Skip to comments.The Right to Know
Posted on 05/12/2008 5:31:32 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
click here to read article
this is very good! I copied it and made it one of my notes on Facebook!
BTW, Race, if you are pasting the article into your own page, I’d suggest a short rewrite at the end to incorporate my reply #30, which is a little more definitive about the transformation of the word “liberal.” It at least pins the time of the transformation of the word down to a decade based on some research at the library.
Interesting and informative article. Thanks.
Thanks for the ping!
Indeed; understanding that phenomenon has been my major interest for quite a long time.
My conclusions are:
I like your post.But I have a quibble about language. You say, "smarta$$ is not a journalist," but then you say, "[he is] a liberal propagandist, which means he is simply a very subtle, useful tool of left-wing propagandists, an "advance party" if you will. "
My point is simply that the wire services in general and the Associated Press in particular united journalism around the self-interest of journalism itself. Journalism is just talk, and
the self interest of journalism is that its talk is taken to be more important than the action taken by others to provide food, clothing, shelter, security, energy, and so forth.
This explains why journalism is able to maintain the fatuous conceit of its own objectivity, despite the obvious realtity that journalism is at most part of the truth, and "Half the truth is often a great lie." You can print "both sides of the story" without necessarily getting at the truth of the matter, and that happens all the time. Because the perspective of the journalist defines what he thinks the two sides of the story are. Which may be irrelevant to what is actually going on. And the very fact that the journalist claims to be objective (or, what is the same thing, suffers others to claim it for him) proves that the journalist is not even trying to be objective.
Ironically, it is possible to attempt to be objective only by being open about any reasons why you might not be objective. And claiming to be objective is the very opposite of scrupulously examining your own motives and being open about how they (inevitably) influence your perspective. Therefore,
no "objective journalist" is even trying to actually be objective.
It would be wonderful if we could count on objective information for the mere price of a newspaper. Alas, it is impossible. There can be no substitute for exercising your own judgement. "Anyone who tells you anything else is selling something."The wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing . . .
It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity,
and they very seldom teach it enough. - Adam SmithBecause the wire services unified journalism, journalism speaks with a single voice (I discount the editorial pages as being a peripheral issue, which function primarily to "position" the rest of the newspaper as being objective). Since journalism speaks with a single voice, there are natural propaganda advantages to agreeing with that unified journalistic voice. So if you don't have any principles other than your own self interest, the path of least resistance is to become a politician who promotes whatever the journalistic voice finds convenient. You can then count on that journalistic voice to give you favorable labels and give your opposition consistently unfavorable PR.
So when you say someone is a propagandist rather than a journalist, you give undue credit to journalism as a profession. Journalism is propaganda.
The GOPAmerica is the victim of the propaganda campaign, ongoing since memory of living man runneth not to the contrary, to the effect that journalism is objective. Journalism has never been objective and, ironically, is least able to approach objectivity when it is most able to project the image of objectivity.
Note, when I say "journalism" there is a planted axiom in the construct - the idea that journalism is monolithic. That is, journalism has many facades but a single voice. The unity of journalism is the membership of the wire services, especially the Associated Press. The Associated Press was held by SCOTUS to be in violation of the Sherman AntiTrust Act back in 1945. And no wonder; the wire services homogenize journalism by claiming that journalists are objective in order to maximize the value of the wire service feed to its membership - and if all journalists are objective, they must share the perspective which journalism as a whole projects.
The rules of journalism - "Man Bites Dog, not Dog Bites Man," "If it bleeds, it leads," and "There's nothing more worthless than yesterday's newspaper, (i.e., make your deadline)" are all rules, not of objectivity but of entertainment value. They are rules for making your newspaper profitable. IOW, the rules of journalism promote the self-interest of journalism. And the very last word which would actually describe someone who confuses their own selfish interest with objectivity is, well, "objective."
So we have a highly tendentious and self-interested journalism, falsely but effectively projecting an image of objectivity and public spiritedness. What would you expect politicians to do in that environment? You would certainly expect that a lot of politicians would go along to get along with that prevailing propaganda wind. And you would expect that journalism would award positive labels to such politicians - and would apply negative labels to their opponents:
. . . and you would be entirely correct.
- Moderation being a classical virtue, you might not be surprised to learn, for example, that journalism-favored politicians might be called "moderate" or "centrist" - and disfavored politicians might be called "out of the mainstream," "right wing," "extreme," or even "right wing extremist."
- "Liberty" being the watchword of the American founding generation, you might expect that journalist-favored politicians might be called "liberal" - and disfavored politicians would not be so designated.
- The possibility of progress being a defining characteristic of the Enlightenment (and the Constitution being a quintessential Enlightenment project), you might expect journalism-favored politicians to be called "progressive" - and disfavored politicians to be called "conservative."
The problem is not journalists selling out to socialists - the problem is that, in the wire service milieu, self-selected journalists are socialists.The Associated Press was instituted in the middle of the Nineteenth Century, early in the era of electronic communication, and its natural function was to economize on telegraphy bandwidth by sharing the same feed over many newspapers. In the Internet era, that mission is obsolete. I should not wonder if Free Republic alone had more bandwidth capability now than the AP did in 1945. So what was "too big to fail" in 1945 should be vulnerable to serious antitrust challenge in 2011.
It might be surprising - if there were any reason to suppose that journalism actually was objective, as it claims. But then, the very claim of objectivity is proof that journalists aren't even trying to be objective.
If they were trying to be objective they would be declaring their interests, not claiming not to have any interests.
If they were trying to be objective they would admit that they make their money less by informing the public and promoting virtue than by flattering the public in its ignorance, and pandering to the public in its vices.
If they were trying to be objective they would condemn the Democratic Party for pandering to the public's sloth and greed, rather than promoting the Democratic Party for acting on precisely the same impulses which now rule journalism.
Thanks for the ping, c_I_c! Your OUTSTANDING analysis about "journalism" notwithstanding, your thought-provoking screen-name alone gives you "Presidential" cred in my book.
conservatism_IS_compassion for President!
(That's not quite as high an accolade as it used to be, tho.
I doubt that there are any FReepers who wouldn't be better than the incumbent . . . )
The behavior of journalism is explained by Adam Smith - partly in Wealth of Nations, and partly in Theory of Moral Sentiments. The applicable quote from the latter isThe natural disposition is always to believe. It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity, and they very seldom teach it enough. The wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing.That is the default assumption and perspective of the journalist, about the public at large. The public, journalists believe in their gut, is a bunch of boobs to be impressed and led by their betters. Namely, them:
The man whom we believe is necessarily, in the things concerning which we believe him, our leader and director, and we look up to him with a certain degree of esteem and respect.But as from admiring other people we come to wish to be admired ourselves; so from being led and directed by other people we learn to wish to become ourselves leaders and directors. - Adam Smith, Theory of Moral SentimentsJournalists employ rank sophistry to position themselves as our betters; they engage in Monday morning quarterbacking on a grand scale to insinuate that anyone other than the specialists in a field could do a better job than the specialists in that field, if only they were as well-intentioned as the journalist is. Nobody would trust their own liver to the ministrations of a journalist in the operating room, but the journalist seeks to promote his own reputation above that of the surgeon by claiming that doctors do unnecessary operations to pad their own wallets. And if that sounds like something a liberal politician such as Obama might say - well, in Karl Marxs formulation, that is no accident, comrades.
Journalists use claims of their own (or, what is the same thing, each others) objectivity to precisely the same purpose and intent that the ancient Sophists used their claims of superior wisdom. If the Sophist is wise, or if the journalist is objective, the person who is not a Sophist or a journalist would seem to have no standing to question them. And appearances are what journalists are all about. In reality it is unwise for anyone to assume his own wisdom, and it is not objective of anyone to assume her own objectivity.People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Book I, Ch 10)It is said that This problem, when solved, will be simple. And so it is with the question as to why modern journalists never engage in ideological competition, as journalists of earlier times notoriously did. The answer is the telegraph - the telegraph and the wire services, notably the AP. For the AP is nothing other than a virtual meeting of all the major journalism outlets in America.
Adam Smith is correct - a meeting of competitive journalists which has been in continuous operation since before the Civil War, and which is not about merriment or diversion but precisely about business, could not have failed to produce a conspiracy against the public. A conspiracy which is not content merely to systematically omit mention of certain salient facts, but which will actually lie in furtherance of its own interest and against the public interest.
They arent now, either. They have Codes of Ethics, its true - but they claim to be objective. Now claiming to try to be objective is entirely unobjectionable, even laudable if it is sincere. But claiming actually to be objective is sophistry. Why? Because sophistry comes from the term Sophist - Greek for wise man. The Ancient Sophists used claims of their own superior wisdom to suppress debate. Debates are pretty unsatisfactory if they go, I am wise and you are not. Therefore I am right and you are wrong. The classical response to this line of argument was to claim to love wisdom but to eschew claiming actually to be wise. Thats the source of the term philosopher - philo = "lover of," sophy = wisdom."
The philosopher did not claim wisdom, only to love wisdom - accepting the existence of truth, and seeking after it. That is, the philosophers position was, Spare me the ad hominem attacks and the arrogance, and lets get down to the facts and logic as they relate to the issue at hand. And that is the appropriate response to the journalists claim of objectivity, which is intended to suppress your willingness and ability to stand up for the truth when the journalist is (whether by commission or by omission). lying.De facto, a claim of objectivity is no different from a claim of wisdom. Either one constitutes sophistry.
If you didnt know anything else about AGW but the fact that advocates of the theory demand cessation of the use of coal in the US - but are mute about the frenetic rate of construction of coal-fired plants in China (and elsewhere in Asia) - you would know that it is a political ploy intended to damage liberalism.
By liberalism I of course mean what F.A. Hayek, writing in Britain during WWII, meant by the term. I.e., precisely the opposite of the fraudulent post-1930 American usage in which the term is a synonym for socialism.
Theodore Roosevelt was articulating liberalism, circa 1910, in his famous speech at the Sarbonne:It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deedsIMHO post-1930 liberalism is accurately defined by the perfect inversion of TRs meaning:It is the critic ; the man who points out how others could have done things better; who counts. The credit does not belong to the individual, who didnt do that, and who falsely claims the credit implied in the status of ownership.When put that way, it is should be obvious that the contempt which 1910 liberals (we) feel for the MSM derives from the fact thatIt is journalists who didnt do that - they have never even tried to, and cant actually relate to anyone who ever actually even did try to, do anything. But what defines their nature - and what they therefore obsessively do - is criticize.Having located the reason for the fact that journalism = socialism, we turn to the reason why the effect of the socialistic tendency inherent in journalism is and must be as homogenous and powerful as it is:People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary. - Adam Smith, Wealth of NationsHence we are reliably informed not only that the mere fact that journalists, as people of the same trade," read each others output is a serious and fundamental problem for us, but that every organization of journalists must exacerbate that problem. All of which compounds the (as shown above, inherent) tendency of journalists to promote socialism. To promote, that is, an ideology whose inherent nature is a conspiracy against the (pre-1920 liberal) order which the Constitution defines as the public interest.
There are organizations, and then there are organizations. There is a National Press Club, and there is The Committee to Protect Journalists, and no doubt there are numerous other journalism organizations with high-sounding titles. But the true root of all organization of modern journalism is the wire service. Any and every wire service, without exception. But the granddaddy of them all is the Associated Press.
- News Over the Wires:
- The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844-1897
by Menahem Blondheim
describes the aggressively monopolistic rise of the AP. And I have seen it credibly mentioned on the Internet that in 1945 the AP was found guilty of violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act by SCOTUS. But it wouldnt matter if none of that were true - it is the mere fact that it is an organization of journalists - an intimate association capable of instantaneously communicating with all of major journalism, and of giving direction to them all in a stylebook as to how things are to be expressed, what expressions are taboo, and what makes a good story - which makes it a mortal threat to the order (everywhere but America, and in America as well before 1920, called liberalism) which is the public interest.
In 1945 when the AP was held in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, it was too big to fail due to the value then inherent in the conservation of transmission bandwidth, which was the legitimate mission of any wire service, in the communication of the news. But this is 2014, deep into the Internet era. This era is defined by technologies which practically eliminate the cost of the bandwidth which the transmission of the news requires - with or without the AP et. al.
It is one thing to speak, in frustration, of the homogeneous negativity of the MSM, and it is quite another to have the wit to finger The Associated Press and its membership as a single entity which is responsible for the industrial production of libel against any target it can fix and freeze as representative of the (pre-1920 liberal) order which is constitutionally mandated and which history has confirmed to be the public interest. IMHO the next person, or any recent person (e.g., George Zimmerman) or group (e.g., the Duke Lacrosse Team defendants) should launch a massive suit against "the Associated Press et. al - alleging antitrust violation and RICO treble damages in the pattern of corrupt libel of themselves and of the constitutional order as a whole. And calling for damages sufficient to ruin the AP.
The Internet can disseminate the news, thank you very much. Claims of objectivity - not commendable efforts toward objectivity, but claims actually to be objective - are actually admissions of lack of objectivity about ones own self. Such claims rebut themselves.
Its simple . . . from the founding era up to the Civil War era, newspapers were about the opinions of their printers, as much or more than about the news. What changed in the Civil War era? The advent of the telegraph and the Associated Press. And any other wire service you can name, the AP is just the biggest and most monopolistic of the bunch. The legitimate mission of the wire service is to economically share news over expensive telegraph bandwidth. But the wire service concomitantly functions as a continuous virtual meeting of the newspapers which belong to it - and therein lies the rub:People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith, Wealth of NationsIn plain sight, the wire services - basically, the AP - functions as a conspiracy against the public by journalists. A conspiracy to promote journalists above the public by creating the impression that journalists are superior beings who are objective. But what is the journalist? journalists are critics rather than doers. The wire service journalist is an ordinary citizen telling you what went wrong when people other than journalists (and their acolytes) were in charge. Back in 1910, before the meaning of the word liberalism was inverted (in the 1920s, according to Safires New Political Dictionary), Theodore Rooseveltfamously asserted that"It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . . who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds . . .In saying that, Roosevelt was articulating liberalism., as the word was then understood (and as it continued to be understood outside the US). The liberalism we are used to is the precise opposite of that; according to liberalism, the critic is the only one who counts, because nothing actually matters except PR. The perfect inversion of the credit belongs to the man in the arena is,If youve got a business, you didnt build that.Political correctness, AKA liberalism, is the natural thought process of the journalist. Everything has to be wrong to the extent that it is controlled or executed by people who work to a bottom line in an effort to win credit by deeds rather than words. The long and the short of the matter is that freedom of the press is subverted by wire services. Because the press is homogenized into a single entity, and the newspapers are no longer about the divergent opinions of the printers but about wire service copy. In this milieu you dont become a printer unless you are simpatico with wire service journalism. So we have the irony that our free press is not a defender of the First Amendment. In fact, our free press was the driving force behind campaign finance reform because it weakens the ability of others to compete with our unified free press in promoting or opposing candidates.
Back when Senator Bill Bradley was promoting Campaign Finance Reform on the grounds that the poor mans soap box couldnt compete with the rich mans wallet, the Internet was in its infancy. But in reality, it is wire service journalism which is the rich mans wallet - and it has been since memory of living man runneth not to the contrary. And it is the Internet which is now the poor mans soap box. And even the ads by truly rich people like the Koch brothers cant compete on level ground with wire service journalism backed up by FCC broadcasting licenses.
It is a joke to take campaign finance regulation seriously as constitutionally legitimate. Campaign finance regulation is inimical to freedom of speech and of the press.
There is no such thing as a low risk, high reward strategy for a politician - except to be a liberal." The reason for that is simple; there is a notional distinction only, and no difference, between a liberal and an objective journalist. Journalism is criticism; journalists never are responsible for getting anything done, all they do is report what went wrong when others had authority. Consequently journalists are the natural political enemies of the people who actually try to do things.
And journalists are the natural allies of anyone else whose forte is criticism. Therefore journalists assign to their fellow critics positive labels such as moderate, progressive, or liberal - labels which are actually descriptive of those whom they malign as conservative).
All major journalism outlets have behaved in this manner ever since the advent of the Associated Press in the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century. The wire services in general, and the AP in particular, transformed Nineteenth Century journalism from a cacophony of independent political voices into a politically homogenous left-wing institution. Which it has been, since memory of living man runneth not to the contrary.
All Campaign Finance Reform laws are based on the fatuous premise that journalism is objective. The Federal Election Commission is unconstitutional. Not only so, but since journalism is highly tendentious, and since there is no ideological diversity in wire service journalism, the promotion of journalism in broadcasting in the public interest is also unconstitutional.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.