Sunday, February 08, 2004

Breaking the story

Bush AWoL blah, blah, blah. The national media has been hashing and rehashing the same set of allegations, accusations, and evasions for four years. They have developed or discovered absolutely nothing new in that time. Was it because there is nothing new to discover—or because they can’t be bothered to investigate or report on the facts when they don’t fit the script, or when there’s a juicy he-said-she-said to recount?

I think it’s clear beyond doubt that our mass media are in a period of appalling decadence. They have largely ceased to commit journalism: instead they photograph celebrities, rewrite press releases, and bloviate. They do not do the people’s business. And their hyperinflated egos prevent them from recognizing their failings themselves, or heeding their many critics—on the left and the right—who do recognize them.

Fortunately, we are no longer entirely at their mercy. Here is a damn fine piece of original reporting masquerading as a blog entry. Kevin Drum has found out more about Bush’s Guard service than all of the reporters of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, UPI, Knight Ridder, and Reuters combined. Is it the end of the story? No. But it looks like a trail marker that will lead us there.

I was going to close by asking, rhetorically, why am I not reading this on the front page of the New York Times? But the more imporant point, I now see, is that I’m not reading it on the front page of the Times—but I am still reading it. The mass media monopoly, whether they know it or not, got a taste of the future today. I don’t think they’ll like it. But we will.

Filed under: culture/blogs


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