Tuesday, June 07, 2005


This Is Why I Call It "The GOP/Media Axis"

Yesterday's Daily Howler makes a good point about why today's journalists aren't as likely to fight for the average American as were their predecessors:

...A few months ago, we mentioned the bucks involved in March 2001, when ABC hired Claire Shipman. Right now, you’re trying to remember which one Shipman is, but she’s well paid for her relative anonymity. “ABC will pay Shipman big money—more than $700,000 a year—and plans to make her a big player,” wrote Peter Johnson in USA Today. Admittedly, that’s a TV salary, but Shipman is married to working stiff Jay Carney, who recently helped pimp Ann Coulter for Time. Have Shipman and Carney made the “upper middle class?” If you earn more than $350,000, you’re in the top one percent of earners. As Kurtz knows, the Washington press corps is full of people who have made it well past that top perch. There’s nothing wrong with having a couple of bucks. But as Kurtz’s piece suggests, there is something wrong with having a press corps whose opinion leaders are all millionaires, and that situation now obtains in this country. Among other things, these people are paid for their obedience—for obedience to the High Foppist Values that define the world-view of today’s mainstream press. No one is going to blow such high-paying jobs. And fiery young liberals aren’t going to blow future pay-days by letting themselves get too far out of line. Despite their fiery liberal views, they routinely put their careers ahead of your interests in pursuit of those large career bucks. Kurtz hints at some problems we’ve long discussed. But as we’ve told you, the Washington press corps refuses to tell you the truth about their own conduct and culture. According to Kurtz, “many practitioners” of the scrivener’s art have been “boosted into the upper middle class.” Go ahead, enjoy a loud laugh—at their endless refusal to tell you the truth about their own way of living.
A-yep. And that's not all:
And let’s understand the lay of the land for current journalistic young strivers. If they’re young conservative strivers, they can pursue their futures openly, inside the conservative press corps. But if instead they’re young liberal strivers, they will have to make their way inside the modern mainstream press, with its well-known High Foppist Values. Result? To apply what Slate’s Jack Shafer has said, they can’t discuss what the New York Times and the Washington Post did to Clinton, then to Gore. They just won’t discuss it, and when a fop like Dan Okrent plays cheap-shot with Krugman, they know they have to keep their traps shut—or they run to line up on the side of Great Okrent! Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss! Can’t you hear what these strivers are saying? And does this help you understand why you don’t hear more, even from fiery liberal publications, about a guy like Louis Freeh? Does this help you understand why such topics disappear?
Somerby goes on to explain that these journalists, along with their employers, benefit from Bush's tax code structure, which at the very top is shockingly regressive. And if you're wondering about the Jack Shafer reference, here 'tis from the previous Howler:
CHAIRMAN JACK SPEAKS: As always, we turn to the sayings of Chairman Jack, who explained why some fiery liberals won’t tell the truth about the New York Times’ foppist values. Why would a fiery young liberal play kiss-kiss with Okrent? Chairman Jack seemed to explain:

SHAFER (4/8/05): I started writing press criticism at Washington City Paper back in 1986, because as editor I couldn't get anybody else to do it. Writers were frightened that if they penned something scathing about the Washington Post or the New York Times they'd screw themselves out of a future job.
Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss! When you see Manjoo’s by-line in the Times, just remember his pandering column. Remember how a fiery young liberal reacted when Okrent didn’t get one thing right.

I really don't think of people like Claire Shipman (did I spell that right?!) as part of the "mainstream media" anymore.

I'm not proud, but in this home, "reality-based" bloggers are the mainstream media. Like Revolutionary War pamphleteers, or Cold War samizdat typists.

The networks and newspapers did it to themselves, and have yet to realize fully that they've become irrelevant.

Such excess is so generally despised
That even those who want things
Cannot abide it.

Chapter 24 Dao de Jing
The newspapers once ruled. Then radio and TV came along, and took the newspapers' audience -- but the leading newspapers (namely the NYT and WP) still dictated what was considered "news".

Now the newspapers don't even do that anymore. The lead story on the NYT or WP isn't going to necessarily be the lead on CBS or NBC or FOX.

But with the rise of the 'Net, web-based media's taking a chomp out of TV and even radio. And the biggest sites online are liberal sites.
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