Thursday, August 25, 2005

Austin Bay Critiques the MSM

Austin Bay makes some great points in his response to Jay Rosen’s question to Austin related to the Bush Administration’s relationship with and tactical approach towards the “press”:


Here is Rosen’s question:

My questions for you. Do you think rollback has been happening to the press under Bush, 2001-05? Or is my description off? And if there is press rollback, is it a wise policy, a necessary one?

Bay has a great and insightful response to the question with several highlights I think:

So who is “the special interest group?” Here’s what I think the Bush Administration means by “the Press,” and I think it intersects with a definition Jay would grant has a degree of validity: The NY-DC-LA (Nid-Claw) axis that dominated American political and cultural information from the late 1920s to the mid-1990s.
What are the Nid-Claws most noticeable characteristics? Urban? Yes. Politically liberal? According to the received wisdom of polls, nine out of ten members of “the national press” say they are Democrats. Culturally liberal? Return to the description “urban.” When I lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the early 1980s, I knew precisely six other Reagan Republicans. I was the only one who’d say it loud and say it proud.

my comments( the old guard and the fabric that made them )

The memory of old institutional successes deeply affects the NY-DC-LA axis today. Two great gotcha successes drive the national press: Vietnam and Watergate. The Bush Administration thinks these “press templates” utterly distort today’s world. Some old guard media institutions operate on a “paper template”: a fossilized notion that information is still disseminated at the speed of the postman or delivery boy.

(two old tired stories and the bias they now employ, hang-over and prevent the old guard from moving forward with the times)

The Vietnam and Watergate rules are simple and cynical. Rule One: Presume the U.S. government is lying—especially when the president is a Republican. Rule Two: Presume the worst about the U.S. military—even when the president is a Democrat. Rule Three: Allegations by “Third World victims” are presumptively true, while U.S. statements are met with arrogant contempt.

(sound like the MSM but also like the platform of every nut job extreme left organization in existence does it not?)

the “watchdog” model. “Watchdog” (forgive me) begs a number of questions, including questions about the watchdog. Who does the watchdog watch? How does it watch? How does it bark? At whom does it bark? Like the Hound of the Baskervilles that was strangely silent, how often does the watchdog not bark? Does the NY-DC-LA watchdog bark at Democratic and Republican presidents with equal ferocity? Is it even a watchdog, or is it a watch-pack, or watch-herd. (Herd is a more apt description of the press descending on Aruba to report on a missing tourist or hanging out in Santa Barbara while Michael Jackson faces a jury.)

(I sincerely hope that members of the Post Dispatch read Bays post – to be a true watch dog you have to bark at democrat’s not just republicans)

There are many additional outstanding points. The whole thing if you have not already done so. Its point on as it relates to today’s MSM.