Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Press, politics, and religion

From Jeff at Protein Wisdom [boldface mine]:

. . . A free society cannot run this way. If information is power, those who control the information and its mainstream dissemination are in a position to act as the most important swing vote in any election. That the press has given up, at this late stage (and despite declines in readership and public trust), any serious attempt to report objectively suggests that we are now quite immersed in a battle for the very principles of a democratic republic. Progressives have decided that the ends justify the means — that lies in the service of greater truths (as defined by their own ideology) are both pragmatic and utilitarian measures to be adopted so that “we” can finally get things “right,” and accept government from a permanent political class, a new aristocracy, that will expand the federal government in ways that will protect us from ourselves, in the process, assuring that ever new generations will be reliable upon the good graces of the federal government for their survival.

The new media held promise for fighting back. But the left recognized this immediately and built a counter balance to the MSM fact-checkers — and, in a perverse expansion of their role as foils, these progressive “netroots” are now responsible for feeding stories to the mainstream press, a further assault on the Enlightenment mandate for the free exchange of ideas, and further proof that progressives are every bit the totalitarians and would be fascists that I have long suggested they must necessarily be, given the philosophical imperatives that underwrite their political philosophy. . .

For my part, I’d just like to again reiterate that, should the press be allowed to comport itself this way under the current mythology that it is dedicated to “objectivity,” then every election will be necessarily skewed — if not by Evan Thomas’ infamous 15 percentage points, than at least by a number significant enough that it could very well be the deciding factor in every major election.

At which point, we’re dealing with no more than simulacrums of free elections, and the idea that we live in a democratic republic is but a useful fiction we tell ourselves as we slide ever more toward western European socialism and away from the principles this country was founded upon.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. But my suggestion would be either a press that surrenders the pretense of objectivity all together, or else some brave upstart looking for market share to come in with a clean slate of dedicated reporters who are taught not to “frame” facts into narratives that deliver “lessons,” but are rather instructed to report basic facts, almost genealogically — and without even the trappings of narrative.

Even then, omission and sequencing can be used to affect interpretation; but at least such things are easily recognizable when the tropes of “storytelling” are entirely removed.

Read it all. Sound familiar? Who knew politics and religion were so similar? Until you realize that for the majority of bishops in the Episcopal Church, politics and religion seem to be the same thing.

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