Sunday, June 17, 2007
Used to read Maureen Dowd (or at least extended excerpts posted on Blogs). Used to watch the weekend Chris Matthews Show. Used to read Tom Friedman. Used to watch the Charlie Rose show. Used to read Howard Fineman. Used to watch PBS's News Hour. Used to watch and read various other "centrist" news sources and pundits.
But don't do that anymore. The commentary and presentation is purile, careless, and uninformed.
It's getting to the point where for this political junkie, I only want the raw facts from the press, without any "analysis". For commentary that is level-headed and empirical, I go to the usual blog sites: TPM
(and even Sullivan
who, despite his earlier foolishness, has been excellent on the torture issue).
The discourse is more stupid than ever. Witness the bizarre sexual obsessions of Dowd
. Yes, it's gotten to the point where the blogosphere offers better journalism than the established press
Who would have believed it?
Oh yeah, and there's a coming "stabbed in the back" narrative that will be loads of fun to witness.
what Q said.
It is fascinating to listen to some of it, where : 1+1= pi. Just jawdropping sometimes. And generally received without question by the host or other panelists.
But straight fact-based reporting is kinda thin on the ground. So you often have to parse the 'experts' and wait to glean the little factoid slipped in, generally by accident, to pick up a little scrap of reality.
It's also useful as a demonstration of how the game of 'telephone' is played by the experts.
The problem here is that you are (or were) looking to the likes of Dowd, Friedman, Mathews, and Rose for journalism. That's like asking a vegan for tips on how to grill a steak. None of those people are journalists--they are pundits (or, in the case of Charlie Rose, animatronic facilitators for public figures).
None do any fact-based reporting. Indeed, all of them have ade their careers and reputations by simply pulling stuff straight out of their asses. For Dowd, "research" consists of absorbing conventional wisdom and then regurgitating it as 8th-grade girls-room sniping. For Friedman, "research" consists of thinking the obvious and then finding people who will repeat the obvious (or, if he can't find anyone, he'll just make up some quotes). And Mathews? I think his record speaks for itself.
So don't blame those messengers--they're not journalists and never have been.
Can't say I did the TV half of your list, but I did do all the reading you mention and have found myself just about stopped. I also used to read the Sunday NYT Business section and Week in Review. Stopped Business 100% and 5 minute scan of WinR. Best thing about the Sunday Times is we use it to start the kitchen stove, but I can get local papers at the dump.....
they're not journalists and never have been.
I don't think the "no true journalist" thing helps, or for that matter describes what journalists do. If you look at the vast majority of US news for the past 20 years, that false equivalency, the fake facts, the stenography of the words from the anonymous lips of the powerful and entrenched has been the staple of most journalists.
Anonymous wrote, And Mathews? I think his record speaks for itself.
IIRC Mathews' background is PR.