Monday, December 10, 2012

The wilfull ignorance of the mainstream media

When last we saw long time DC wise men Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, they were being blackballed by the bobblehead circuit for their book blasting the establishment media's addiction to false equivalency. Now Dan Froomkin brings them back to discuss how our media elites missed the single biggest story of the race: "Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth. ...It also exposed how fabulists and liars can exploit the elite media's fear of being seen as taking sides."
"If voters are going to be able to hold accountable political figures, they've got to know what's going on," Ornstein said. "And if the story that you're telling repeatedly is that they're all to blame -- they're all equally to blame -- then you're really doing a disservice to voters, and not doing what journalism is supposed to do."
And at the root of this journalistic negligence are the billionaires who fund disinfo campaigns designed specifically to normalize a false view of reality. One in particular stands out for me.
Most reporters, however -- including many widely admired for their intelligence and aggressive reporting -- simply refused to blame one side more than the other. Mann said he was struck in conversations with journalists by how influenced they were by the heavily funded movement to promote a bipartisan consensus around deficit reduction and austerity. Such a bipartisan consensus doesn't actually exist, Mann pointed out. But if you believe it does, than you can blame both parties for failing to reach it.

"The Peterson world, I think, has given journalists the material to keep doing what they're doing," Mann said of the vast network of think tanks and other influential Washington groups underwritten at least in part by Wall Street billionaire Peter Peterson.
Several years ago, when Peterson first launched his "starve granny" campaign I was inexplicably invited on a conference call where he was introducing it to the public. I wasn't planning to talk but no one else asked any questions and his agenda was immediately obvious. So I jumped in and had a rather longish and somewhat testy convo with Mr. Peterson himself. I was polite about it, but couldn't help but challenge some of the more blatant false premises in his presentation.

Surprisingly, I was never invited on another tele-conference after that.

Anyway, do read Dan's whole post. Lord knows the media elites won't. It tells them how to fix a problem they're not interested in solving as long they continue to draw six figure (and better) salaries for pretending it doesn't exist.

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