Concern raised over media in US failing in its Constitutional role

#1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704103904575337002190061586.html

Rejoinder by a liberal observer:Tucker Carlson will keep releasing, misrepresenting Journolist e-mails - War Room - Salon.com

After reading these articles and others and the comments thereto (curiously the traditional media is strangely silent on this story :D), it demonstrates that the profound issues here are largely being lost in the partisan static.

We should remember (for those of us old enough to have learned it in government schools before revisionist history took over) that the Constitution affords special "by name" protection in the First Amendment to the "press" for a reason. It is clear that the founders realized the critical importance of the "press" to the effective functioning of the government they created. It is also clear that from their own experience, the "press" was assumed to be independent and "principled" if not always polite in that it would provide critically needed information to the people to thus enable and empower the people to control their government.


Regrettably, since President Wilson first institutionalized the idea of "managing" the press in terms of co-opting it to the ends of government (ironically those in the "press" who were instrumental in this were later the "heroes" of Goebbels for his propaganda efforts for the Nazis), there has been an erosion of the independence of the "press."

This in turn left it vulnerable to the ideologues within the profession to align this willingness to compromise generally applicable journalistic ethics with the prevailing ideology that has been shown in numerous studies and surveys to be distinctly left of center. As a consequence, and especially when combined with notions of Alinsky and others that the "ends justify the means" and that the "greater good" (as deemed so by the elite using the power) trumps any other countervailing consideration, principle or value.

Thus, the list serv communications are really important not in the specifics of the gossip but rather where they disclose a conscious and cynical willingness (and in some cases intent) to act on the posters' political biases rather than to properly do their jobs as journalists in spite of them by following stories wherever they led and not suppressing coverage of those that did not fit their ideological template.

The press should take a very sober look at this since the special place the press enjoys in our Constitutional system is in jeopardy now due to their abrogation and perversion of their duty as journalists that is the quid pro quo for such special protection.
 
#2
#3
The Journolist scandal is the smoking gun of liberal/leftist media bias in US political coverage. Not that it wasn't obvious (for decades) anyway. I think there needs to be a violent realignment in the US political and social order. I want to see a second civil war and clean out this trash.
 
#4
Odd that you choose to use the example of Tucker Carlson:

Stewart Crossfire Video - Jon Stewart Crossfire Smackdown

Well if the traditional media would cover such stories it would be easier to get other (and I suppose more palatable to some)sources--but of course that is the root of the problem is it not. It is also more of the same Alinsky (and yes I do tire of having to point it out) tactic to go after the reporter of the information rather than addressing it in substance.
 
#5
I find that RT tend to show the stuff that the US Government most certainly don't want the rest of the world to see, as in todays report of over 300.000 people who can get no form of aid from the government for their mortgage problems but the banks that caused the problem can
 
#7
I find that RT tend to show the stuff that the US Government most certainly don't want the rest of the world to see, as in todays report of over 300.000 people who can get no form of aid from the government for their mortgage problems but the banks that caused the problem can
Erm...do a bit more digging-you will find much of the "housing crisis" was a function of the federal government social experiment of requiring lenders to lend to those who could not ever repay their debts.

Here's How The Community Reinvestment Act Led To The Housing Bubble's Lax Lending
 
#8
Ronnie, my point is that Tucker Carlson has been just as much a part of the breakdown of journalistic integrity as defined by JJH as anyone else- and the video of Jon Stewart pointing out just what a waste of an hour of programming Crossfire is just supporting evidence. It really has been quite discouraging for me to have to spend ages sifting through partisan spin from all sides in order to figure out just what the Hell is going on. Network heads have long since reached the conclusion that there's no place for reasoned debate in TV news any more- whether it be Maddow and Olberman on the left or Beck and Hannity on the right. About 2 years ago, CNN tried to paint itself as the moderate via media and found itself accordingly getting pummeled in the ratings.

What JJH fails to realize is that Carlson is under attack in the Salon article for the manner in which he willfully and clearly misrepresented what was actually being said in those emails to rabble-rouse among those, like you, who gleefully seize on information that is consonant with their own prejudices rather than examine the situation more fully. (Be honest, how many of those email conversations have you personally read in full?) What does that say about journalistic integrity?

Furthermore, the Right is just as likely to resort to such demagoguery. If I was to come on here, quoting information dug up by Al Gore or Michael Moore, what would be your honest reaction?
 
#9
Ronnie, my point is that Tucker Carlson has been just as much a part of the breakdown of journalistic integrity as defined by JJH as anyone else- and the video of Jon Stewart pointing out just what a waste of an hour of programming Crossfire is just supporting evidence. It really has been quite discouraging for me to have to spend ages sifting through partisan spin from all sides in order to figure out just what the Hell is going on. Network heads have long since reached the conclusion that there's no place for reasoned debate in TV news any more- whether it be Maddow and Olberman on the left or Beck and Hannity on the right. About 2 years ago, CNN tried to paint itself as the moderate via media and found itself accordingly getting pummeled in the ratings.

What JJH fails to realize is that Carlson is under attack in the Salon article for the manner in which he willfully and clearly misrepresented what was actually being said in those emails to rabble-rouse among those, like you, who gleefully seize on information that is consonant with their own prejudices rather than examine the situation more fully. (Be honest, how many of those email conversations have you personally read in full?) What does that say about journalistic integrity?

Furthermore, the Right is just as likely to resort to such demagoguery. If I was to come on here, quoting information dug up by Al Gore or Michael Moore, what would be your honest reaction?
With respect, I realize quite well what you are saying and the nature of the debate regarding the various reporters of the situation. I find it ironic also that you accuse me of failing to "understand," "realiz(s)e" etc. various points while you and others continue to IMHO misconstrue the real issues here as is evident in your (and others) continual framing of these matters in partisan or polemic ("left" and "right") terms. n These matters in my view transcend such characterizations.

I am still waiting for a substantive rationalization of the proper role of the press in light of the apparent willingness of some in that industry reflected on the Journolist site to rig the "news" to suit their own world view. I doubt anyone can justify this in light of the responsibilities of the press in return for the special protection afforded it under the Constitution if we can ever get past the argument about the motives etc. of those who bring this to light. Yet another evidence of the tactics of progressives that the ends justify any means. I would also humbly point out that unlike some others who post here and elsewhere at least I was willing to add a contrarian view as well.
 
#10
With respect, I realize quite well what you are saying and the nature of the debate regarding the various reporters of the situation. I find it ironic also that you accuse me of failing to "understand," "realiz(s)e" etc. various points while you and others continue to IMHO misconstrue the real issues here as is evident in your (and others) continual framing of these matters in partisan or polemic ("left" and "right") terms. n These matters in my view transcend such characterizations.

I am still waiting for a substantive rationalization of the proper role of the press in light of the apparent willingness of some in that industry reflected on the Journolist site to rig the "news" to suit their own world view. I doubt anyone can justify this in light of the responsibilities of the press in return for the special protection afforded it under the Constitution if we can ever get past the argument about the motives etc. of those who bring this to light. Yet another evidence of the tactics of progressives that the ends justify any means. I would also humbly point out that unlike some others who post here and elsewhere at least I was willing to add a contrarian view as well.
I think we're in closer agreement than either of us first noticed. Here's the the unfortunate predicament regarding the role of the press. While they do receive special protections under the Constitution, the Constitution was written in an age that preceded the commercialization of journalism as we now recogniz(s)e it. In effect, journalists have two distinct sets of responsibilities. The first responsibility is to the truth (as far as they understand it). The second- and this is where it gets tricky- is a fiduciary responsibility. Their output- especially in the US- is measured ever increasingly in terms of dollars earned, ratings and market share rather than the quality of output. Unfortunately, editors and news directors have figured out that sensentionalism and playing to people's fears and insecurities sells. Carlson knows this and has manipulated what was actually going on over at Journolist to conform to conservative preconceptions. If an honest Conservative was to look through the discussions, they'd see that was was reported was taken way out of context. Therefore I would reject the hypothesis that the mere existence of journolist is evidence of the desire to "rig the news". The headline that has grabbed the most attention was when a professor of law pondered whether the FCC could or should refuse to renew Fox News' license to broadcast. It was an academic question and the proposition that it should was shouted down immediately, but instead Carlson's website portrayed it as a grand conspiracy. However, a much more animated conversation on Journolist (which was also covered by The DC but recieved far less attention in the right wing blogosphere) concerned how much of a twunt these "lefties" think Keith Olberman is:
Journolisters offended by Keith Olbermann’s

Secondly, people will always report the news according to their world view- especially when one is dealing with the political or social world. There is no escaping it. Objectivity is an impossible ideal. From the broadest editorial decisions to determine what stories reporters are sent to cover all the way down to the choice of language a reporter uses, there is selection bias. However, there's an argument to be made that a level of journalistic integrity is required to eliminate one's prejudices as far as is practicable. This doesn't always occur, but I argue that it is mainly for the commercial reasons I mention above, rather than to advance any political agenda.

Lastly, I really must take issue at your assertion that the tactics you allege are the unique hallmarks of the progressive movement. I have to point out that the tactics of Saul Alinsky are well known and used by conservatives also. One only needs to see the way Karl Rove has operated over the past ten years and the formation of the tea party movement to see that.
 
#11
By the way, for those of you not familiar with Saul Alinsky, and are starting to think that he's some sort of political bogeyman, he also said this:

"Not at any time. I've never joined any organization—not even the ones I've organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it's Christianity or Marxism. One of the most important things in life is what Judge Learned Hand described as 'that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you're right.' If you don't have that, if you think you've got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide."

He wasn't a communist and he wasn't a partisan. He was- ultimately- a populist. The reason why he's been quoted and emulated by the leaders of the Tea Party movement is that he recognized the existence of a silent majority who were concerned and fearful for their futures at the exact same time Nixon did. Unfortunately for Alinsky (and America as it turned out) he died and Nixon was able to seize that majority and secure victory. All that matters from a political perspective is the direction in which you are able to channel that energy and how you manage it.
 
#12
#13
By the way, for those of you not familiar with Saul Alinsky, and are starting to think that he's some sort of political bogeyman, he also said this:

"Not at any time. I've never joined any organization—not even the ones I've organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it's Christianity or Marxism. One of the most important things in life is what Judge Learned Hand described as 'that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you're right.' If you don't have that, if you think you've got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide."

He wasn't a communist and he wasn't a partisan. He was- ultimately- a populist. The reason why he's been quoted and emulated by the leaders of the Tea Party movement is that he recognized the existence of a silent majority who were concerned and fearful for their futures at the exact same time Nixon did. Unfortunately for Alinsky (and America as it turned out) he died and Nixon was able to seize that majority and secure victory. All that matters from a political perspective is the direction in which you are able to channel that energy and how you manage it.
For those who are interested I would humbly suggest the summary provided by Crabtastic is not necessarily the definitive treatment of Mr. Alinsky the man or the profound effect he and others of similar persuasion (however you choose to label it) have had on many of the members of our current elite. Just one example of the "coincidence" of how he seems to pop up in so many places in terms of the backgrounds of those in power now here is Hilary Clinton's undergraduate thesis that just happens to be about--guess who http://hillaryclintonquarterly.com/documents/HillaryClintonThesis.pdf.

Alinsky's "community organizing" was a euphemism as has been pointed out by many who have studied him and his views. Whether he was a "communist" etc. again misses the point in that he advocated an approach that can be used benignly or malignantly and I am suspicious of anyone who advocates any means are acceptable to achieve one's goals and especially when it is within the context of progressivism. As Alinsky said in his first book [FONT=times new roman,times]Reveille for Radicals[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times]:[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times]

"A People's Organization
[/FONT]
[FONT=times new roman,times][he used this terminology until he realized it was too close to that used by various communist governments and movements][/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times] is not a philanthropic plaything or a social service's ameliorative gesture. It is a deep, hard-driving social force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people. It recognizes the existence of the vicious cycle in which most human beings are caught, and strives viciously to break this circle. It thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups."

[/FONT]
[FONT=times new roman,times]"A People's Organization is dedicated to an eternal war...A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play."

[/FONT]
[FONT=times new roman,times]Obviously, how this approach plays out much depends on how one defines "social evils"[/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times] [/FONT][FONT=times new roman,times]it suits progressives very well in that they in their superior wisdom (as determined by themselves) determine what are those "evils."
[/FONT]
 
#14
I don't deny that. What I am trying to say is that BOTH sides have learned to play the game. Example:

"A People's Organization [he used this terminology until he realized it was too close to that used by various communist governments and movements] is not a philanthropic plaything or a social service's ameliorative gesture. It is a deep, hard-driving social force, striking and cutting at the very roots of all the evils which beset the people. It recognizes the existence of the vicious cycle in which most human beings are caught, and strives viciously to break this circle. It thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups."


"A People's Organization is dedicated to an eternal war...A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play."



"Obviously, how this approach plays out much depends on how one defines "social evils"it suits progressives very well in that they in their superior wisdom (as determined by themselves) determine what are those "evils.""

Maybe we should all bow to the serene logic and wisdom of bears? I mean, relying on intuition is a far better prescription for sound public policy than actually working through the issue. It's not as if "common sense" is Sarah Palin shorthand for intellectual laziness or incapacity... [video=youtube;oF-OsHTLfxM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oF-OsHTLfxM[/video]
 
#15
As for the collected wisdom of the far right, I'm going to glibly throw up some funny pictures, but think about this: in the last 18 months of political bullshit we've been exposed to, how many practical policy alternatives for the problems that are in front of us have been proposed by even the supposed grown-ups in the Republican Party leadership, let alone the multiple 3 ring circuses that make up the Tea Party movement? I want to see, on paper, exactly what they proposed to prevent the imminent collapse of US manufacturing; the global financial system; or state and local government. Would tax cuts have kept police on the street or teachers in the classroom? Would a "hands-off" approach to regulation of the oil industry have produced a different response to the Gulf Oil spill? So far, the economic recovery has been a jobless one but the Dow is up around 4000 points since Obama took office. Corporate America is bouncing back quite nicely, but the magical "market" has decided that workers are surplus to requirement. How would a "small government" approach deal with that, given that the tax code is already more business-friendly than at any point?

These are the questions that grown-up people have to be able to answer if they're going to be able to establish order and prosperity- and I'm just not seeing answers, and I very much doubt I'm going to see them from people like this:

Tea Party Signs - The Most Ridiculous Tea Party Protest Signs Ever
 
#16
Again you are predictable--everything is one the partisan/polemic spectrum in your view.

As for the not doubt valid statistical sampling of the signage, one can do that (if they have nothing to actually say about the substantive issues represented the "tea party" or other movement) for any public demonstration. Indeed, of one wants to avoid discussion of the real issues we can go on forever with such a sophomoric exercise that proves nothing other than the transparent effort of those who are obviously threatened by the genuine "grass roots" nature of the "tea party movement" so that they pull out the predictable tactic of trying to ridicule and marginalize. Just to hum(u) you a bit and demonstrate my point here are a few from those on the other end of your spectrum:







http://www.zombietime.com/anarchist_bookfair_march_18_2006/IMG_5894.JPG[/img]







Of course, actual experience may be a bit more valid-as in my case having actually participated (and my signs and all those around me were spelled correctly) unlike you.

Why don't you join us in DC on the weekend of 9/11 and I will gladly show you around.

I still await a substantive discussion of the profound issues raised by the Journolist matter in terms of the proper Constitutional role for the "press" and how the statements of those members of the "press" reflecting not only a willingness but an intention to distort the "news" to suit their ideological and political agendas--an exercise that has also been recently confirmed by the Washington Post's own watchdog in its active suppression of the Black Panthers voter intimidation scandal.

It is quite interesting how the "any means to the end" advocacy of Alinsky and others continue to show through in our contemporary political scene.
 
#17
I think I've already answered that question. But, to be clear, there's a clear argument to be made that "the press" had a different meaning in the 18th Century. The professional news media- which we currently term "the press"- simply didn't exist at that time. Instead what you had were, in the main, pamphleteers who were looking to extend thoughts and ideas rather than create an industry. Therefore, one could argue that the modern news industry has no constitutional protections or responsibilities beyond those held by private individuals.

As for your invitation to DC- once your sad band of enraged malcontents actually get a policy platform together, instead of engaging in circle-jerks in your echo chambers, then I'll take you seriously. I love freedom, I love liberty, I love ice-cream and ponies too- and the more of this good stuff the better. But someone on your side had better come up with some ideas of how to operationalize these ideas because if, God forbid, you actually find yourselves in control come January you're going to have to think of something fast. As you no doubt appreciate from the likes of Code Pink etc., shouting abuse from from the cheap seats is the easy part. Formulating and implementing policy isn't.
 
#18
I think I've already answered that question. But, to be clear, there's a clear argument to be made that "the press" had a different meaning in the 18th Century. The professional news media- which we currently term "the press"- simply didn't exist at that time. Instead what you had were, in the main, pamphleteers who were looking to extend thoughts and ideas rather than create an industry. Therefore, one could argue that the modern news industry has no constitutional protections or responsibilities beyond those held by private individuals.

As for your invitation to DC- once your sad band of enraged malcontents actually get a policy platform together, instead of engaging in circle-jerks in your echo chambers, then I'll take you seriously. I love freedom, I love liberty, I love ice-cream and ponies too- and the more of this good stuff the better. But someone on your side had better come up with some ideas of how to operationalize these ideas because if, God forbid, you actually find yourselves in control come January you're going to have to think of something fast. As you no doubt appreciate from the likes of Code Pink etc., shouting abuse from from the cheap seats is the easy part. Formulating and implementing policy isn't.

You continue to obfuscate, insult and marginalize. No substance without vilification I gather. Done here-going to church.
 
#19
You continue to obfuscate, insult and marginalize. No substance without vilification I gather. Done here-going to church.
I've already tried twice to address your question: I simply don't think that the media has any obligation or responsibility to the Constitution greater than those placed upon citizens. This is primarily because, at the time, the news media simply did not exist as a commercial enterprise and could not have been conceived as such by those who devised the Bill of Rights. Now, as a conservative who appears to have a rather strict constructionist philosophy on constitutional matters, you and I might disagree on that point. As a progressive, I believe fundamentally that the Constitution- with the best will in the world- is a collection of political compromises which could never do anything more than represent the best collective wisdom of its time, and that over the past two centuries the world and society has developed that the framers could not have possibly imagined. However, I'll go one step further.

One might say that the entire spirit of the 1st Amendment and the concept of free expression is geared around the polar opposite of the relationship you posit. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights exist to uphold liberty and provide the foundation of the institutional arrangements for a government which is aimed at serving the people. As revolutionaries, the Founding Fathers recognized the dangers of curtailing free expression as a means to uphold the state, so let me say it again: the Constitution and the government exist to serve the people, the people do not serve the state. If nothing else, this is a concept that should be very familiar to anyone identifying with the libertarian leanings of the Tea Party Movement.

Now, I believe that's my best effort to address your question. All that remains is to reiterate that I disagree with the very premises of the case upon which you raise this issue. You are relying on a widely discredited series of reports from a website run by a man who has pinballed from one organization to another over the course of his career and who has the bearing and demeanor of someone whose face was no stranger to the inside of a toilet pan in high school. He's looking for another 15 minutes of fame and apparently has no compunction about misrepresenting the private views of others. Once again, these were the PRIVATE views of others. You're a retired bird colonel. You'd have served under Clinton and Carter. I can only assume that you have a requisite level of professionalism and integrity to keep your private political views to yourself when it came to your work, but it didn't preclude you from engaging in gossip and scuttlebutt with your peers. How many times did you sit down and run through the hypotheticals of how you would approach things given the chance? How many times did you game out, by yourself or with others, how you would address an issue or problem given to someone else? With that in mind, how unusual would it be for someone in the media, talking to people in a similar line of work, to just idly discuss issues in terms such as (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Here's how you spin [X]..." What's more, it didn't take someone with the brains of an arch bishop to figure out that Sarah Palin would have been an absolute disaster as Vice President or, should the need arise, President. The points made in the emails about Palin about her lacking both experience and smarts to be involved in policy process at the highest levels of government were readily apparent to anyone the moment she opened her mouth on the national stage, and the view that the fact that she possessed a vagina was not sufficient qualification to represent the goals of the women's movement was also, broadly speaking, the consensus view within that community.
 
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