Wednesday, May 18, 2005

MSM Hubris

OpinionJournal follows up yesterday's excellent piece on the culture of the mainstream media with another good effort on how the MSM, which rose to the its greatest glory in reporting on Vietnam and Watergate, started nearly immediately to fall from those heights.

The obsession with Vietnam and Watergate is central to the alienation between the press and the people. After all, these were triumphs for the crusading press but tragedies for America. And the press's quest for more such triumphs--futile, so far, after more than 30 years--is what is behind the scandals at both Newsweek and CBS.

The article quotes Howard Fineman, Newsweek's chief political correspondent (ironically) who adds:

The crusades of Vietnam and Watergate seemed like a good idea at the time, even a noble one, not only to the press but perhaps to a majority of Americans. The problem was that, once the AMMP [the American Mainstream Media Party] declared its existence by taking sides, there was no going back.

Because the US government misled in Vietnam and lied in Watergate therefore the government (especially the right) must always be lying. The problem is the MSM accepted that premise as a 'moral template' and it has colored their reporting for a generation. The problem is much of the rest of the country excluding liberal bastion s in the Northeast and West Coast just do not see it that way.

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