Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marshall on Healthcare Loopy Loopiness

Another quick hit here, since I'm working on some LTEs and an op-ed. In case you don't compulsively check TPM, here's a good look at the complete insanity that has overtaken the debate about health care.

One thing I would like to know is why exactly are journalists so ill-equipped to report this nonsense? Aren't we charged with calling BS on BS?


mommyk said...

As you pointed out earlier somewhere (facebook maybe?) the lies that are being lobbed are so huge and so crazy that perhaps "legitimate" news organizations don't feel the need to address them because they are so obviously false. Or, are ill equipped to address the fact that it's complete shenanigans. It's hard to argue with a crazy person that's lying, because they will not listen to reason.

Also, as the Republicans saw during the presidential campaign it's so much easier to lie and get loads of press from your crazy talk, then actually coming up with legitimate debate it seems to be the status quo for them now.

No one wants to hear the truth, because it's BORING. Death panels voting to euthanize down syndrome babies and old people? Holy Crap! That's news! Affordable health care for all? ZZZZZZZ......

snoozetska said...

You're right mommyk, right as Queen Right of the Land of Right People.

Trouble is, actual reporters are supposed to make the complex palatable to even the most doltish American. Too many voices presumed to be journalistic feel zero pressure to work in the public interest. Instead they have given their allegiance to their own bank accounts.

The loss of the Fairness Doctrine--an imperfect system, but the best we had--and changes in the FCC media monopoly rules beginning at the end of Reagan's term opened the door to lying liars like Rush Limbaugh and corporate opportunists like Faux News mogul Rupert Murdoch. (I'm not sure anyone could have foreseen the histrionic failed prop comic Glenn Beck as a force in political discourse.)

This happened at a time before anyone even understood the concept of media savvy. Once we knew people needed education on this front, did we do anything about it? How many media analysis classes did you take in high school?

The question is, what to do? Burn bad reporters at the stake? Nationalize media outlets? Ugh. Watching these nutjobs at the town hall meetings makes me woozy and slightly incoherent, which is of course the goal.

mommyk said...

I think this issue is touching on an even larger one which is the line between news and entertainment. I've seen interviews with O'Reilly where he openly calls himself an entertainer, and I believe that Rush has done the same. The trouble is, people watching their shows don't seem to recognize that.

The other national news stations are far too interested in reporting on breaking stories like "This just in, Americans are overweight. Find out how they can lose weight and not die at 11:00." Which is to say, we have fake news which has a large audience, and now the real news, in order to compete with the fake news, is becoming total fluff. They don't want to lose their viewers. If say, Brian Williams started reporting more facts on NBC, it would actually work in favor of the wackos on Fox. They would just retaliate by saying "See! See how the liberal media hates us!"

I didn't take any media studies in high school, but it was my major in college, so I'm pretty wary of all this stuff. I also don't have TV so I get all my news from NPR and the internet.

Finally (This is a long comment) I don't know what to do about bad journalism, but shifts are already happening. As the major media outlets fail to do their jobs more and more people move to smaller outlets on the internet where community journalism is alive and well. And hell, Jon Stewart is still doing a pretty good job, so that's something, right?

snoozetska said...

Community journalism is alive and well? Where? Here in Lincoln County? The reporting is largely municipal, inaccurate, poorly edited and dull. If you mean they haven't gone under yet, like so many larger papers, yes, local papers are still here. How much longer though?

Community news has huge potential, especially here. I failed utterly to get the Roberts to see what they have. It's especially frustrating because Chris has the publishing house to fall back on when the LCN has trouble, and he, like few others in the state, might be able to afford to take come chances.

As for entertainment vs. news being at the crux of the problem, again, you're right. I listen to Beck for the production values of his radio show. He would be dead on the air without his producer Stu. He makes everything sound lovely and orchestrated and Beck's ranting idiocy sounds plausible.

When I watch Democracy Now or listen to Pacifica Radio and listen to Air America I may as well turn on the public access channel. There are too few uber-wealthy oxes to be gored by telling the truth and exposing corruption willing to pony up the cash for real investigative reporting.

You know this I'm sure, but the BBC operates at a higher level of reportage because every single person buying a television and radio (maybe computer too) pays a small tax to the BBC. NPR has a similar model, but of course sends its beggars to the phones every three or four months, too.

snoozetska said...

p.s. Great Media Matters article speaks to just this point.