Saturday, September 13, 2008

Media's end

Is there any way to keep up with the jaw-dropping mix of bias, arrogance, adulterated junk food, and obtuse stupidity that the American news media has on display for us this election year? Bloggers, talk-show hosts, and others who are about to replace the American news industry struggle to come up with the words that will, in effect, form its epitaph.

The recent flap over Sarah Palin's ABC interview with Charles Gibson has even sympathetic media observers agog. Just pick a random blog in the blogroll to the right and look. Start with Mary Madigan comparing the raw and doctored interviews, and finish up with this classic Simpsons clip (requires WMP 11 or IE7). Like the indispensable Onion, only parody can now do justice to the schlock, "advocacy," and strutting, vicious pretense -- both cutthroat and petty -- that make up so much of our so-called "news."

The core problem here is that Palin, limited as her political experience is, is smart, as well as direct and plain-spoken. Her mere existence highlights the phoniness of liberal and "progressive" politics. Her limited but real accomplishments in Alaska underscore, every time those intolerable boobs on MSNBC open their mouths, the empty hype and puffery of the Obama campaign.

So media-land is in a tizzy. I don't take polls that seriously, but one poll and survey after another in the last decade has indicated that a large swath of the voting public knows what they're seeing and reading and are willing to say so. Some of these polls indicate that even a majority of self-described liberals now admit that the media is biased junk. And there's no mystery as to the nature of that bias.

In all likelihood, this election cycle will be the last in which the conventional news media has a dominant role in "reporting" and shaping the outcome. The media's credibility and prestige have been eroding for 25 or more years. But few foresaw the stunning speed of collapse we're now watching.

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