3/20/2005

The left, the media, and "reality"

Digby's blog discusses a WaPo article by Dana Milbank in which Milbank decries a "postmodern morass where there are no such things as facts, only competing perceptions of reality." In other words, the left is beginning to follow the right's example and only tune in to its chosen media. Digby says:
I agree with him, but I really think it's unavoidable. For the left it's largely a matter of self-defense. And it's because Milbank says things like: Would liberals really favor the absence of a press that calls into questions the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's weapons and ties to al Qaeda? Would conservatives really favor the absence of a press that brought the Clinton scandals to light? That Milbank continues to see these things as being equivalent is the problem. The Clinton scandals were contrived political character assassination that were investigated to the tune of 70 million dollars by numerous Republican congressional committees and Republican special prosecutors and WERE PROVED TO BE WITHOUT MERIT! The mainstream press were not muckrakers, they were willing whores and shills for a partisan agenda. They obsessed over a decades old land deal, the firing of some employees in the travel office, some bozo in the basement reading FBI files and Clinton's sex life among many other trivial charges. None of them came to anything. These facts are clear. If there is any doubt in anyone's mind that the right wing was willing to do anything to cripple Clinton's presidency one need only remember that they IMPEACHED him over a consensual extra-marital affair that he lied about in a trumped up sexual harrassment case that was thrown out of court. Now, I know that official Washington remains upset that the Clintons allegedly came in and "trashed" the place, but I really think it's a bit much to compare that pathetic tabloid witchhunt with the uninvestigated, officially sanctioned lies that got us into a WAR. I can't speak for everyone on the left, but this is why I cannot trust the mainstream media. It's not because they are biased. I don't know what the individual reporters' politics are and I don't care. I mistrust the media because they get played over and over and over again by the right wing and keep coming back for more. I don't know if they are stupid or weak, but it's clear to me that they are addicted to spoonfed puerile right wing generated gossip and completely unwilling to pursue serious Republican scandals beyond a perfunctory story or two before they move on to the next atrocity. (And I mean right wing generated gossip because it's clear that they will not breathlessly pursue a Republican sex scandal with equal fervor even when it features a gay prostitute in the conservative White House press room who plastered pictures of his erections all over the internet.) I recognize that a lot of this is because there is no partisan left wing media that can pound away at the stories that are damaging to Republicans thereby keeping the mainstream media focused and aware of the drumbeat. Indeed that is why many of us are advocating that we create such a thing. It's been clear for more than a decade that the mainstream media responds almost unthinkingly to the deafening sounds of the right wing noise machine and now seems paralyzed by the power the Republican establishment exerts over it. They simply are incapable of speaking truth to power and employing the kind of skepticism that is required if this body politic is to be healthy...As it stands, we have a Republican alternate version of reality and a mainstream press that is apparently impotent to take it on with any real zeal. I don't know what else to do but create our own discourse that hopefully provides the flaccid media with another point of view that they can then flog with equal fervor. I hope that our discourse is more honest and more true, but I cannot guarantee it. All I know is that we have to pull on the other end of the ideological rope or we are all going to be dragged off the cliff together.

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