The So-Called Liberal Media

Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rose talk with Bill Moyers about the media culture in Washington.

It’s not about the truth, or even about ideology — it’s about journalists’ desire to maintain their insider status and access to power, so that they can continue to project an elite air of authority. According to Greenwald and Rose, in today’s media culture, you really don’t have to know what you’re talking about, as long as you sound like you do [insert irony here].

More good stuff related to this story on the PBS website.

6 Replies to “The So-Called Liberal Media”

  1. I just watched the first video, but I saw a couple interesting things. Firstly the parallels to Canada in the sense that the imbedded political forces and the media have a mutualistic relationship. We have certainly seen that here. Ideas that do not fit the pathway of the preceding 10 years are held with some scepticism.

    Secondly, I think the idea that pouring public funds at this recession problem has paper thin media support. As soon as things go wrong, it will be open season on “squandered public monies”.

    This second thing is potentially a problem for the LPC. They have to be very careful about how they suggest money should be shovelled at problems.

    Harper could exploit this if the LPC doesn’t work hard to “keep its powder dry”, as the saying goes.

  2. Excellent clips and interesting comments, REd.

    You comment, “… it’s about journalists’ desire to maintain their insider status and access to power, so that they can continue to project an elite air of authority …” It is a comment that could be said to suggest conscious intent on their part, the desire to maintain elite positions of power, of wealth, of relevance within the narrative, etc.

    While such a description validly captures something substantive, that validity doesn’t necessarily extend to capturing causal agency in the ‘media group think’. What strikes me in listening to the clips and the analysis of Greenwald and Rose, is their depiction is that of a largely unconscious ‘paradigmatic lock’ from within which MSM ‘critical’ thinking occurs.

    ‘Paradigmatic Lock’ (my own oxymoron term to suggest something more profound than simple bias) is a function of most of human thinking, in that most thinking operates from within ‘hermetically’ sealed paradigms, or world views, or cultural views.

    What insures this is ‘seal’ is, paradigms create the tests for the measure of validity. Generally we accept as a test for the validity for our thinking, the resonance of those measures we believe in. The measure of the validity of what they think, comes from the paradigm itself.

    Consequently, we can not easily reason our way outta these conceptually imprisoning paradigms, unless we have the ‘belief’ in the paradigmatic nature of thought – itself just another belief system.

    It is an axiom of Kuhn’s depiction of paradigms that change does NOT come from ‘free’ thinking from within them, but from outside, from ‘aberrant’ sources. You might remember in the clips, they talk about the change to this ‘insider’ media monolith having to come from without, from unconventional sources, as well as having to ‘push’ Obama to change, from outside current governing structures … and that the MSM won’t be able to see this force as legitimate.

    Consequently, I think they are correct, that Obama will succeed only to the extent that he can create a revolution, or is swept up in one.


  3. “The internet runs both ways.” I like that summary by Jay Rosen. And it also summarizes my frustration with traditional (corporate) media. What is the use of yelling at our TV sets, for instance? And who among us can write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper without jeopardizing their career or their spouse’s career, and so on. There is very little interactivity. It’s one of my pet peeves about newspapers that their editors can write unsigned editorials (sounding like God’s own word) and yet require their readers to put their name publicly to any opinion they might wish to share. And so what happens? We get to read a lot of crank opinions, is what. I think that if newspapers were truly serious about improving their circulation they might open up that whole process and get a real discourse happening. Of course, it would help if there were a complete spectrum of opinions presented overall, as well. Not just the usual and predicable “stuff” forced upon us all.

    But I suppose all of that would rock the boat and threaten “the narrative.”

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