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Wednesday, April 02, 2003

This Is Why We Need Big Media

I'm assuming that the Weekly Standard counts as Big Media. Maybe not.

For example, InstaPundit refers us to this article pointing out the way in which some journalists at CENTCOM briefings use their questions to make propaganda statements, rather than to actually gain information.

Now, who but Big Media would ever have thought to point that out? Brilliant, simply brilliant!

I was going to write up a further post with more questions, but there's no point now that Big Media Has Spoken. It's my impression that the propaganda questions have gotten fewer as the days wear on. Perhaps word got around that if you were known for your grandstanding statements, the briefers would be able to do without your participation.

At the bottom of his piece, Last mentions a question Michael Wolff of New York magazine asks, in which he says, basically, that he doesn't think the briefings are much use and wants to know:

So I guess my question is, why should we stay? What's the value to us for what we learn at this million-dollar press center?

What Last doesn't tell you is that the transcript says there was "applause" in response to that question. (Which is kinda funny, in that in the comments to this item on Command Post, Kalle asks why none of the journalists cheered or clapped at the announcement of the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch. Poor, naive Kalle! Several people straighten him (or her) out. Those objective journalists aren't supposed to cheer the newsmakers. Why, that wouldn't be objective!)

I'll tell you one thing: CENTCOM really needs to get its act together about its website. It's ugly. It's slow to load. Items are not always easy to find. I suspect they thought that only Big Media journalists would be accessing these pages. They need to watch more CNN pieces about blogs.

Last also says:

On the one hand, it's frightening to realize that the global media operate on a professional level roughly equivalent to a bad college paper. But on the other hand, it's a little bit liberating: After all, with press like this, no wonder the rest of the world hates us--America really is besieged by a vast, left-wing conspiracy.

Actually, since 9/11 I've been wondering whether this is true. This is a much more paranoid idea than I am used to entertaining. But in the world's press I've seen that our motives are misrepresented, our failures trumpeted, our successes ignored. Whether this is just age-old distrust of the powerful, the result of a widespread leftist mindset among the press (a bit paranoid), or the dying embers of Soviet propaganda (very paranoid), I don't know. But as these questions show, the "impartial" press is anything but.