What Is Being Missed Regarding The Bill Moyers Indictment Of The Media

In the much, and rightly, acclaimed Bill Moyers program on the Media and Iraq, while Moyers hit all the high notes, I think folks have failed to emphasize a critically important part of the story. Some are missing the fact that the Media stopped doing fact gathering long before the post 9/11 period. In fact, as Tom Shales reports, Moyers shows us then CNN head Walter Isaacson saying just that but seems not pursue the matter:

Former CNN president Walter Isaacson tells Moyers: "One of the great pressures we're facing in journalism now is, it's a lot cheaper to hire thumb-suckers and pundits and have talk shows on the air than actually have bureaus and reporters."

But Isaacson understates the case. His reporters, as do almost all reporters, print or electronic, simply do he said/she said journalism. How many times do you hear "the Republicans say, but the Democrats say" without even a nod at considering what the ACTUAL FACTS are? Every single day in virtually every report. and this was hardly a phenomenon developed in the post-9/11 era. As I have written, it is something that became the norm in the 1990s:

What follows is my take on this, from personal observation, not linking to evidence (that is a real project) but I think a fair and factual appraisal of what happened.

It appears to me that what Bob Somerby is discussing, and what Kevin's strawman (with Shafer) avoids is the uptick in media incompetence through the 1990s. "What a coincidence?" you might say. The Media started to suck when Clinton was President. Well, yes and no. Let me state an apostasy sure to ban me from liberal paradise: There was, in the partisan conventional political sense -- a liberal bias in the Media against Republicans and conservatives in the 1970s through the late 1980s. (My explanation of why I think so is Note 1 in extended) Not in the progressive radical sense of course.

But when Clinton started his rise to prominence in 1992, this all changed, and in the strangest way at first. Most of it was personal, not policy. Indeed, on policy, Clinton was one of the least COVERED Presidents in history. There are alot of reasons for that but I think David Brock has his finger on it better than anyone else.

Because from Clinton's time, the Right Wing Smearers, the Swifties of their time, went from just bitching at the Media, to actually creating stories for the Media. Much of the Mighty Wurlitzer we see today was transformed into the story churners we now know - then it was The Spectator, The Moonie Times, Limbaugh and finally, the piece de resistance - Roger Ailes' Fox News Channel.

And THAT is when the actual QUALITY as well as a real anti-Dem bias in the Media came to be. Because not only was the Wurlitzer bleating about the SCLM, not only were they creating and feeding stories about the Clintons, all viciously personal, almost never about policy (gays in the military and health care being the only 2, and the Right's first successful destruction of fair reporting in a major way.), they now had their own news outlets, with the Kingpin kicking ratings ass and taking names.

The other critical factor? The New York Times and its Editorial Page Editor Howell Raines, may he burn in hell. Raines HATED Clinton. I still have no idea why. Raines' hatred spilled into the news pages, Jeff Gerth anyone, and from there to the whole of the Establishment Media. The endless investigations began and voila Ken Starr replaces Robert Fisk. The rest is history.

The Media became, almost overnight, simply horrible. Unfair, incompetent, shallow and harmful. And continue so to this day.

Not only did it become a cowed biased press, even if it tried to be fair, the best it could muster was "he said, she said" journalism. I defy anyone to describe the journalism practiced from 1994 to the present day as better than any other period after World War II. No fucking way.

And Bob Somerby's points, or so it seems to me, are exactly that. I don't think Somerby has ever made a comparison of today's journalism with any mythical Golden Age. I know we don't. But Bob and I remember the press PRIOR to 1994, and it was many degrees better, at its worst, than the last 11 years.

Take one example: a comparison of the runup to Desert Storm with the coverage of the Iraq Debacle. First, in Desert Storm, Iraq had INVADED a sovereign nation and was threatening Saudi Arabia with a huge well equipped Army. Bush 41 went to the UN, built a true coalition that included even Arab countries, including SYRIA, gave Saddam many outs, and tried to avoid war up until January 9, when Tariq Aziz refused to take Bush's letter to Saddam. And still the Media was skeptical and covered Bush 41 critically, questioning "the rush to war" - the failure to "give sanctions a chance" - the huge protests against the war.

For the Iraq Debacle the press was nothing but cheerleaders for a trumped up war with a toothless dictator who had threatened NO ONE, much less invaded a country. No coverage of protests. No fair view of those who opposed the war. Indeed, war opposers, even in Congress were basically sneered at. As disgraceful a performance as I have ever seen in my life. They should be filled with shame. Was it 9/11? Maybe a little. But mostly it was the beatdown the Right had given them for 30 years and the Wurlitzer. And yes, The New York Times and that bastard Howell Raines.

So no the Press is not better. It is markedly worse.

That the Media was cowed after 9/11 is undoubtedly true. But the bigger story ito me is that the Media was largely incompetent for a decade before that.

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    Which probably explains why the term "Al (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 02:09:39 PM EST
    Queda" was unfamilar to us on Sept. 11, 2001.  

    encore (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Sumner on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 04:27:45 PM EST
    Moyers uses the device in Rhetoric known as  MEIOSIS - rhetorical understatement, (representation as less than what actually is as a form of ironic emphasis.)

    Moyers describes the others as using the Big Lie technique: telling the same lie over and over again through state-sponsored yellow journalism.

    dissent is generally ignored or crushed.

    the same technique was used to foment America's war on sex, porn and nudity

    It has more than one meaning, (none / 0) (#24)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:29:07 PM EST
    Meiosis is what gives Moyers the cojones to keep doing what he does to Bush and so-called conservatives (rethugs) so well.

    Greg Palast Agrees (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 12:36:13 PM EST
    I know some of the reasons why investigative reporting is on the decline. To begin with, investigations take time and money. A producer from "60 Minutes," watching my team's work on another voter purge list, said: "My God! You'd have to make hundreds of calls to make this case." In America's cash-short, instant-deadline world, there's not much room for that.

    Are there still aggressive, talented investigative reporters in the U.S.? There are hundreds. I'll mention two: Seymour Hersh, formerly of the New York Times, and Robert Parry, formerly of the Associated Press, who uncovered the Iran-Contra scandal. The operative word here is "formerly." Parry tells me that he can no longer do this kind of investigative work within the confines of a U.S. daily newsroom.....

    And of course there is the problem of access:

    Expose the critters and the door is slammed. That's not a price many American journalists are willing to pay.

    Greg Palast via War & Piece

    Expose the critters and the door is slammed (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Edger on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 12:43:26 PM EST
    The price of success and fame as a journalist in the MSM?

    To become more concerned with maintaining their stature than with doing what they went into journalism to do?

    How much does a used soul go for these days, anyway?

    You're almost right... (1.00 / 1) (#2)
    by HeadScratcher on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 02:14:23 PM EST
    The media is just plain lazy, period.

    This is the same CNN who admitted that it held back reporting about Iraq in order to maintain ties to those in power.

    Or the same media (CBS) who gave us the "fake but accurate" Bush National Guard memo?

    The press hasn't been beaten down by the right, nor are they lapdogs. They are just plain incompetent! We need a good press for a good democracy. Doesn't matter if it's conservative or liberal - just be good and honest.

    The Incompetency Defense. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:33:03 PM EST
    Bush uses it. Gonzales used it. Libby used it. Condi will probably use it. RWNJ trolls here use it.

    Most rethugs use it. I guess they just go with what they're comfortable with.

    In my view, the decline in quality of the print (1.00 / 1) (#28)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:26:21 PM EST
    newspapers is probably attributable to the popularity of the Internet.  Advertising revenue for newspapers is severely diminished, subscriptions are dropping--hence, the newspapers must cut back on staff to stay in business.  

    Missing reporters and moving lips. (none / 0) (#3)
    by JSN on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 02:34:43 PM EST
    A friend of our who worked for the Des Moines Register explained part of the problem. Gannett wanted to make a 20% profit instead of 8% when the bought the DMR. They converted news space to advertising and fired reporters using wire services for national and state news instead of having their own reporters. As a consequence a lot of reporters are missing as well as coverage of local, state and national news.

    A number of people have commented that they were not duped. There was a common joke in 2002 about that the way to tell if a politician was lying was to see if their lips were moving.

    The White House press corp was skunked during Watergate. Dan Rather said that that was the worst period of his career. They were being scooped on a daily basis. This time there was nobody to scoop them.

    Interesting that you wrote (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 03:00:31 PM EST
    Heresy: The Press Getting Better? in August 2005.

    I asked a similar question here in December 2005 in response to ONE other commenters observation:
    ..the amount of real educational and scientific programming on discovery, history channel, etc. appears to be in steep decline..

    and on PBS. I seem to recall that up until about '94-'94 that there were many more in depth scientific programs and documentaries aired at higher eduactional levels (college and up) than since. They mostly seem to be at elementary and lower high school level now. Any one else notice this general dumbing down?

    NO ONE even noticed, much less discussed it that day.

    Not much has changed, unfortunately.

    Not science or history, but when I checked my (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 06:55:47 PM EST
    local NPR stations program listings for Metropolitan Opera TV broadcasts--nada.  Kids programs in the evening hours.  Very disappointing.

    Instead of TV (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:25:00 PM EST
    There is quite a bit of good educational and cultural video on the web.

    Research Channel and Closer To Truth are good, as well as Moyers stuff at PBS.

    And (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:27:42 PM EST
    Thanks! (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Al on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:46:08 PM EST
    These are great links!

    Also (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:49:51 PM EST
    Thanks for the links... I listen to (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by dutchfox on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 05:00:23 AM EST
    podcasts from Speaking of Faith on APR.

    I have no stats (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:18:26 PM EST
    I would bet that opera lovers are on average higher educated than most.

    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:24:32 PM EST
    I'd say it depends on which opera they love, but for sure they are much richer.

    german vs. italian? nt (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by conchita on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:28:28 PM EST
    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:48:32 PM EST
    The media misses so much... (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:17:41 PM EST
    Riverbend, Thursday, April 26, 2007
    The Great Wall of Segregation...

    Sad (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:24:41 AM EST
    I hope that she gets out of Iraq safely and continues to write. Her blog has been an invaluable asset for understanding what how the secular muslims have experienced the US occupation. And of course a much needed source to balance out the warmongering MSM and talking heads who know nothing about the Iraqi people or its history.

    I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq). They refuse to believe that their religiously inclined, sectarian political parties fueled this whole Sunni/Shia conflict. They refuse to acknowledge that this situation is a direct result of the war and occupation. They go on and on about Iraq's history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven't been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there.

    I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.



    Bill Kristol, meet your conscience (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:26:47 PM EST
    Bill Kristol was confronted by a military wife from Ft. Hood Texas whose husband is on his third tour in Iraq during a C-SPAN appearance this morning. This woman is tired. You can hear it in her voice. She is dealing with the reality he helped make, and you can see him squirm.

    It's a lot harder to dismiss her than it is to laugh off Juan Williams.

    --watch the video here

    What a.... (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by desertswine on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 10:46:11 AM EST
    pathetic little man Kristol is. Almost a cockroach.

    Almost??? (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Edger on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 10:48:18 AM EST
    Shame on you (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Jen M on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 12:45:51 PM EST

    You are insulting honorable hardworking innocent cockroaches all over the world.


    You rock Edger (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:05:06 AM EST
    Thanks for putting this up and spreading it around.

    Hat Tip (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:17:32 AM EST
    to Blue Girl for that one. She pointed me to it. She writes also at Proctoring Congress.

    He hopes we do more to deal with (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:15:00 AM EST
    a too small military force?  I don't think I should have watched that because I am crazy enough as it is right now.  Of course he is the bestest man because he argued a long time ago that the military needed to be larger.  I just don't get it.  Our military was fine until someone decided to fight make believe wars, and nobody is signing up to fight the make believe war.......strange huh?  After 9/11 though we had lines joining up, I suppose they wanted to go to Afghanistan and make sure that the Taliban never led that country again but forget about that!  If we pulled out of Iraq completely and told Americans we were going do the right thing for Afghanistan and never allow the Taliban to take it over again and we were going to put our efforts into solid real intelligence to ensure that we had a pretty good idea of who our terrorists are and where they are, we would have lines signing up again!

    it's been a very busy week (none / 0) (#40)
    by conchita on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 09:59:41 PM EST
    just checked back now for your response.  something tells me your taste is german.  do you have a favorite?  i would agree, but some of the italian arias are lovely - renata tebaldi singing "o mio babbino cara" starts many a saturday morning for me.  

    No Favorites (none / 0) (#41)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:45:41 PM EST
    But German Opera all of Mozart through to Berg rocks.

    Italian Opera should still be watched while eating lunch, taking  a pause to listen to a great soloist improvise. Gluck was all wrong with opera reform, for Italian opera anyway. It is basically pop music that is still being performed.


    asdf (none / 0) (#42)
    by conchita on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 10:16:15 AM EST
    you are better schooled in theory than i, but i suspect that i have come to similar conclusions simply through listening and watching.  many years ago after seeing parsifal at the met - an experience that was nearly religious - and i then saw la boheme and found myself rolling my eyes at how thin it was by comparison.  my "analysis" was entirely visceral, but it was interesting to learn that the formalists had long ago arrived at a similar place.

    yep, italian opera mostly accompanies my mornings of  internet reading over a plate of homemade waffles - like now.  but enough of life's (somewhat) idle pleasures, there is a human IMPEACHMENT mural in central park waiting for another body.  my dog and i are now officially late.

    thanks for your response.  it prompted me to look up gluck and refamiliarize myself with opera seria and opera buffa.  if this country wasn't so dang messed up at the moment i would be sorely tempted to dive into a book on opera theory.


    Forget the Theory (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 10:49:48 AM EST
    Sounds to me like you get it on a viscerally. That is the most you can hope for in music, the rest is window dressing.

    For contemporary music, on the other hand,  knowledge of theory and history is often essential. It does not always function on the traditional emotional level.  It also has an audience probably smaller than the audience for poetry, because it is not easily accessible and not a commodity like contemporaty art which has a huge audience.


    funny you should mention that (none / 0) (#44)
    by conchita on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 04:27:45 PM EST
    i have been taking a class in european music in the classical tradition and we have just been listening to works by satie (who i like), and berg, schoenberg, bartok, shostakovich (whose atonal pieces i find it more difficult to like although i do appreciate how they reflect the historical and cultural environments in which they were created).  it has brought back memories from many years ago a former business partner owned grammavision records and i shared their offices. grammavision's  mission was to record contemporary (and often difficult) classical and jazz.  by working on the periphery of that organization i was exposed to many musicians and musical ideas i might not have otherwise encountered even living in new york.  

    and yes, i do agree with the comparison with contemporary art. prior to starting my business, i had worked at the new museum of contemporary art and the audience was suprisingly large. my former business partner knew better than to expect to operate grammavision for a profit.  in time, he sold the label and closed the studio when he chose to focus on building a company which would apply a holistic perpective to real estate development.  while we are not in touch these days, i know that he is still supporting contemporary music through the brooklyn academy of music and jazz at lincoln center.  i, on the otherhand, fell into the world of music video production and am taking this class to revitalize my knowledge and appreciation of classical music.

    at the risk of taking up too much of talk left's bandwidth, i will ask if you are a listener of contemporary classical music?


    Yes (none / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 04:45:03 PM EST
    I have both played and been involved in contemporart music. For no particular reason I have not been keeping up with that in the last two years. I am very involved in contemporary art though, both making it and collecing it.

    i am intrigued (none / 0) (#46)
    by conchita on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:14:45 PM EST
    do you show at a gallery or have a website?  if you are uncomfortable with posting it, you can send it to my email address: sharondotlynch@verizondotnet.

    I don't have a (none / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:26:36 PM EST
    Website and have no gallery at the moment. Just working in the studio, with a generous dose of procrastination. I will let you know when I am showing though. Thanks for asking.

    cool. now get back to work. ;-/ (none / 0) (#48)
    by conchita on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:28:12 PM EST
    I'm on it (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:30:28 PM EST
    bravo (none / 0) (#50)
    by conchita on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:46:10 PM EST
    and good luck with defeating that evil demon of procrastination that i know all too well.

    curiosity awakened (none / 0) (#51)
    by conchita on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 06:24:51 PM EST
    if you come up for air and happen to check back:
    which instrument do you play?
    what media do you work with?

    piano and (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 01:25:21 AM EST
    currently painting. Although I have worked in many mediums. For me painting was unethical to do but I have succumbed in the last three years to it. Painting, for me, relates to music. The gravity of liquid and the physicality is like making a phrase or breath in music.

    unethical? (none / 0) (#53)
    by conchita on Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 10:24:33 AM EST
    because you should be working instead?  others have so little that you should enjoy yourself painting?

    i understand the paint/music comparison.  texture has always resonated with me and working with typography and fiber appeals to me in a similar essential way.

    piano.  am listening this morning to a new cd recommended by a complex pianist from nz - ivo pogorelich's interpretation of the preludes. kind of matches our greyish morning.


    Unethical (none / 0) (#54)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Along the lines of Schoenberg's radical edict to his students. He banned writing for the piano to break from the status quo. I have moved on from that position, given in to the pleasure of painting.

    a wise man (none / 0) (#55)
    by conchita on Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 02:34:25 PM EST
    herr schoenberg.  

    that more of my graphic design professors would encourage their students to reach inside rather than compete to make the coolest, freshest looking piece, one that is all too often devoid of meaning.

    work striving to be different for the sake of being different inevitably ends up being forgotten or worse, laughable.  there are so many other and better reasons to create.


    Yes (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 03:50:13 PM EST
    Y E S Y E S Y E S

    messaien (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by conchita on Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 08:45:07 PM EST
    massive (none / 0) (#59)
    by conchita on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:23:43 PM EST
    my first exposure last night's class. profound yet humorous.  pure pleasure.  

    this awkward but wondered?...


    smile (none / 0) (#57)
    by conchita on Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 05:08:25 PM EST
    replied (none / 0) (#60)
    by conchita on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:29:57 PM EST
    wrong place.  see below.

    Heh. That too. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:25:49 PM EST
    I was guessing. But I would still probably bet. :-)

    Did you see the recent NY Times metro (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:34:13 PM EST
    section story about a smokehouse owner who has 3, count em, three separate series to the Metropolitan Opera?  An autodidact, according to the article.  He taught himself French so he could read Victor Hugo in the original language.

    I didn't (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:39:23 PM EST
    But wow - the world needs more of people like him!

    More people like DR. X, too.

    and when (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jen M on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 03:06:56 PM EST
    did the gathering of independent news outlets into giant umbrella organizations start? How many independent newspapers outside of college campuses are there? Even our 'local' gazette is owned by a bigger organization.

    About 25 years ago (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 03:14:18 PM EST
    Who controls the media?
    In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly.
    When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world's largest media corporation.

    In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.

    Which has much to do with the current situation: How the Press Still Enables Bush

    which would have been (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jen M on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 04:33:16 PM EST
    an idea of... well.. not Jimmy Carter, no

    lets see. The same guy who thought for profit hospitals was such a keen thing? Cause it would, you know, make medical care cheaper for all of us?


    Bill is writing a book right? (none / 0) (#19)
    by bx58 on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:28:14 PM EST
    The same guy who was a top aide to LBJ and the WH press secretary during the most bogus of bogus wars has the cahones to lecture the press(or anyone else)on truthfulness? What a goof.

    standard rethug response (4.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Sailor on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:53:13 PM EST
    They can't argue that the message is untrue so they swiftboat the messenger.

    well said (none / 0) (#21)
    by orionATL on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 09:09:37 PM EST
    the electronic and print media are worse today.


    what's the why?

    - the influence of corporate "culture" on media organizations is one reason.

    reporters have editors and editors have editors, and those editors have editors, and those editors have managing editors, and they have publishers.

    i suspect that richard parsons (time/cnn), GE's-ex, jack welsh (nbc), rupert murdoch (fox), newhouse (today), and donald graham/buffet (wapoop/congressional quarterly/newsweek)  have had a tremendous influence on what their corporations produce in the way of news - and the way of opinion.

    elsewhere, i have commented that i would love to see the congress take testimony, under oath, from the aforementioned chieftains about their influence, if any, on the news focus of their corporation.

    - the media are also worse because these organizations/corporations, have become rigid.

    many of the "famous names" have been there a long time. they are getting older, but not necessarily wiser reporters - woodward and broder come to mind today, but george will, maureen dowd, and robert samuelson are members of this gang of old-brains.

    people who really care about reporting must leave these organizations - forced selection out of the "best and brightest".

    because they have become rigid  organizations, getting somewhere at the wapoop or the NY(twi)Times, is now the same sort of choreographed  activity that "getting into harvard" is.

    it's not the  value to society of what you investigate and publish, but the value to your supervisors and the minimum of trouble to your  corporation, that counts

    all this is inevitable in corporations/bureaucracies. when peter created the catholic church, he condemned it, possibly unknowingly, to the confused, destructive organization became in its later history.

    but the same inevitable incompetence applies to organizations like enron, the fcc, sallie mae, southern corporation, general motors, et al.