Friday, September 10, 2004

Blogs v. Big Media

Tech Central Station provides just one of the many roundups of the saga of the apparently forged Bush National Guard docs. I have never put much stock in rehashing this issue of the President's National Guard service (for something like the 3rd time during this election). To me, the importance of the story has evolved into yet another instance of questioning the judgement of the "Mainstream Media." As Jay Currie said in the aforelinked piece (is that a word? perhaps not, but it seems appropriate):
The more basic question is how could a rabble of bloggers, in one day, provide hard core proof of forgery when major news organizations took those documents at face value? Most fundamental of all, why did the New York Times, the Boston Globe and CBS allow themselves to be used for such a transparent attempt to slander President Bush?

As I've noted before, it's simply the natural result of bias clouding any sense of critical thinking among many, indeed, the majority of the "Mainstream" media. I've also written that I believe that blogs can be likened to the pamphlets of the past, but perhaps, at least in some instances, they have moved beyond that.

UPDATE: Ratherbiased.com has received an email from Bernard Goldberg, former colleague of Dan Rather at CBS and author of a couple books dealing with media bias. He wrote:

"Assuming that at least some of the documents are indeed forgeries as they now seem," Goldberg says in an email to RatherBiased.com, "This is what happens when a news organziation operates in a bubble--a comfy liberal elite bubble. They WANTED the story to be true, so they apparently minimized or ignored any information that contradicted their pre-conceived notions.

"This is the nature of bias in the news. no conspiracies. Rather never said, 'I know these documents are phoney, but I'll go with them anyway.' He would never do that. The problem is too much like-mindedness, too much groupthink. What happened was almost invevitable. Sooner or later, when you live in the bubble, something bad will happen.

"Let me add that Dan Rather was my friend yesterday, he's my friend today, and he'll be my friend tomorrow."
This seems right, but I would bet there are a members of the media who are quite capable of conscious bias, not the subconscious, "groupthink" bias of which Goldberg speaks. Yet, he does have more insight than I would, I guess. I guess the lesson is to remember that it is more about a shared ideology (or worldview) that provides the foundational basis on top of which people build their subsequent views on the issues of the day. People with differing ideologies are found in nearly all walks of life, in roughly equal numbers. This is not the case in the "industry" of the mainstream media. In this, the media is not unique, they have soulmates in the academy and the entertainment industry. These three stand out more because they are dominated so thoroughly by one ideology above all others. Perhaps the only other walk-of-life that is similarly dominated by an overriding ideology is the military, though I suspect the level of dominance is not that exhibited in the aforementioned triumverate.

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