Thursday, October 07, 2004

Legacy media

Two good posts up at Old Patriot's Pen and JunkYard Blog. Both take a look at Jay Rosen's essay "Political Jihad and the American Blog."

I do have one bone to pick with Rosen. In sucking up to bloggers, he goes to great pains to slap down those conservative who criticize the liberal bias of the MSM.

They want to achieve an historic victory in a very long war between conservatives and the likes of CBS, going back to 1969 and Spiro Agnew, or even further to 1964, when Barry Goldwater met the hostility of Northeastern journalists. (For this background go here.) They want to inflict as much damage as possible on an institution they treat as hostile to Republican Truth, and to the message of the cultural right.

And accuses them of being Orwellian propagandists:
Bloggers "who care about facts and ideas," and there are many of those, should be wary of the Orwellians on their own side, who are themselves engaged in propaganda-- the charge they are most likely to hurl at others.

Way back when the war on bias started (even before 1964) Wm. F. Buckley remarked that when liberals write about conservatives they don't debate them, they diagnose them. Conservatism (as opposed to a love of Stalin or Mao) was a mental illness, not a legitimate set of political/cultural beliefs. That attitude is still far too common although it has been supplemented by the "conservatives are greedy/corrupt" formulation (mental illness having become somewhat trendy, the first charge had lost some of its sting.) Yet Rosen and Satullo want us to ignore this bias as though it is trivial.

They also illustrate how denial fits into the legacy media's survival strategy. If they remain biased long enough they eventually get to throw up their hands and declare "The bias discourse has descended into meaninglessness."

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