Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MSM: Your Propagandizing Is Not Just Immoral, It Wastes My Time

Hard hitting post here.


Let me tell you a story.

I grew up in Simi Valley.

My wife grew up in LA.

My wife has been beat up by the LAPD. Simi Valley was where the Rodney King trial was held (though none of the jurors were from there, FYI).

Remember that.

I was in LA the day of the Rodney King verdict.

All day, I saw the media run retrospectives of the Watts riots. “Look, everyone! The darkies might riot!” Then, after the verdict came in, I same them, for 4 hours asking black people:

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

After goading for hours, they found something somewhere! Some people pulled Reginald Denny from his truck at the intersection of Florence and Normandie. Instantly, they broadcast the beating on all the channels. The message was:

The riot is on!

And sadly, it was.

Prior to the Iraq War coverage, the local television coverage was the most despicable thing I had ever seen the media do. Does the LAPD bear some blame for the riots? Yes. Does Rodney King? Yes.

But for me, the lion's share of the blame falls on the local television stations in LA. The behavior of both Rodney King and the LAPD was terrible, and the verdict, well, it was the verdict. But I truly don't think there would have been riots if the media hadn't intentionally fanned the flames. 50-60 people died in those riots. I lay those deaths to a large extent at the door of the LA media, yes.

Last week, I saw the media chant:

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

They could have just as easily asked:

So, when are you guys going to work it out?

To quote SpiderMan of all things, with great power comes great responsibility. It matters how you ask the question, and it matters how you tell the story. I understand the pressure the media is under. They have to feed the beast 24/7. I've been there, and my column is only once/month.

But are they reporting the news, or making the news?

More often then not, it seems to me that they're either making the news, sexing up the news, or just making [stuff] up.

You know, I get comments a lot from those against the war talking about our butcher's bill in Iraq. I usually counter with the point that not going into Iraq would have caused people in Iraq to die as well (20,000/month, search the blog to find out how I get that number). There are moral consequences to standing at the sidelines as well as moral cost of taking action.

There are also moral consequences to cheerleading violence. I see the media cheerleading failure, cheerleading terrorism, and cheerleading civil war. It disgusts me.

That's how I blame the media. Do they get 100% of the blame? No. What percentage of the blame do they get? Frankly, that question doesn't interest me. I really don't want to allocate blame, I want the media to change their actions.

I want to be able to read the New York Times or watch CNN, or listen to NPR and be able to trust what they're telling me. Since I can't do that, since the media is no longer fulfilling their basic function, I have to blog, and I have to read blogs. It pisses me off, because I had better things to do this decade than be my own news service. I don't like having to read transcripts of press conferences because I can't trust the media to even write down what was said correctly. I don't like having to spend hours finding real experts on the web to analyze how this or that media expert has distorted the facts. I don't like having to pore through the blogs of journalists, soldiers and Iraqi citizens so I can get some inkling of how things are really going, without the hype. Even though I do it, I don't even like having to download the Brookings report once/month in order to see what the numbers say about how the war is going.

But I have to do all that, because its the only way I can truly be an informed citizen.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that most of all, I blame the media for being incompetent.

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