Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Priests of Amen-Reagan

Each week Charles Pierce demonstrates again that he is one of the most eloquent proponents of compassion, logic, and creative obscenity in the journalistic world.  Ending a particularly excellent rant on how the Republican party used racism to shoehorn itself into power, he's un-inclined to let the not-insane off easy, just because they woke up and began to smell the dead elephant in the room:
"Now that the national Republican party is solely the province of meathead politicians and radio maniacs, there are "sensible" conservatives who are alarmed by what they see. It should be agreed upon in our politics that these people drift into the wilderness for a while and muse upon where their movement has led them. But the first thing they all should do is apologize to the nation for choosing to take a course 45 years ago in opposition to the transcendant moral issue of America. They prospered through bigotry, and then through a deft ability to package it, and they made the ensuing four decades immeasurably crueler as a result.There's not enough sackcloth in the world for these clowns."
Mmeanwhile, Rick Perlstein, in an interview with Greg Marx at the Columbia Journalism Review, pisses in the Washington Post's punchbowl, while explaining how the current attack on ACORN, supported by nothing more than the Right's bald-faced lies, has been so effective:
"RP: The job of a newspaper is to tell the truth without fear or favor, whether that truth ends up advantaging conservatives, or liberals, or Zoroastrians or Masons.
GM: Do you find anything legitimate in the idea that trying to incorporate conservative perspectives could bring a paper closer to the truth than it might otherwise be?
RP: Sure, of course. But what does this ACORN story have to do with conservative perspectives?
Everything has to be understood in historical context. Unless you grasp the history of conservatives attempting to appeal to newspaper editors’ guilt about being liberal—which has been around since Spiro Agnew—then you can’t tell these kinds of stories, because all that is part of the story. And unless you look at the repeated pattern of smear-driven narratives in presidency after presidency—which turn out, in the end, not to implicate anyone—then you’re not telling the story...
GM: I think what’s being expressed is a sort of felt need to compensate for the perceived fact that journalists don’t see the world through the same prism as members of the conservative movement do.
RP: I would say that journalists’ job is not to see the world through the same prism as the conservative movement, or a different prism than the conservative movement. It is to tell the truth without fear of favor. And if the truth makes conservatives look bad, devil take the hindmost. And if it makes liberals look bad, devil take the hindmost. It’s just too easy—and if you read my work, it’s been too easy for four decades—for conservatives to exploit their ability to create a sense that the media are biased in favor of liberalism in order to manipulate the media, in order to get the stories they want told told in the way they want. It’s a strategy—you can see the memos in which people lay it out. And unless that strategy is reported on, and treated as part of the story, then you are not reporting on what’s actually happening in the real world."
All of which is music to the ears of those of us who fell down the rabbit hole back in 1980.  And all of which might make one damned bit of difference if anyone in this doofus Pantomime we mistake for a national dialogue was willing to humble him- or herself before the truth.  Voltaire advised, "When we hear news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation." Sadly, the high priests of journalism stopped giving that long ago.

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