Monday, July 17, 2006

The Death Of Consensus

Posted by codemorse

From Media Matters:


On the July 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, as American Prospect's Greg Sargent noted on July 3, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a January 2 Washington Post article -- headlined "Right on the Water, The Only Retreat for Cheney and Rumsfeld: St. Michaels" -- published a nearly identical photograph of Rumsfeld's vacation home on the front page of the paper's Style section....

Moreover, media outlets have previously reported that Rumsfeld and Cheney have homes in St. Michaels. First
noted by blogger Glenn Greenwald, "news outlets such as NewsMax and Fox and others had previously disclosed this same information months earlier," and "this information is commonly reported about government leaders in both parties." As noted above, The Washington Post previously published a photograph of the exterior of Rumsfeld's house for a January 2 article similarly noting that both Cheney and Rumsfeld have homes in St. Michaels. The Post's photograph of Rumsfeld's residence appears nearly identical to the photograph published by the Times.

Do you mean to tell me that Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham were being disingenuous?

Oh, my stars and garters! Say it ain't so, Joe!

The big story here is the attempted slander of any media outlet that threatens to speak to both parties. The NY Times famously supported the war in Iraq, but they aren't a publicity outlet for the Republican party, so subsequent critical stories have resulted in a full-scale assault on the integrity of one of America's remaining journalistic institutions.

Is the Times always "right" (not "Right")? Of course not. They screw up (see: Supporting the Iraq war) and they're subject to the same scandal and impropriety as any other corporation or big business. But that doesn't mean that they've become useless, as Michelle Malkin, O'Reilly, The Nameless One, and many many maaaaaaany other conservative pundits would have you believe.

You can call it paranoid thinking if you want, but I tend to see this sort of baseless and hypocritical behavior as symptomatic of a larger, consciously-motivated goal: to eliminate the credibility of news outlets that are not beholden to your side of the story. Why suffer the fourth estate when modern technology enables you to create an echo-chamber of people who already agree with your opinions and have no desire for "fact," preferring instead the warmly numbing false comfort of empty rhetoric? Before anyone starts yelling about how the dems are guilty of the same thing - let me go ahead and preemptively agree with you.

Bill O'Reilly feels free to attack the Times in this sort of manner because he knows that most of his viewers a) probably don't read the Times, and b) are already inclined to believe him over the "factanistas."

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