February 15, 2006

Archives in the Blogosphere

Bill O'Reilly has some interesting things to say. It is a triumverate dialogue, between Buzzmachine, Jay Rosen, and O'Reilly. Or maybe a crippled leg joining two healthy ones.

Buzz's piece is the one I agree with. Jay Rosen's piece is not spot on, I cannot say so. While it comes closer to the truth than the common perception, it has many many different flaws.

"Suppose—to move to another front—the New York Times reviewed his latest, chart-topping book, Who’s Looking Out for You? If the Times is true to itself, the review would almost certainly be negative, and O’Reilly could scream liberal bias. “But somehow the Times has not gotten around to reviewing any of my books, while tomes by the liberal ‘satirists’ are given major exposure,” he writes. Which is another example of liberal bias. Either way he gets the W."

I think all propaganda that is based upon the truth, has that kind of axiomatic result. The terroists use it quite effectively. If you invade us and kill Muslims, you justify being killed for revenge. If you don't invade us and kill Muslims, you make yourself weak and therefore justify our execution of you.

Catch-22 as they say. A reality that you cannot break away from, except to unmake and mold that reality.

"
On the whole, we don’t have political anchormen and women, if we mean by “political” the understanding of yourself as an actor engaged in the general struggle for what’s just, what’s fair, and in “our” interests as a society. Take four figures for comparison. Dan Rather (CBS), Peter Jennings (ABC), Tom Brokaw (NBC) and Jim Lehrer (PBS) have all been on the best seller list, and they have a kind of cultural weight extending beyond their broadcasts— like O’Reilly does. Let’s call it power. But what have the anchorman with their cultural power tried to say? Can anyone paraphrase the arguments in their books?

Each one is a consummate and intelligent broadcast pro, with that elusive television thing, a gravitas that filters through the dots, combined with a lighter and more fluid on-air command, which becomes grace under pressure in emergencies. But which one of them ever employed these gifts upon a career in social commentary? Which of our anchorman even tried to cut a political figure? They simply couldn’t within the press think of the era when they were crowned. O’Reilly has done that, cut a political figure, and he’s the public face of Fox News Channel, just as Jennings is the face of ABC News and Lehrer the embodiment of PBS."

Rosen is forgetting cBS anchor Dan Rather. Or given the red highlights, maybe he did remember them, but thinks it doesn't matter. Fake but accurate. It is untrue that these anchors like Jennings have not tried to cut a political figure. The thing is, they were already political figures, but they tried to deceive the American people into believing otherwise. Some were more successful than others.

But the picture of things pre-Oreilly definitely is being mismanaged.

Cronkite cut a political figure, Rather cut a political figure. The decision not to be a part of something is still a decision. Things are not so much different in the latter day than they are in today's world, the internet just makes things too obvious and glaring for age old arrogance to cover up.

Rosen's point is self-contradicting even. If Bill O'Reilly is spontaneous and down to the heart, then he is not using counter-spin or planning how to ramp up the anger and the resentment. Those who feel the same emotions as their audience cannot manipulate their audience without also manipulating their own emotions. That is why Dan Rather's spew of journalism was more harmful by all accounts. You cannot manipulate a target audience without an "objective standard" to fall back on personally.

"Network journalism had long ago decided it didn’t need that kind of tension—anchormen who join the national argument—and so it promoted to the top spot only masters of the “cooler” style, which became the standard."

Jay Rosen is good at leaving out crucial details that create a better context for the facts. For his purported intentions to get a more complex truth than the typical Left vs Right Wing media bias story, he is curiously lacking in perceptibility in some ways.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but regardless of how he frames the issues in a new paragon, things have not really changed all that much.

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