The Myth Of The Free Press

Yesterday, on the Blog Talk Radio show with John Hawkins, he asked me whether the press should just give up the pretense and be open about their bias. My response was that intelligent people could perceive a bias already, but that yes, the press should just be open about their bias and be done with it.

Jeff Goldstein writes today about the problem:

For my part, I’d just like to again reiterate that, should the press be allowed to comport itself this way under the current mythology that it is dedicated to “objectivity,” then every election will be necessarily skewed — if not by Evan Thomas’ infamous 15 percentage points, than at least by a number significant enough that it could very well be the deciding factor in every major election.

At which point, we’re dealing with no more than simulacrums of free elections, and the idea that we live in a democratic republic is but a useful fiction we tell ourselves as we slide ever more toward western European socialism and away from the principles this country was founded upon.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. But my suggestion would be either a press that surrenders the pretense of objectivity all together, or else some brave upstart looking for market share to come in with a clean slate of dedicated reporters who are taught not to “frame” facts into narratives that deliver “lessons,” but are rather instructed to report basic facts, almost genealogically — and without even the trappings of narrative.

Even then, omission and sequencing can be used to affect interpretation; but at least such things are easily recognizable when the tropes of “storytelling” are entirely removed.

The last part, the omissions, are what worry me. Currently, it’s what we don’t know about Obama that will hurt us and what the press seems utterly disinterested in reporting.

Cross-posted at MelissaClouthier.com

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