Brian Williams: The Emptiest Suit Offers Up More Nonsense

The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and does not reflect the views of any other TalkLeft poster.

I was going to write about the most inappropriate criticism of Time Magazine's choice of Person of the Year but Jamison Foser does the job:

[P]erhaps the weightiest complaint came from NBC's Brian Williams, who suggested in an essay in Time that the democratization of the media comes at great "cost to our democracy":
The problem is that there's a lot of information out there that citizens in an informed democracy need to know in our complicated world with U.S. troops on the ground along two major fronts. Millions of Americans have come to regard the act of reading a daily newspaper -- on paper -- as something akin to being dragged by their parents to Colonial Williamsburg. It's a tactile visit to another time ... flat, one-dimensional, unexciting, emitting a slight whiff of decay. It doesn't refresh. It offers no choice. Hell, it doesn't even move. Worse yet: nowhere does it greet us by name. It's for everyone.

Does it endanger what passes for the national conversation if we're all talking at once? What if "talking" means typing on a laptop, but the audience is too distracted to pay attention? The whole notion of "media" is now much more democratic, but what will the effect be on democracy?

The danger just might be that we miss the next great book or the next great idea, or that we fail to meet the next great challenge ... because we are too busy celebrating ourselves and listening to the same tune we already know by heart.
. . . "We're chosing cat videos over well-thought-out, well-reported evening newscasts," Williams sniffs. Which well-thought-out evening newscasts are those, exactly?

Brian Williams argues against Time's choice by pointing to the Media? Unfreakingbelievable.

And to top it all, while the Media generally has stunk to high holy heaven, Brian Williams is among the most notably awful journalist of the bunch. And anyone who has known his work, including his horrible work on local news in New York, can only shake their head and laugh at him. Indeed, it is a sign of how clueless he is that he dares to speak of "well thought out evening newscasts." I have no idea if Williams is biased, I do know he is not well informed, and not good at his job. That he criticizes Time's choice in the way he does is truly jawdropping.

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    what has he been watching? (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Joe Bob on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:43:11 PM EST
    I have to agree, 'well thought out evening newscasts' are not anything I have seen recently. I stopped regularly watching TV news in the late '80s because it was such a worthless and unreliable source of information. The only news I look to the TV for is live coverage of major stories like 9/11, the start of Iraq II or Hurricane Katrina, or election returns.

    Equally egregious is what Williams has to say about "information out there that citizens in an informed democracy need to know." Personally, I think broadcast news is about the last place people should look for that sort of thing. Secondly, I don't think NBC and Brian Williams are the best arbiters of what I do or don't need to know. What a frightening thought: watch Brian Williams for 30 minutes per day and you'll know everything you need to know.

    My Favorite GE...err NBC News moment... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 12:56:21 AM EST
    Was when Robert Bazell the "chief science correspondant" led off the news touting a study that said PCBs and Dioxin were not as dangerous as thought...while General Electric was fighting a lawsuit for not cleaning up the tons of the stuff they dumped in the Hudson River.

    Gosh, I wish I had seen this report BEFORE... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Bill Arnett on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 01:56:55 PM EST
    ...dioxin poisoning (Agent Orange exposure) almost ate me alive!

    The MSM is no longer pertinent or honestly informative for the average citizen. If you're looking for the truth the internet's tubes are the place to find it.

    FACTS are no longer honestly presented, and interpretation of the facts goes through so many filters as to be useless.

    Maybe this is a consequence of spending billions of dollars propagandizing the media and converting the "news readers" to maladministration stenographers, ya think?


    Nevertheless, the Time Mag deal was a joke... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by bx58 on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:02:31 AM EST
    It was spineless and insulting. Just like everything else you get from these people.

    We'd still be hearing about Chandra Levy if those planes didn't hit the WTC. Five soldiers died today in the cluster called Iraq, what do they talk about? Rosey and The Donald (LMAO) and the Duke rape case.

    You're right, if he thinks the internet is less serious than the mainstream media he's clueless.

    What's wrong with cat videos? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by ResidentMTurdstile on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:20:01 AM EST
    Williams' invidious comparison needs to be addressed: some cat videos are more well thought-out than Williams' newscasts; consider this example.

    It's a deluded, childish person... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:33:18 AM EST
    ...Who thinks he can define for everyone what news is, where they should watch it, what they should get from it.  It takes a brain of miniscule abilities to not realize how LARGE the world is and how SMALL it is at the same time.  His defective reasoning, that one-size-fits-all corporate broadpropagandacasts are better suited to such a diverse and changing world, is simply clearer evidence of a person who lives in an isolated, segregated environment and doesn't make an effort to get out of his comfort zone.

    William Hurt in "Broadcast News" has more insight.  Just sit on the tail of your jacket, Brian, and do your selling.

    well geez........................ (4.50 / 2) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 12:13:59 AM EST
    of course he's biased. if people stop paying attention to him, he'll be unemployed. how many real jobs are out there for someone with a degree in journalism?

    his comments are really a desperate plea for attention, disguised (poorly) as a critique of...........well, who, exactly? if i understand him correctly (and he's not real deep), he's essentially claiming that only newspapers and tv news programs are truly capable of informing the national discussion.

    aside from being a fatuous premise, it's demonstrably false. were that the case, no tv news program, or newspaper would have a web site as an adjunct. why bother?

    with the advent of the net, and easily d/l'd digital photography/video, damn near anyone can post news. to a large extent (and this has always been true of the MSM as well) one must take the data provided and analyze its meaning for yourself.

    so, what else is new?

    This is a fair criticism of Brian Williams (4.00 / 1) (#2)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:47:30 PM EST
    This is a fair criticism, devoid of ad hominem, of Brian Williams's statement. Ad hominem would be like, say, calling Williams an 'immoral pervert' as a way of 'criticizing' his journalism, informedness, etc.

    It's funny to talk about such matters when in fact what Williams says reminds me of Mortimer Adler running around trying to get people to study Aristotle.

    Perhaps the BBC term describing the likes of him.. (4.50 / 2) (#9)
    by rhbrandon on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 06:21:33 AM EST
    Is apt:

    "News reader."

    Williams isn't a journalist, as such, right now.

    He's a talking suit, selling a product, and that product is the NBC Evening News.

    Listening to him complain about consumers passing up his product in favor of one that is less about fancy packaging and more about quality content is a bit like listening to a "sales rep." at one shop-at-homne network complaining about another rival.

    Most of us at sites like this are looking for content, not presentation.


    I have to disagree (none / 0) (#16)
    by Al on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    what Williams says reminds me of Mortimer Adler running around trying to get people to study Aristotle.

    What an incredible coincidence. I was just this morning thinking of my dad who in his youth got together with his friends and formed a book club to read the classics, based on the list in Adler's "How to read a book".

    You can do a lot worse than read Aristotle and other classics, particularly in times like these. And frankly, I don't see how you can say "Brian Williams" and "Aristotle" in the same sentence.


    Al, the devil must be shivering (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:42:48 PM EST
    because you are right.

    I don't like Williams either BUT.... (1.33 / 3) (#1)
    by glanton on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:29:24 PM EST
    nonetheless when I read the paragraphs you pasted, BTD, I found myself agreeing with every word.  

    Your post strikes me as something of an ad hominem attack, BTD.  I mean, if you disagree with what he said, let's hear why.  

    Remember: even a#@holes are right, when they're telling the truth.

    Strange comment (4.50 / 2) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:11:54 PM EST
    He's right about what?

    His comments about the Internet (1.00 / 1) (#13)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:34:46 AM EST
    I for the most part agree with.  The blogosphere is fine and all, but really it's a forum sycophanting off of the MSM, how often does Original News comes off of the blogs?  

    So yes, it does often seem more like people simply "celebrating themselves" and their own individual opinions, and less like a real conversation or debate that is framed in a reasonable way.  

    And then, all jokes aside, I thought the Cat video analogy was pretty right on.  Though I would like for Williams to expalin to us why the television news would rather show us photos of, say, missing white women than coverage of issues, too.  But that's another story.

    The Time award was pretty retarded.

    I'm not saying the current netweork news or the big papers do a good job these days, but they at least represent the possibility.


    Welll you are wrong too (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 12:54:40 PM EST

    wrong about what, exactly? (none / 0) (#17)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:46:44 PM EST
    wrong that the networks and major newspapers represent the possibility for facilitating responsible debate of real issues?  

    Wrong for agreeing that much of the blogosphere involves little else besides "celebrating selves"?  

    Or just for the sin of agreeing with something Brian Williams has said?  

    BTD, I don't know how much time you spend on the blogosphere, but I spend quite a lot looking at stuff, and there's a lot less sociopolitical engagement going on in there than there is stuff like the "Cat videos" Williams mocks.  That is a fact beyond refutation.

    Which leads me to what I find most compelling about what Williams said.  There is this myth going around that the Internet represents true democratic principals, and while it could hypothetically be that, in reality the Internet in general is inarguably dominated by two things:

    Porn and shopping.  



    The famous some (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:49:49 PM EST
    The blogosphere is millions of people.

    Your point is a nonsequitor.

    The answer to your first 2 questions, yes and yes.


    If you don't see (1.00 / 1) (#20)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:00:32 PM EST
    The hugely narcissistic aspect of the blogosphere then you're either not paying attention to the blogosphere.

    And by the way, yes of course it's millions of people.  But so too do the newspapers and the Networks involve millions of people.  What we're discussing is more than raw numbers.  

    If you don't believe that Network News an the newspapers represent possibility, well that's your view, but the power these entities weild largely undermine it.  The drumbeat they produced paved the way for Bush's war, for example.  The blogosphere couldn't have done it with nearly the effect as television.  Television is still king, and that aint changing anytime soon.  Newspapers have lost a lot of heft but they still play a huge role in framing what the issues are etc.

    Imagine if Williams and his colleagues really did deploy such power for non malignant purposes.  They could, you know.  We shouldn't let them off the hook by playing simply dismissing them.  They have power to influence for good, far more than the millions posting pictures and videos of their pets, favorite rock stars, etc.


    Scratch (1.00 / 1) (#22)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:03:57 PM EST
    the word "either" from the first sentence of the last post.  Anyone who spends time surfing the blogs knows its inundation of narcissism.  That's the nature of the format for crying out loud.

    Speak for yourself. I find much better... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:29:57 PM EST
    and keener analysis of the days news from the internets, comin' down those tubes, than it is possible to find in the MSM any and every day of the week.

    If you believe stating your opinion and reading others with hope of edifying, educating, getting a feel for the opinion of others or just for the entertainment value is just an exercise in "narcissism", then from your point of view you must be correct with all the narcissistic nonsense you post to show that you are more knowledgeable, enlightened, and have the only world view worth consideration, i.e., where you say:


    Anyone who spends time surfing the blogs knows its inundation of narcissism.  That's the nature of the format for crying out loud.

    I, and the many other posters here, have opinions, we are free to state them, you are free to read and consider or not, agree or not, but it is the height of hypocrisy to label all us "anyones" as narcissistic when it is your clear intent to denigrate the opinions of others by condemning the media by which, for the first time in history, ordinary and extraordinary people alike may disseminate their opinions without having to go through any approval process or any other process geared to the elimination of information not favorable to any one particular constituency.

    And if you truly believe the nonsense that the internet is for naught but shopping and porn, well, I guess you need to get back to shopping for your porn while millions of people instead communicate, educate, commiserate, trade opinions, and otherwise take advantage of the freest media available to man.


    Oh! And Brian Williams is an idiot, IMO. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:32:06 PM EST
    So Bill you think (none / 0) (#29)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:01:01 PM EST
    That TalkLeft is representative of the blogosphere?  Sorry, but most of the blogs out there, the overwhelming majority in fact, are not political at all but more like personal diaries etal.  Moreover, most of the ones that ARE political have negligable traffic at best.

    Using our discussions here on TL as represntative of what goes on throughout blogs, let alone the Internet, is patently dishonest.  

    And thanks for the personal shot, I appreciate it.  Because I've noticed that porn and shopping factor hugely into the makeup of the Internet overall, does not make me a porn user or even an online shopper.  Just in case you were wondering.

    And as for your comment re Brian Williams, maybe you missed the part where I said I don't like him either, but that's not the point anyway.  By God, I don't care who it is, if someone says something I agree with I'm going to recognize their statement.  I've agreed with PPJ and other conservatives on this blog before, after all, because sometimes they say things I agree with, sort of like a blind groundhog finding an acorn every now and then.  

    Even George W. Bush got it right in 1999 when he declared that baseball was meant to be played in the daytime, on grass, and outside.


    Gee glanton.. (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:49:15 PM EST
    I almost choked up there for a second.


    BTW - I return the favor. You are right.

    But isn't declaring the blog we hang out on sorta like Williams??


    PPJ (none / 0) (#36)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 08:01:20 PM EST
    As I said, I think this blog is much more like an MSM outlet than it is like most blogs.

    Still much lighter traffic, of course, and also much better on content.  

    What I'm really after here is emphasizing that celebrating the blogosphere as some sort of replacement of MSM is self-defeating.  Sheer numbers of audience, and the overall television-intensive nature of the culture dictate the importance of all of us keeping the pressure on these people to improve the quality of their product.


    FYI (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 09:01:24 PM EST
    This is one of the highest trafficked political blogs.

    Don;t understand what you mean in this comment.


    Yes it's clear you (none / 0) (#42)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:47:51 PM EST
    don't understand.  But then maybe you're just pretending not to.

    When I said lighter traffic I was comparing TL to MSM Outlets, not other blogs.  I was also saying that, lighter traffic aside, TL in terms of what it does, resembles MSM more so than other blogs.  How hard is this to grasp?  Sheesh.

    Just being contrary for the sake of it, perhaps?


    What a nasty comment (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 09:48:39 AM EST
    Done with you.

    The internet ... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:18:06 PM EST
    ... is like any other media ... except we control it, not large corporations. If you don't like stuffonmycat.com, change the channel.

    If you like staying informed about current events you have hundreds of outlets to check, weigh and balance. You're not just stuck with what 10 large corporations want you to hear.

    Everytime faux news/bushco says how well the war is going, I balance it with someone who lives in and blogs from baghdad, and what the press around the world says.

    You also have people who fact check statements from politicians, ata  time when the media are all too ready to just swallow any lie with out question. This is called 'research.' Something fairly unbalanced reporters rarely do.

    You also have folks who do original reporting, have sources in gov't, but for one reason or another aren't employed by the MSM.


    Sailor (none / 0) (#37)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 08:06:25 PM EST
    "we control it" is a nice conceit, but with sites popping up at breakneck rates, nobody's controlling anything.  There's everything on the Internet from Nazi propaganda to the beauty of Sea Lions to, yes, Cat videos and an occasional well-thought out blog like this one.

    So gee, let's celebrate how we're all "getting a voice," even as the corporate MSM continues to drive the conversation.

    Time's award was one of the smuggest things I've ever seen.  They praised "us" for doing "their" job --and for free!(snicker, snicker)--even as they know that they are a major player in framing the conversation and that, like almost every other mega media outlet, they have let us down.  


    it's not a conceit (none / 0) (#49)
    by Sailor on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:43:07 PM EST
    "we control it" is a nice conceit, but with sites popping up at breakneck rates, nobody's controlling anything.
    Apparently you have a different definition of "we" than I do.

    Mine doesn't exclude anyone.


    IF I do see it (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:02:25 PM EST
    but do not think of it as important then what  is left of your point?

    And no, there are not MILLIONS of people working for the Media.

    There are in fact, millions of bloggers.


    There are millions of people (1.00 / 1) (#23)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:09:40 PM EST
    whose efforts contribute to the production of network television and newsprint, which by freakin' definition includes the hundreds of millions whose lives these media touch and inflience.

    Much more power to frame, and thus much more important, than the bloggers all the way around.  

    As for the comparatively small segment of political bloggers--where o where would they all be, including this very blog?????--without the MSM to which they perpetually link for their material?  Hmmmm?


    No there are not (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:12:52 PM EST
    millions of people whose efforts contribute to the Media's product, unless you are counting the audience.

    Cat videos (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:13:36 PM EST
    are not exactly the center of political blogging.

    You are changing what Williams said.


    BTD (none / 0) (#39)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 08:26:06 PM EST
    Again, political blogs are only a tiny fraction of the overall blogosphere.  The Cat Video reference was dead on.  And again, if you suppose otherwise than clearly you only visit a few political blogs, and probably only liberal ones at that.

    Also, am I to understand you right, that you can in fact see how narcissistic the blogosphere ultimately proves itself to be but, as you say, "do not care," and continue to defend the Time award anyway?

    Fun stuff, that.


    Miss the point utterly (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 09:02:26 PM EST
    Who cares if  there are stupid blogs, there are also good ones.

    There are NO good MSM outlets. None.


    And yet (none / 0) (#43)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:04:36 PM EST
    you describe Williams' comment as a "sniff."  What do you think you sound like here?

    I'll tell you what you sound like.  You sound like just because there are blogs out there that parrot your political view, you're ready to declare the irrelevance of television and print news.  

    No wonder seeing narcissism doesn't bother you!  


    Tell you what, like most people who visit here I got a helluva lot of serious problems with the way Networks cover stuff these days, with the way Newspapers operate.  But the idea that they're totally worthless now, that it's all about this cacophony of often anonymous and almost always unaccountable "voices" pounding away on their keyboards, what a sad little view.

    And by the way, for every one TL there are ttens of thousands of sites out there that will never have an ounce of impact, ever.  And most of them deserve not to have an impact, I would guess. Then that's not counting the Little Green Footballs of the world, the Townhall blogs, the Powerlines, etc.  Hyper partisan echo chambers for the Right that make Brian Williams' nightcast's look like calls to eliminate homelesness.  

    God if there's anything more pathetic than Time's pompous award and the article attending it, it's the arguments I've been seeing lately defending the award.

    I'm done discussing this. Merry Christmas everyone, if I don't get a chance to visit again before.  Drive safe, all that.

    Hey!  Instead of watching the Parade on TV maybe we can all just blog instead about what the floats would look like if we were looking at them!


    No I did not (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 09:50:28 AM EST
    You are as inacccurate as Williams. I called it nothing but wrong.

    You are making stuff up now.

    This must be you evidencing the problems with blogs.e


    My bad (none / 0) (#46)
    by glanton on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 10:10:22 AM EST
    " "We're chosing cat videos over well-thought-out, well-reported evening newscasts," Williams sniffs. Which well-thought-out evening newscasts are those, exactly?  "

    You approvingly quoted someone elsew who described it as a "sniff," and then proceed to "sniff" like a three year old, There's no good Media but blogs!  None!

    BTW, you're not very interested in engaging what people write in response to your posts, are you?  You just go for the ole dismissal in one or two lines and then hope nobody will notice what's happening in the thread.

    That's too bad, because you often rasie interesting points, and could undoubtedly do a good job responsing to objections, if you were to try.

    Well, no biggie. Few arguments are satisfied by common ground agreement on this blog, that's why it's so cool when it happens.  

    Merry Christmas, BTD.


    MSM v Blogoshpere: No contest (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 03:48:07 PM EST
    BTD, I don't know how much time you spend on the blogosphere, but I spend quite a lot looking at stuff, and there's a lot less sociopolitical engagement going on in there than there is stuff like the "Cat videos" Williams mocks.  That is a fact beyond refutation.

    Are you OK glanton? Your arguments seem off today. It is not that there are millions of uninteresting things out there in every form imaginable, it is that there are interesting things out there. That is what to focus on.

    That there are endless volumes of junk out there is nothing new, what is surprising it that you would think that matters. Business as usual.

    It amazes me that you think that the blogosphere is like a shopping mall and porn theater rolled up into one.

    I, like most of the people I know spend most of internet time reading, discussing events and politics and keeping the collective fires burning. Don't you see the power in this?


    Squeaky, it is true (none / 0) (#30)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:14:24 PM EST
    that I haven't made my case as well as I have made others on this blog.  It happens.  Perhaps my prosaic awkwardness here stems from the fact that it's a pretty unweildy topic, the Internet.  But like a lot of people I thought premise underpinning the Time award--that the Internet, and blogs beneath that larger rubric, as they currently operate represent positive democratic action-- was profoundly stupid, and I suspect that's what Williams was getting at as well.

    1)Blogs are only a fraction of the larger Internet.

    2)Political blogs are only a fraction of the blogosphere.

    3)Well thought out, influential, heavily trafficked blogs like Talk Left are a mere fraction of the political blogs.

    4)Indeed, a blog like TL is more like the Network news than it is like most other blogs--the only differene being that we get to come on here an comment after a primary poster lays down the headline.  This is an important addendum, I'll grant you.  But it doesn't make TL representative of most political blogs.

    5)I approach the blogosphere in much the same spirit as you do.  You should know this considering how long we've both been conversing on here.  But I submit that we are in a considerable minority on this.

    And finally,

    6)Williams stated that "we're chosing cat videos over well-thought-out, well-reported evening newscasts," and that's hard to argue with, in my view.  As I;ve said, though, Williams is being hypocritical here since the Networks keep focusing on things like Missing White Women, which is more like a Cat Video than an important story.

    My agreement with Williams then has to do not with what he personally does who he works for or who he is, but rather the possibilities to which he alludes.

    We should not take the pressure off of the MSM, it has a bigger influence, and therefore bigger responsibility, than the "millions" who post blog diaries and won the Time award.


    The possibility... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:33:03 PM EST
    You mention that TV news can be a positive force, but it hasn't been. I would ask why hasn't it been? The answer to that is the crux of the problem.

    The answer is that the TV News departments are a money making venture. And cat videos and missing white women and all the Bennifer/Brangelina bull$hit is what sells. So you will NEVER see any bigtime push for hard news coming out of the moneymaking venture that is TV news. If Brian Williams will come clean and admit that BEFORE he retires, then I might listen to what he has to say about the internet.


    Who pays?? (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:58:02 PM EST
    If the news doesn't make money, who is going to pay for it? And that questions stands whether the news is "white women" or "cat videos" or "learned discussions about why Bush should be impeached."

    On the news front the impact that the Internet could actually make an impact is with local news and events. Most people know more about national news than in their own preceint. If we can agree that any democratic reform must come from the bottom, then just maybe early knowledge of various bad guys with political ambition will shut them down before they make it to Congress.


    Ernesto (none / 0) (#38)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 08:14:10 PM EST
    Yes, that's close to it, except that I happen to believe that oftentimes "this is what sells" is only an excuse.

    Maybe, just maybe, well-done coverage of the Health Care crisis in this country would sell just as well as Missing White Woman stories.  Maybe, just maybe, these a-holes could have made just as much money giving equal time and space to critics during the run-up to Iraq, instead of simply beating drums.

    The possibilities of television and the newpaper industry are not dead, or obsolete, just because of the Internet.  Indeed, as PPJ suggests in his response to you, the Internet at it's best would seem to have an entirely different role to play altogether.  Because it's too all-over-the-board to frame statewide disourse, let alone national discourse.  That's the power ot network television, that's why they get all those economic breaks, because they (hypothetically)are collective entities.  They betray us at every turn but their power ought not to be ignored.

    Finally, I wish people would stop talking about the Internet and blogs as though it was all somehow less profit-driven than everything else in this country.  Advertising and traffic go hand in hand on blogs, that's the bottom line.

    And the single biggest use of the Internet continues to be what it always was, shopping.  Plenty of people did their CHristmas shoppinbg online this year, for example, that have never visited a blog.  But I bet few of them can say they never watched CBS.


    You hit the 2nd Reason... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 10:29:40 AM EST
    You are correct. It's not just the moneymaking aspect that is the problem...and I realized after I put that out there that there's something more important (which I touched on with my first post in this thread way up there).

    The second reason you will be betrayed at every turn by the MSM is because they are serving the interests that own them, so they are constantly pushing the Wall Street/corporate agenda. Why else does Hugo Chavez get called a dictator? Because he is against IMF policy and he offers an alternative to it that is not as profitable to U.S. business interests. So the MSM has the job of vilifying him.

    This is the same reason that there are no real debates on a multitiude of economic issues on the MSM. Everyone that is invited to speak agrees on some basic issue such as free trade or invading Iraq and the only debate allowed is in the details of how the policy is being implemented. They will never allow real debates on these issues because that doesn't suit the interests of those who this news is created by and intended for. You and I are excluded. We don't have a choice in the matter AND WE NEVER WILL. The internet, despite any inherent problems, is the only hope we have to find a voice against the loud little handful of big-monied voices.

    And comparing what the MSM does in terms of advertising to a blog site that makes a comparative pittance on advertising is hardly a comparison worth making in the context of this debate. And consider who the sponsors are. You don't see Merck buying up ads for Talk Left like they do for the network news and you don't see ExxonMobil underwriting the cost to TalkLeft like they do for the PBS newshour.

    I've subcribed to FAIR for about 8 years now. A lot of the problems I am citing are exquisitely documented there.


    Still puzzled (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:18:08 PM EST
    Glanton, I just do not get your fixation here. Why focus on the lowest common denominator? There are always many things that people do, watch, sell, write, etc. that are tremendously uninteresting. So what? Nothing new there.

    Why focus on drivel, when we have an outlet, and inlet, for interesting stuff that might just include a chance to empower ourselves?

    Maybe I am missing something here because I don't have a TV and don't suscribe to any MSM toiletpaper. I never have even heard of Williams.

    The political blogosphere may be minute compared to the rest but those that choose to think and take action and stay awake have always been a very small minority and will continue to be so.  


    squeaky, how can you have any kind of (none / 0) (#61)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 03:52:03 PM EST
    opinion if you don't, at least, keep the MSM in view?

    View (none / 0) (#66)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 03:36:32 PM EST
    How can I have any kind of opinion......? Not sure what you are getting at here, but I do not miss the bobbble heads spurting out the latest fashion of the day aka "news" in order to sell soap.

    You on the other hand seem to lap it up and your 'opinions' reflect it.


    Internet is the new wave (none / 0) (#11)
    by plumberboy on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 08:39:52 AM EST
    I agree the news media don't get it you can watch any one of the big three and recieve the same headlines they all seem to beat to the same drum no real investigating or reporting.

    Don't look now (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:51:33 AM EST
    RF, but Jack Welch has been gone for a couple of years or so....

    I mean since we are talking about information from the Internet...accuracy, etc.


    Of course the MSM are defending their turf (none / 0) (#18)
    by Al on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:47:11 PM EST
    It's their livelihood. The possibility that their audience might evaporate when they realize they can look for information and think for themselves, makes people like Brian Williams wake up in a cold sweat at night. Good.

    Since Gutenberg invented the printing press... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Bill Arnett on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 02:11:38 PM EST
    ...in 1436 A.D. there has never been a media so open to any and everyone who wishes to express themselves in print.

    Just as the priesthood and royalty lost the ability to control knowledge by controlling what information was released to the world by way of books, MSM now sees its own demise as the repository of instant knowledge and interpreter of current world events.

    It frightens people like Brian Williams to be a very small fish in a very large ocean of information, unable to inject his or his news writers opinion into the news in the public domain, or filter it so that the interpretation disguises the true nature and meaning of the facts.

    Knowledge is power, and those that have the power want to retain and control access to knowledge for their benefit.

    No longer just for Righty blogs: (none / 0) (#52)
    by glanton on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 02:36:00 PM EST
    MSM now sees its own demise as the repository of instant knowledge and interpreter of current world events

    Yes, it's all over for television and newspapers.  Except blogger nation would appreciate it if they stuck around as a courtesy gesture since we all need them to link to, at least for any information beyond cat videos, family pictures, and diaries chronicling how it feels to be occupying whatever place in life said blogger happens to currently occupy.

    Say, oh you prophets of the future, on this thread celebrating Time's Award--where will you get your info when the links are dead?  And don't you understand that this whole conversation going on across the country was in fact initiated not by some blogger but by a natioanl magazine that reaches millions?  

    Most posters on this thread are playing into the Right and don't even know it.  Next thing you know you're all going to start echoing the libertarian claptrap about the death of public education, since the booming phenomenon of home schooling has after all made it obsolete.  Such rhetoric distracts us from addressing the very real problems in public education, because why address these problems if the whole thing is dying anyway?

    Why hold television, corporate newspapers and magazines accoubtable if they're all now less important than those highly qualified and conversation-framing journalists, Joe and Jane Anonymous from Anywhere?


    No, WE don't (none / 0) (#53)
    by Sailor on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 03:10:13 PM EST
    we all need them to link to
    You might need to suck on the tit of American MSM, but a discriminating reader might also check out world wide viewpoints and folks who actually fact check the MSM.

    A lot of 'bloggers' do it for free, a lot of bloogers and traditional media take money to support what they do.

    But if you take their money and change what you say/do, or the corporations only hire you because they know you are a mediawhore who gets paid to lay they want you to, then that's a different story.

    Now we have a choice.

    Such rhetoric distracts us from addressing the very real problems in public education, because why address these problems if the whole thing is dying anyway?
    Why are you screaming?

    If you think those questions are important, start a blog and tell us your view. You have just as large a footprint in blogtopia as they do.

    Quit bitc*ing, get off your a$$, find some stats or do some interviews and present your findings.

    I really don't understand what problem you have with equality.


    Sailor (none / 0) (#54)
    by glanton on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 03:30:00 PM EST
    Take TalkLeft, which you and I have both been partiocipating in for a long time.  90% of the posts on this blog come from newspapers, network, etc.  Jearlyn finds a story she thinks is important, links to it, and then makes her case.  Then we respond.  That's how it works, that's the heart of the political blogosphere.

    At its best, in my view, the political blogosphere serves as a watchdog of the MSM, showing what it is up to, putting pressure on it, etc.  But the suggestion that some sort of replacement is in the works is a huge reach, and if you want to assert something like this, my friend, it is you who neds to show data as proof.  Again, this whole conversation is brought to you courtesy not of BTD's original brain but rather Time Magazine, to which we are all responding.

    Now.  Like you I am participating in a conversation here and I stated my view, just like you are stating yours.  I boldface not to scream but because people here seem to either misunderstanding my point or ignoring it.  You, for example, mock the boldface but fail to address the public ed analogy.  That's too bad.  I'm used to conservatives on this blog treating me this way, not people like you.  But then, I guess everybody has their botbuttons.  Perhaps you are so married to the idea of the blogosphere as the second coming of the French Revolution that you just cannot bear anyone pointing out its limitations.

    My purpose here is not to declare blogs obsolete or even to attack them, but rather to point out its substantive limitations and to argue that all of you who are so ready to declare the death of MSM are not only echoing, right down the freakin' line, such Righty bastions as Little Green Footballs but also A)Dead wrong and B)running the risk of letting the powerful MSM off the hook.

    Just like public education, the MSM and its powerful influence on our lives aint going away.  We can use the blogs to challenge, improve, and pressure these Outlets but we aren't making them obsolete in any way.  If my pointing this out sounds like an assault on egalitarianism to you, then that's pretty strange, but it won't change the truth of it.



    I think I got it. (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 05:49:46 PM EST
    You're saying, in essence, that the problem isn't the MSM, but the people who are too uninformed to actually know the MSM is lying to them?

    No (none / 0) (#56)
    by glanton on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 06:09:51 PM EST
    There are lots of problems with the MSM as all commenters on here probably agree, and nobody on here has been a more consistent critic of it than I have.  I remember lots of threads over the last couple of years where I joined commenters like Tampa Student in decrying the corporate consolidation of outlets, for example.

    My point on this thread is that MSM is far from obsolete, whatever wet dreams some may cherish.  I am all in favor of working hard to pressure Networks and Newspapers to shine light where light needs to be shined, and to skewer them for distracting us with crap like the Shiavo fiasco and the cult of the Missing White Woman. But none of this is to be accomplished if we start to doubt the undeniable power, the potential for harm and even the potential good, that Institutions like CBS, The Washington Post, and Time embody.

    Television especially.  It's power has been exponentially magnified, not diminished, during the same years that have witnessed the Internet explosion.  Look at FOX and other 24-Hour News Channels (stay alert and stay with Fox).

    Now, after throwing up, for a much more hopeful sign, look at HBO with people like Bill Maher; better yet, look at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  Indeed, I would argue that Comedy Central's prime time lineup, for all its undoubted silliness, have been an extremely powerful force for organizing political passions and a concern for justice in this nation's young.  


    Allright Then (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 07:58:57 AM EST
    I think what inspires the debate with your POV on TV news is that a lot of people here find it irrelevant to them. There is, in fact, a growing number of people who do not get their news directly from network TV. And the word "directly" is very important here, because if you want to run the meme that all the blogs are just regurgitating network news, you're missing the very important point that it is undergoing a much needed critical analysis by those blogs and their commentators. A critical analysis that is grossly missing from the networks. That is the real beauty of the internet and I believe it is why people like Brian Williams tend to badmouth the internet. Their monopoly on interpreting the news is OVER.

    That's true... (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 04:13:43 PM EST
    Their monopoly on interpreting the news is OVER.

    That's true, but only because the MSM will chip in by reporting the disagreement/whatever brought forward. Think no further than Swift Boat Vets and the infamous fake TANG memo.

    As for as "getting their news from the blog," I hate to say this but on the whole the MSM is much more accurate than the blogs. Both are guilty of over  reporting, under reporting and slanting.


    Errr... (none / 0) (#64)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 11:58:48 PM EST
    but on the whole the MSM is much more accurate than the blogs.

    I guess "on the whole" doesn't include things such as Iraqi WMD, now do it?


    Whooosh! Right over his head. The U.S. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Bill Arnett on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 12:50:53 PM EST
    media has been corrupted beyond belief and usefulness, but through the internet we can now consult international sources to compare and check against the drivel we get from the MSM that has made itself irrelevant to the average citizen trying to stay informed about the most vile and secretive maladministration in history? Do you really think Brian Williams or any other of the current news readers even CARE what the facts are so long as they can gain and keep access to those in power?

    You have made crystal clear your opinion that the internet sucks, is nothing more than an echo chamber for the MSM, that, in your opinion, it is clear that shopping and pornography are the main use of the internet, and that jane and Joe Anonymous from Anywhere are incapable of informed thought, the expression of ideas, the intelligence to provide keen analysis, and that bloggers are stupidly falling into some kind of trap set-up by the Right.

    Then you set-up a strawman argument regarding education that has zip to do with the internet and is a facetious argument.

    All this does beg this question: With your obvious contempt for the internet and bloggers, with you certitude that the MSM is vastly superior, and that the internet will dry up and fade away without input from the MSM, WHY DO YOU BOTHER TO DENIGRATE YOURSELF BY SINKING TO THE LEVEL OF US BLOGGERS who state opinions that cannot possibly match those of the MSM hacks?

    Really. Why bother? I'm genuinely curious why you waste your time trying to edify people who obviously lack the intelligence and maturity to decide these things for themselves?

    This will sound insulting, it isn't meant to be, but you sound just like bush/cheney saying 70% of Americans are just too ignorant to understand what is at stake in Iraq, a position I find to be patently arrogant beyond belief, and the MSM helps push that propaganda. But isn't that what you mean when you say:

    Say, oh you prophets of the future, on this thread celebrating Time's Award--where will you get your info when the links are dead?

    That's the point of the internet, now that it has been established it can never die, and it will be impossible for those who wish to do so to prevent news spreading around the world at light speed,  to be interpreted by each individual, without editing, suppression of ideas, filters,and propaganda.


    Bill (none / 0) (#60)
    by glanton on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 03:23:25 PM EST
    Merrry Christmas first of all.

    Much of what you have said in the above post is far more similar to what I've been saying than you seem to think.  Maybe like BTD, you are just so incensed that i am finding soemthing of value in a comment by Brian Williams that you are not willing to go any further with it.

    I have said several times that the blogosphere plays a useful watchdog role, provides news modes and cahnnels of interpretation, adds voices, etc.  I have also consistently added the fact that this role does not consitute a replacement of MSM power.  A valuable check, most certainly, but not a replacement.

    And you know well that I neve said the Internet sucks.  It is patently true though that ifninitely more bandwith on the Internet goes for shopping and porn than for political blogging.  And then of course there a a millionfold other uses of the Internet that have nothing to do with any of these things.

    Time magazine said, to paraphrase, that the bloggers are doing their job for them, and for free (cue triumphant sentimental music).  This is a retarded statement, I continue to maintain, as few bloggers are politicalo or even concern themselevs with News at all, and even the ones who do devote to these things are overhwleminglyh linking to MSM sources.  These things are facts, not positions I am taking.

    As for your and others' implication that I am an elitist: again, it is totally eerie how the deeper this conversation goes, the more symmetry develops between you guys and the Right.  You're an elitist if you think the creationists in Kansas don't have equal authority as the Scientific community.  You're an elitist if you believe that the homophobes are simply dead wrong.  You were an elitist during the runup to the Iraq War if you opposed it, because Joe Six Pack was the real Patriot.  Etc.

    Stating that some people know what they're talking about and others don't may be a mark of elitism, if so, then I'm an elitist.  NBC, CBS, ABC, and all major Newspapers as far more qualified to tell us information about world events than the average blogger.  Which is proven, AGAIN, byt the fact that every political blog I have ever seen, Left Right and everywhere in between, derives the majority of its analyses by first LINKING to places like Time Magazine, CNN, etc.  

    (MSM, by the way, is of course far better qualified to discuss world events than cesspools like Little Green Footballs, a site whose traffic by the way, outstrips that here at TL.)

    You and BTD and others here, in essence, strike me as arguing for pure populism, which is revolting to me.  Pure populism would dictate that the perspectives at LGF are just as valid as the perspectives here at TL, which is ridiculous to say the least. (boldface for you, sailor)

    You snarkily ask why I even bother entering discussions here.  I have given one of the reasons why I do so, and I will here give it again, in case you're actually doing me the courtesy of rreading my post this time: political blogs like this have a wonderful capacity for energizing people towards pressuring, cleaning up powerhouse Outlets in the MSM, even as we at the same time attempt to counter the cacophony of trash that is also out there on the Internet seeking to do the same thing.

    It is a broad game, spelling many things.  But one thing it damn sure doesn't spell is the death knell of television.


    I wasn't being snarky, I was, and am, (none / 0) (#67)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 02:09:28 PM EST
    ...genuinely interested in reading everyone's opinions, including yours, and I agree with your supposition that we are in more agreement than easily meets the eye.

    I think maybe I just hold the media to be more contemptuous than you do and of less service to me by far than it seems to be for you. Hey, different strokes, etc., but no harm done.

    Have a happy New Year, but if I could beg one favor it would be to respectfully request that you not look for insult where none was/is intended.


    I would looooove to see... (none / 0) (#59)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 01:47:42 PM EST
    Each and every article put out by the MSM on the internet OPEN TO COMMENTS. How wonderful it would be to have the ability to question, for example, Judith Miller's assertions in the run up to the Iraq invasion, or the latest Washington Post or New York Times article that parrots the Bushies progaganda on Iraq, Hugo Chavez, etc. etc.

    If the MSM wants to avoid being avoided by a growing number of people, they will make it possible for us to make their editorial intent transparent to all. I won't hold my breath for that day.

    No insight really - just this - (none / 0) (#63)
    by Kitt on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 05:27:40 PM EST
    you guys provided a very good read thru the comments. It was actually great.

    (Gutenberg is one of my 'favorite' people. I actually won an academic prize for stating the case on why he was someone who helped change the world.)