Tuesday, January 31, 2006


There's been an ongoing discussion for awhile now as to what is wrong with the MSM and what effect Blogs have on them. Peter Daou has done a very good job of pointing out the Pro-Bush Media Bias which exists, much to the consternation of many on the right who simply cannot give up their whipping boy straw-man of the so-called Liberal Media. Of course, that has only brought out the Liberal Bias charge against Daou. Naturally, his critics do nothing to refute his theory; they simply bloviate against him.

In the meantime, the Washington Post has turned off its comments section in its Political Blog because the ombudsman, the person who is supposed to keep the paper honest, felt she was getting "Hate" mail when she basically parrotted Rightwing talking points without so much as a how do you do. For the ombudsman to stop responding to readers is, to say the least, surprising, as it is the ombudsman's function to respond to readers.

And on the Today Show, Katie Couric got into the act, repeating rightwing lies. When Howard Dean called her on it, she mad some snotty comment about checking the facts. Nevermind she had her facts wrong and then went to the troubel of having Tim Russert pretty much give truthiness to the lie the next day, but how come she has never done the same to the rightwing talking heads they bring on the show? Bill O'Reilly comes on and lies out his ass about the War on Christmas, but I don't see Katie Couric or Matt Lauer doing a follow-up where they show that O'Reilly lied out his ass. No, that gets let go.

Which brings me to my question - Do Blogs push the MSM to the Right? We already know that the MSM is run by conglomerates who trend towards the Right - witness Sumner Redstone's infamous comment before the last election that while he felt the Democratic position was the one he should take as an individual, he would vote Republican for the good of Viacom (more on how wront that concept is another time) - but reporters supposedly trend toward the left. Now, if that's true, even with pressure coming down from on high, you would think they would find some way to insert their leanings into their stories. So why don't they? In fact, why do they seem to actually trend right in their stories? Part of the reason is blogging.

One consequence of the Blog phenomena is that Blogs help to push the MSM to the right. On the left blogosphere, you have a conversation, a fact-checking, no-holds-barred discussion of a topic. You have multiple voices and views, all going over every piece of data and stringing together all the evidence, looking for sloppiness and laziness in reporting and a search for truth (factual, real truth as opposed to what I want to believe truth). Reporters don't like that. Most reporters particularly those who have a following after a time, don't want to work too hard for the truth. And the lefty blogosphere tries to make them work. They resent actually having to do that work. They resnt being told they're wrong. They resent that theeir pronouncements aren't just accepted at face value. They resent having to prove again and again that they actually do know how to do their job - and given the accuracy of their reporting on most issues that last is suspect. That's why Katie Couric doesn't go after O'Reilly. That's why the WP ombudsman freaks when she's called out for being wrong. But that doesn't explain why they go after the left.

And that's where the rightwing noise machine comes in. Their good at staying on message and shoving that message down your throat as if it were in fact fact. Most of the time, it's not, but if they shout it out loud enough and often enough, they get reporters to listen, to the point where those lazy reporters make it their main headline and don't worry about checking to see if they are being told the truth. Rightwing blogs, unlike fact-based blogs, are simply a part of the top-down noise machine. They are nothing more than the mouthpieces for the official partyline story.

So it all comes down to the most basic of human concepts: laziness and resentment. The rightwing blogs win because as its been said time and time again, they have one message, one story, and reporters don't really want to have to dig for the story. Hand it to them on a platter, and they're fat and happy.

And the left loses, not because they are wrong, but because they are correct. Because the facts actually do say what they are saying. Because the truth really is what the lefty bloggers are blogging, and all those pundits and reporters who have their sweet TV deals and their seven column inches in the big papers resent being shown up by a bunch of amateurs who care more for the truth and the facts than an easy-to-digest story.

So, yes, I believe that Blogging now does actually push the MSM to the right right now as their response is reactionary, and responses which are reactionary are by their very nature from the right. The thing with any new phenomenon which threatens the livelihood and comfort of an entrenched class is that the entrenched class will fight back, using their already existing base to try to destroy the revolutionary phenomenon. Right now, the MSM is fighting back against Blogs, mostly on the left because the left is more open and is not just another message machine. They fight us by ignoring what we say, by ridiculing it, by outright lying about it. But in the end, we'll win because we're in the right and even they know it.


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