Our Crappy Media

by Will on November 1, 2010

Having earlier expressed my complete lack of respect for David Broder, the ostensible (and ostentatious) “dean of journalism” in this country, I want to point out further how typical he is of our crappy media.

Broder is not asking, “What is good? What is true? What is wise?” He is not interested in talking, say, to middle-east experts about whether the proposed war would go well. They’d say no, and then Broder wouldn’t have a column. He is not interested in asking prominent economists whether spending on a third war would stimulate the economy enough to drive unemployment down. The economists would say that there are more useful things that we could spend the money on. Broder doesn’t want to hear that.

No, the only questions Broder is interested in asking is, “Who will win the next election? What actions could save incumbent X from defeat?” Electoral outcomes are all that interest him, and policy and events only interest him insofar as they will change electoral outcomes. His perverse disregard for truth and wisdom, and his perverse obsession with the “sport” of politics, lead him literally to suggest that the sitting president should kill a large number of people because it might ultimately win him votes. This is moral madness. Nobody should listen to this guy’s deranged advice, nor publish him.

And yet, Broder is typical of pundits. At all outlets, the reaction to events is, “whom does this hurt/help?” There is zero interest in checking the truth of what public figures say. There is zero interest in exploring the merits and demerits of proposed policy. Instead we have ESPN-style sportscasting of the political “game,” with periodic moments where cheerleaders advocate their party’s line with no regard for truth. And despite this high level of coverage, the American public is less aware of the issues and of policy proposals than in other similar countries such as Canada and Japan. Strange.

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