Perhaps We Should Perform An Intervention On The Media
I love reading New York Times media reporter/columnist David Carr, but his piece on the U-T San Diego newspaper this weekend was hilarious. Unintentionally so. It's a bitter attack ("a virtual and digital heart attack") on owners of newspapers using their publication to advance a particular agenda. It is not (I repeat: not) about the New York Times.
Here's how it begins:
There is a growing worry that the falling value and failing business models of many American newspapers could lead to a situation where moneyed interests buy papers and use them to prosecute a political and commercial agenda.
That future appears to have arrived in San Diego, where The U-T San Diego, the daily newspaper bought by the local developer and hotelier Douglas F. Manchester, often seems like a brochure for his various interests.
Mr. Manchester is anti-big government, anti-tax and anti-gay marriage.
I know I've got to stop quoting James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal but, "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA." Seriously. It's perfectly fine to attack a publication for advancing certain political interests, not that Carr actually makes a solid case that this is what's happening at the U-T. But it is not OK to do that if you literally write for the New York Times. Unless, that is, you're acknowledging the complete hypocrisy of doing so. Carr does not. The lack of introspection in the media business is really fascinating to me.
Speaking of using a newspaper to advance a particular agenda, I wrote up an analysis of coverage of the 150-or-so religious freedom rallies that were held around the country on Friday. Some of the stories are spectacularly awful. (You won't believe the way the Chicago rally was covered by Reuters.) But a commenter noted that none of the top three New York City papers even covered the rallies:
Not a word in the three major NY newspapers. Not a word.
The Times, of course, managed to have a big story on the dissenting nun’s bus tour. All the usual gossip nonsense in the Post and News.
Perhaps at the next rally we should invite a few inebriated barely-clothed celebrities, or a heretical nun or two.
NPR didn't cover the rallies, but it did manage a good 14 minutes on nuns opposed to Paul Ryan and/or the Vatican.
And if you're in the mood, you may be interested in Moe Lane's catalogue of "insults, negative portrayals, and generally offensive rhetoric found in this NYT article by liberal Steve Almond calling for… more civility from liberals."
Again, there are many great reporters and the media can be good at investigating corruption and other problems in most industries. When it comes to their own problems, though, it's almost like they need an intervention.