Friday, April 1, 2016

What The Media Gets Wrong About Reality Reflects What It Can't Accept About Itself

Of course pols are comfortable meeting a press comprised of genial buffoons.
I read and follow @mattyglesias, generally without having to pull my hair out, but this tweet feels illustrative of how bad even insightful analysts, reporters, and commentators are at recognizing how much of their coverage of issues is garbage, or worse:

The So-Called Liberal Media is terrible at holding liars accountable for lying. The press, in my view, should be impartial, not impassive. Lies and distortions should make journalists angry, and they should be allowed, encouraged even, to bring that anger to bear in service of presenting accurate information. But they aren't.

Oh, sure, there are plenty of rageheads out there, and there's a risk of being perceived as one of them. I'm not arguing though that guys like Yglesias should emulate the O'Reillys, Limbaughs, and Becks of the world. There's a way to get angry that's level-headed, cool, and dispassionate. There's an anger that's insistent, can be abrupt, and dismissive of nonsense. That's the anger the press fails to channel. Too often, they mistake impartiality for an obligation to respect bullshit because it's only "fair" to give the other side of an argument a hearing. The problem is when the other side of the argument is demonstrably wrong -- not based on evidence, not constructed with valid reasoning -- it should not be treated as unassailable.

Where I'm going with this is, it seems to me, Yglesias thinks Sanders is wrong but, from what I can tell, has no reason to ... except that what Sanders asserts strikes at Yglesias's profession, and his profession's ethics, and so, for Yglesias and his ilk, it is inconceivable that Sanders might have a true belief despite the abundant evidence in support of the conclusion Sanders has reached.

Murphy points this out ...

But, if you follow the discussion, you'll see the wagons being circled in defense of (again, in what appears to my outsider's eyes to be) the current sorry state of the Fourth Estate.

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