14 thoughts on “dana milbank on msm”

  1. Dude, you can’t like Dana Milbank. He wrote for the Daily! Thus, according to the Herald rule book, which you signed in blood, you may never compliment him in public.

  2. It’s not so much the bias of the mainstream press that bothers me (I like to call that bias a corporate bias a distraction bias or a stupid bias), but their short attention span, and obsessions with minutiae, spectacle, and the Hollywood noise machine.
    Who cares about Scott Peterson and the years-long focus on his trial? Michael Jackson? Robert Blake? O.J.? And on, and on, and on…
    This is indeed the society of the spectacle.
    That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the mainstream media. They have been bastardized by A Current Affair and Hardcopy.
    Know what news is, report it, and don’t just become a repeater for both sides’ version of the truth. Position their statements against reality, and see what jibes.
    Instead, we get to watch constant argument back and forth between two talking heads with divergent views and wildly different versions of “the facts.” No “journalist” ever seems to step in to sort out those claims.
    In service to fairness, they just let both sets of claims float into the ether and let the audience choose which world they want to live in.
    How’s that any different than the criticisms Millbank levels at the independent press?

  3. Are you kidding? I hope so because to ask who cares about OJ or Michael Jackson is simply amazing. Honestly, everyone cares. The media reports on stories that interest the public. While I’ll be the first to agree the media

  4. Fair enough. That was poorly stated. I didn’t literally mean, “Who cares?” Obviously, lots of people care.
    However, if we view the media as the fourth estate (as the fourth arm of our democracy), as I think we should, then the basest motivations of society should not be the deciding factor on what gets covered. There is a duty and responsibility of the media to inform, criticize, and challenge our government.
    Instead, we get what we get.
    By the way, I’m not jumping on board with your statement regarding the media’s obsession with the negative. No doubt, the Michael Jackson story is negative. But that’s not why I criticized the media’s coverage of such events. I criticized their coverage of them because, on the national and global stage, such stories don’t matter.
    I’m not asking the media to be positive. I’m not asking them to make me feel great about life. I’m asking them to challenge authority in a serious and responsible way. If that results in negative coverage, so be it.
    I’ll take care of having a positive outlook on life. I’ll find the positive in my personal world. I need them to uncover the truth so that I can be an informed citizen.

  5. Well I think everyone should agree the media’s responsibility is to inform the public of the actions of our government.
    However, there are other things to cover than the ups and downs of our democracy. These other things people legitimatly care about. If you want a network devoted entirely to political jargon, watch cspan.

  6. If you want to find out who Britney Spears is fucking, watch E.
    I’m glad I live in a culture where people “legitimately care” about things like that. It’s encouraging.
    If they did inform the public, then I’d say have at it with the tabloid bullshit. Unfortunately, there is little informing going on, and it’s a lot dedicated to “the important matters of the day” that so many in our culture “legitimately care about.” Gotta get our taste of The Amazing Race cross-promotional tie-in with our morning news. Otherwise, I’ll not be able to get through the day.

  7. jesus, birty, calm down. nobody’s stopping you from being informed on world affairs. if you want to be, it’s roughly 1,000 times easier than it’s ever been in the course of human history.

  8. I’m calm. I just have a severe dislike of the mainstream media, generally.
    I enjoy the work of specific journalists (like yourself), but am generally angered by the nature of mainstream news media.
    I certainly agree that I have a plethora of options to inform myself, and I try my best to do so. That is the saving grace of our modern times: the information explosion.
    That being said, I feel some of my anger is justified. The fact of the matter is that few people have the time and/or the motivation to seek out alternative sources who are sticking more closely to hard journalism. What is on broadcast and cable, and in the newspaper is the extent of sources that will be sought out by the majority.
    Because the people own the airwaves, I feel that that the mainstream either needs to turn to a harder approach to news, or that the barriers to entry into the major venues (broadcast, cable, and large-market paper formats) need to be minimized (preferably both).
    I apologize for the perceived snarkiness, but I feel the issue is hugely important to the continued functioning of our democracy, and don’t take it lightly. My tone was probably a little harsher than intended.

  9. re: newspapers, i challenge you to go look at a major metro paper from, say, 20-30-40 years ago and look at one today. in 90-plus percent of the cases, today’s newspaper will be better — often by miles.
    as for the tv evening newscasts, they’ve probably dropped off a bit, yeah. but your complaints seem largely about the morning shows and the magazines and other news “products” — shows that have *never* been newsy. it’s not like when tom brokaw was hosting today in the ’70s they were doing lengthy exigeses on the merits of social security reform.
    i just get really, really tired of people throwing around f.u.d. about how the “mainstream media” sucks. this fantastic past moment where every american could explain the makeup of the consumer price index and speak intelligently on who should control the taiwan straits — that never happened.
    i happen to know a whole bunch of people in the mainstream media, and they’re smart talented people working their asses off to do good work. so i get pissed off when people start slagging them for no good reason.

  10. I understand where you’re coming from, and I agree that there’s never been a period in the past that we would call “The Golden Age” of citizen enlightenment from mainstream media.
    I recognize that.
    It’s similar to the pining in our culture for the “Golden Age of Education.” There was never any such thing. That’s something that critics use to fuel anti-public education sentiment today.
    I also know that I am guilty of doing to mainstream journalists the same thing that others do to people in my profession. I’m a teacher, and know that while the system is broken, there are a lot of great people working hard every day to help young people. So I apologize for painting with a broad brush.
    But just like I believe that those of us in education should be doing more to make systemic change, I can’t help but believe that systemic change is required in the mainstream media.
    I have made the mistake, once again, of speaking with conviction when I know that I have less than all of the facts. I know how annoying it is for people to talk about teaching and education like they have it all figured out.
    I don’t mean to come across that way. It just so happens that I, idealist and pain in the ass that I am, want things to always improve and get better.
    If I conduct your experiment in looking at old newspapers and comparing them to today’s, maybe I’ll come to believe that things have indeed gotten better.
    But I still hate those Godforsaken morning news shows.

  11. Sorry for the above post. Accident. Anyway, Im glad were getting along now and must say that I agreed with you [birty] about the responsibility of the media. I also agree with Josh that there are plenty of people that are working hard to ensure the material covered is good, unbiased and informing. The fact remains that as long as Americans are infatuated with Michael Jackson, OJ or Brad and Jen… there isn’t going to be any getting around the stuff that irritates you.

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