other side of the room. Then you chortle. No pangs of remorse, no glowering stare from the spectral Murrow-shaped schoolmarm... so now you laugh out loud! And you boo! And you cackle! And the whole room joins in!

What's running through your head now? That journalists are the rightful holders of real political power in this country. You've even got a rationale for it: the market selects media organs that suit its demands for news coverage and appropriate slant toward an agenda. Viewpoints that are unpopular don't get the ratings, and eventually a consensus is reached. Why, it's democracy! And you sit excitedly in your chair, tapping away gleefully on your laptop, and you envision the day when the Press Corps will rise as one, march toward the front of the room, drag the President out of his chair, and throw da bum out! All on live national TV! This is politics, Information Age style!

At least, that's what it's got to look like from within the heads of those who consign their mascots of integrity and impartiality and respect to the sidelines as they become seemingly less and less relevant, as there are fewer and fewer repercussions for straying into outright partisanship. The draw of power is all too real, and all that stands in the way of someone grabbing for it is that person's value system; when that value system evaporates, escalation becomes exponential. It's the same mechanism by which starry-eyed college kids, hoping to impress the cute blonde at the study session, end up waving BUSH=HITLER signs and torching Jewish cemeteries. It all seems so innocent, it all seems to be the right "progressive" thing to do... surely someone would have cried "Halt!" if we'd taken a wrong turn anywhere, right?

But from outside the bubble, it looks more like a train wreck... and to see a roomful of journalists boo and laugh mockingly at the President as he stumbles over meaningless questions from left field like "what tribal sovereignty means for Native American tribes in the 21st century" isn't just bizarre, it's profoundly insulting to our sense of what politics should be.

Journalism thinks it's on the verge of becoming our nation's designated kingmaking body. But it might just find that it's become our nation's pariah, marginalized and scorned and afforded as much deference and respect as fortune-tellers.

Meanwhile, while googling for Bush quotes, I found this. I'd thought it would be a derisive collection of malapropisms... but damn, these are funny.

I needed that.


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