3/02/2005

Post-Modern Bush

From Paul Waldman at Gadflyer:
Eric Boehlert, probably the best media reporter in America, has a vitally important piece at Salon today.
The systematic effort to undercut journalists, to strip them of their traditional influence in national affairs, represents the Bush administration taking steps to "decertify" the professional press corps by "trying to unseat the idea that these people, professional journalists assigned to cover politics, have a legitimate role to play in our politics," according to Jay Rosen, journalism professor at New York University. He views that effort, along with James Guckert's (aka Jeff Gannon's) ascension at White House press briefings, as being closely linked: "Creating 'Jeff Gannon' as a credible White House correspondent and creating radical doubt about the intentions of mainstream journalists (in order to decertify the traditional press) are two parts of the same effort."...
Ron Suskind argues that the Bush administration has rejected the fundamental idea of debate and intellectual exchange. "Other administrations ceded to fact, and saw the benefit -- the value -- to meaningful public dialogue based on fact," he says. "They understood that was one of their obligations, to engage with people who were there to ask pointed and pertinent questions and demand answers to them. They understood that's how it worked and that that was the precedent. This administration has said, 'What does that have to do with me?'"...
Suskind notes, "If you believe there is no inherent value to public dialogue based on fact, then that frees you up to try all sorts of things other people in power wouldn't have ever thought of. And we're seeing the evidence of that now."
If the project succeeds, what we're left with is a truly post-modern nation, in which "facts" and "truth" do not exist and everything is a matter of partisanship. Do we have a huge budget deficit? That's just liberal spin. Are there 45 million Americans without health insurance? More Democratic propaganda. If that's the case, then the administration doesn't have to be held accountable for anything.
The most disheartening part of it all is that the journalistic community, whose very existence is under assault, has responded not by standing up for itself but by falling to its knees in utter defeat.

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