Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Journalism" At Its Best

This is what passes for reporting these days. Here is an excerpt from a story in the NYT about Obama's planned speech to Wall Street.
The president and his allies have eagerly portrayed Republicans as handmaidens of Wall Street, while the Republicans have accused Democrats of trying to strangle the financial markets and even institutionalize the idea of bailouts in tough times.
One of these statements is true; the Republicans are taking millions from Wall Street in exchange voting as Wall Street instructs. 
But the second is demonstrably false. The NYT, of course, could not make that claim itself, because it knows it is false. So instead, it mindlessly prints that "the Republicans have accused", and then never once bothers to find out whether the Republican accusation is  false. 
I honestly believe that if the Republicans claimed that the moon was made of cheese, the New York Times would simply repeat that claim, and if the Democrats disagreed, they would note the disagreement and move on.
I understand that it is sometimes impossible, due to space limitations, to fully analyze every lie that Republicans make. But if you can't at least note that it's not true, and then link to an analysis of why it isn't, then just don't print the lie in the first place. 
It is a well known fact that when people read these lies, it is very difficult to ever get them to rally believe the truth, That's the way the human mind works. You can show them all the evidence you want further down the road; it won't matter. 
But this is the sorry state of mainstream "journalism" today. It's not about finding out the truth; it's about simply repeating whatever people in power say. Instead of being an adversary of entrenched power, mainstream journalism aids and abets it.

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