My 10-year-old son loves history, and is particularly interested in the fall of communism. He loves to get on YouTube and watch videos of the news reports in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell, and the people danced in the streets celebrating the demise of their communist overlords. One of the things I remember as so stunning about those events was how quickly they happened. Regimes who had held iron-fisted control for years suddenly fell like dominoes within weeks, and it became clearer than ever that their subjects had never supported them, and never wanted them there.
I wonder if we are getting close to a fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall type event where the mainstream media are concerned. The MSM’s dishonest and poorly written accounts of recent events has been so abysmal, and so clearly disconnected from the thinking of the rest of the country, you have to wonder if institutions who are also struggling with such antiquated business models can hope to enjoy support from anyone when they most desperately need it.
Could we be looking at a series of collapses, one right after the other, that leaves widespread MSM roadkill – and introduces us to a new world in which the likes of the New York Times, the Associated Press and maybe even some of the networks are simply no more?
Two stories from the Associated Press really caught my attention in this regard in recent days. One came from David Espo, who tried his best to make the case that both parties were equally guilty of exploiting the Gabrielle Giffords shooting for partisan purposes. Espo wrote:
Democrats, Republicans and independent groups across the ideological spectrum are seeking political profit from the shooting rampage in Arizona, often moderating their rhetoric in pursuit of their goals.
Often, but not always.
Two days after the Jan. 8 attack, the conservative Tea Party Express issued a fundraising appeal that said the accused gunman’s actions in the months leading to the shooting were “more consistent with Blame America First Liberals, not the tea party movement.”
Democrats, too, acted quickly to inject politics into the shooting. Within hours of the gunfire, they circulated a posting from Sarah Palin’s 2010 campaign website that showed crosshairs superimposed on Tucson, Ariz., and several other regions of the country, part of her effort to defeat incumbent Democrats who had voted for President Barack Obama’s health care legislation.
Espo’s dishonesty is obvious for anyone who actually followed the events. To give, as his first example, something that happened two days after the shooting is to completely skip the context of why the tea partiers said what they did, which was that they had just spent two days listening to just about everyone in the mainstream media attempting to blame the shooting on them.
The entire story, published a week after the shooting, offered no actual news, and was obviously an attempt simply to spin the story to make the bad behavior look even-handed on both sides. When one side is clearly caught doing something reprehensible, one of the predictable defenses is, “Both sides do it!” In this case, the left doesn’t have to make that defense of itself because the AP does the job for it.
The other AP story came from Richard Alonso-Zaldivar and Jennifer Agiesta, and concerned the AP’s own poll on public opinion concerning ObamaCare. Look how the writers crafted their lead:
As lawmakers shaken by the shooting of a colleague return to the health care debate, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds raw feelings over President Barack Obama’s overhaul have subsided.
Raw feelings? What is that supposed to mean? Clearly, the writers believe that opposition to ObamaCare is both emotional and the result of some sort of still-raw wound. They treat the public like angry injury victims who just need time to calm down and realize that the medicine they’re being given is good for them, and they should take it.
Combing this with any number of other recent media abominations, such as:
The New York Times’ series of recent editorials attempting to blame right-wing extremists for the Giffords shooting, even going so far as to misrepresent President Obama himself as a supporter of their crusade, when in fact, he admonished it.
The widespread attempt of the media to make an issue of Sarah Palin using the phrase “blood libel,” when James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal easily demonstrated that many of these same people have used the phrase liberally for years, and never thought anything was wrong with it until it passed through Sarah Palin’s lips.
The recent polls showing that the public is not buying any of this, and in fact, clearly sees that the media was attempting to exploit the tragedy to score partisan points for the side it favors.
As Jonah Goldberg pointed out so brilliantly in the New York Post over the weekend, for all their talk about how a “national conversation” had begun on the subject of political civility, the fact was that the media were merely having this conversation with themselves. No one was joining them, because the whole thing was a sham from the beginning and everyone could see that.
The public’s growing awareness of the media’s dishonesty couldn’t come at a worse time for these dinosaur institutions. Many of them are bleeding cash, closing news bureaus and laying off reporters left and right while they continue to maintain operations that reflect the news realities of 40 years ago, not today. It wasn’t long ago that many newspapers bought shiny new printing presses, convinced that clearer, crisper color in their front-page photos would save them. Today, they are shutting down these presses even as they continue to make payments on them. They continue to run delivery trucks and pay drivers, even as people get their news online long before the trucks ever arrive with their already-outdated news.
Attempts to replace breaking news coverage with “analysis” results in the sort of BS pumped out by the reporters referenced above.
National Public Radio is in real danger of losing its federal funding, because no one is intimidated this time by the Big Bird arguments, and no one seriously believes that a nation awash in so much information 24/7 needs a publicly funded source of liberal propaganda.
When other big media get to the point where their business models can no longer keep them afloat, who is going to support saving them? The public at large doesn’t care if the New York Times disappears, nor does it care if the CBS can no longer bankroll Katie Couric’s monstrous salary for reading 30 minutes of headlines on the CBS Evening News. We already know what’s happened that day by the time she gives us her sneering liberal spin on it, and we don’t care what she thinks about it anyway.
The MSM has shown itself in the past week, like never before, to be essentially at war with the public. At least in an information sense, the MSM continues to push its spin and narrative, even as the public rejects it. As its readership, viewership and listenership continues to drop as a result, the MSM seems only that much more determined to push on in this direction, convinced that its essential function as the clarion of “truth” in modern America is that much more essential.
That kind of delusion can lead to spectacular collapse, as they continue to talk so long and loud that they’ve completely lost sight of the fact that no one is listening, and no one is buying.
If the walls of information suddenly come tumbling down, the result will probably not be dancing in the streets by the public. Rather, it will be shrugs brought on by the reports – often from new media at which the MSM has long scoffed – that they had still been around at all.
Even so, it would be a most welcome collapse all the same, and one for which the nation would undoubtedly be better off.