Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I figured I was going to write something today about the corporate media creating a WWE spectacle out of the president giving a thoughtful though highly controversial speech about his plans to resolve profoundly important and very knotty problems of justice and law created by his predecessor; while on the other hand an utterly discredited pathological liar, manifest failure and war criminal who formerly held a constitutionally powerless ceremonial office spewed nonsense, falsehoods and moral depravity. These events were treated as equally significant, deserving of equal respect and attention, and as defining the respectable range of opinion on these issues within the political culture.

The vapid idiocy of the "journalists" and "editors" who present affairs of state in this way has been with us, according to my recollection, since the Reagan administration. Of course there has always been horrible journalism, but journalism didn't have this homogeneously stenographic, mindless and formulaic character when I was a youth. You had your apologists for one position or another, but you also had your crusading investigators blowing the lid off corruption, oppression and depravity. Every kid wanted to be the latter. And it was not, as I recall, a principle of journalistic ethics to report that one person stated A and another stated B without bothering to tell us whether A or B was actually the truth.

I didn't know what the heck I would say about this, however. Fortunately I came across Charlie Pierce, here discussing his book Idiot America on the very page where you can, if you so desire, buy it. I haven't read it so I'm not plugging it, but I am plugging the interview. Pierce says this and that, but I would say that the essence is that one of the two major political parties in this country [and I will interpolate that due structural properties of the Constitution, we will always have two and only two] has spent more than 30 years building itself around opposition to perceivable reality. It is a movement based on rejection of reason, intelligence, logic and facts. Reporters striving to appear "fair" are thus forbidden to name the truth.

Site note: I'll be out of town for a couple of days, expect me when you see me.


robin andrea said...

I have been so shocked and dismayed by Cheney's front-page presence that I've stopped paying attention to the news. I cannot believe that this man has the audacity to spew his vile contempt for the rule of law, and that journalists report it without a hint of reasonable questioning. Nothing distresses me more.

Anonymous said...

When I look at the US from the outside, what is see is not so much a culture of ignorance or what one might call ambient stupidity (vapid heiresses, terry schiavo media hoopla, one could write an endless list) but a completely corrupt political system. Officially corrupt - thru the lobby system; socially corrupt - an nebulous oligarchy formed of big corporations, the military, the media (...), and their servants, the hired help, in Gvmt; legally corrupt - US laws, international treaties (...) have spun out of control and aren’t respected anyway. Even ethically corrupt, because it is no longer possible for Americans to agree on anything which is what you get in chaotic situations, standards disappear and everyone has to have a strident say, the strongest party wins in function of its own self-interest. This irresponsible attitude is of course encouraged by those in power, the media see to perpetual obfuscation and personalization, as a lost, helpless, checked out, non participatory or one-issue citizenry is easy to manipulate and control.