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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wed. 04/28/04 08:36:30 PM

"I Don't Accept That"

Neither do I, Mr. President.

Thanks to Margaret for calling my attention to this interesting piece by Jay Rosen at Press Think, Apr. 25 (quoted ellipsis in original):

.... Auletta was the right choice, anyway. Others have done the complaining. He's done the reporting on the subject, pushing further into the mind of the White House than anyone else. To me, and to most journalists, this gives him unique authority to speak. A good radio show is about that. Auletta, for example, can describe Bush at a barbeque for the press in August, where a reporter says to the president: is it really true you don't read us, don't even watch the news? Bush confirms it.
And the reporter then said: Well, how do you then know, Mr. President, what the public is thinking? And Bush, without missing a beat said: You're making a powerful assumption, young man. You're assuming that you represent the public. I don't accept that.
Which is a powerful statement. And if Bush believes it (a possibility not to be dismissed) then we must credit the president with an original idea, or the germ of one. Bush's people have developed it into a thesis, which they explained to Auletta, who told it to co-host Brooke Gladstone:
That's his attitude. And when you ask the Bush people to explain that attitude, what they say is: We don't accept that you have a check and balance function. We think that you are in the game of "Gotcha." Oh, you're interested in headlines, and you're interested in conflict. You're not interested in having a serious discussion... and exploring things.
Further data point: The Bush Thesis. If Auletta's reporting is on, then Bush and his advisors have their own press think, which they are trying out as policy. Reporters do not represent the interests of a broader public. They aren't a pipeline to the people, because people see through the game of Gotcha. The press has forfeited, if it ever had, its quasi-official role in the checks and balances of government. Here the Bush Thesis is bold. It says: there is no such role — official or otherwise....

Let's talk straight, Faithful Reader. Journalism is politics by another name. The idea that "the press" represents "the people" is, and always was, smoke & mirrors. The press isn't objective; the press was never objective. The press, in its various manifestations, represents only those people who happen to agree with it.

And you know what? That's fine. Honestly.

The real problem has been two-fold: (1) as the 20th century progressed, mainstream media started to pretend that its various organs (newspapers, TV, news wires, et al.) were objective conveyors of news, when they were (and still are) partisan filters of news; (2) mainstream media — the media that most readily reaches the mass of the people — became almost wholly dominated by liberal/leftist partisans.

That's why it's been so important that conservative media have sprung up over the past 15 years or so: talk radio, FNC, WaTi, WND, etc. Are they partisan filters of news? Sure. But they provide — and, because they do so, it's become almost a by-word of derision in mainstream media — they provide balance. If you follow a story in mainstream media and in conservative media, you'd often be tempted to think they're covering two different stories, the facts presented are so different and their presentation so different.

That's how it's ought to be in a free society.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/28/04 08:36:30 PM
Categorized as Media & Most Notable.


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