Tuesday, January 13, 2009

media death and the importance of blogging

Was pointed by Atrios to this article by Jay Rosen about the way the mass media frames the boundaries of consensus and "legitimate debate". It's pretty good. I won't repeat what he says since you can just click through. But basically it's about the cognitive shortcomings of the press when they decide certain issues are part of the "consensus" mindset while other opinions are "extremist". This model explains how Howard Dean is portrayed as a lunatic extremist in 2004 for putting forth the same ideas about withdrawal from Iraq that are part of the national consensus (outside the corridors of power, of course) by 2008.

I also heard last night that the Christian Science Monitor is going to stop killing as many trees, and only go with a print edition once per week. My mom subscribed to this paper when I was a kid, and I always thought it did a decent job. They seemed to do a better job with foreign policy than almost every major newspaper did. While listening to the story of their demise, it occurred to me that the death of the daily newspaper is inevitable. I'm sure this is not a new idea, but it had never been made so clear to me.

Finally, I'll add a note about Mickey Edwards. I heard him on NPR last night and I was impressed. He's a Republican and former Bush supporter who, curiously, is one of the few people who is willing to talk about the constant and egregious violations of the law and Constitution that Bush has engaged in over the past 8 years. For some reason, the world of debate that the media has created simply refuses to allow for the idea that Bush has been consistently violating the law and abusing power for the past 8 years. From my standpoint, it's the most obvious thing to see, but the media don't even allow discussion along these lines to ever be aired.

And that is part of why the mainstream media are held in such contempt by so many people these days.

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