Glenn Greenwald has a nice meta re-cap of his latest encounter with established media re: L’Affair Assange. It’s an instructive reminder of just how inseparable are the ‘who’ that provides your news and the ‘what’ it is supposedly all about:
It’s not news that establishment journalists identify with, are merged into, serve as spokespeople for, the political class: that’s what makes them establishment journalists. But even knowing that, it’s just amazing, to me at least, how so many of these “debates” I’ve done involving one anti-WikiLeaks political figure and one ostensibly “neutral” journalist — on MSNBC with The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capehart and former GOP Congresswoman Susan Molinari, on NPR with The New York Times‘ John Burns and former Clinton State Department official James Rubin, and last night on CNN with Yellin and Townsend — entail no daylight at all between the “journalists” and the political figures. They don’t even bother any longer with the pretense that they’re distinct or play different assigned roles.
And there are identical notches in that belt for climate, environment, high finance, taxes, business generally… the list is its own scandal. Where does it start? This kind of rot is re-inforced from two directions, at least: the top of the food chain at the journalism-government crossover, and at the j-schools themselves. The kids learn how to network and are instructed by the commencement speakers who demonstrate not how to afflict but how to comfort, and thus move up the hierarchy into the anchor/editor’s chair. It’s all a celebration of career success, practically apart from what makes the career. The notion of muckraking doesn’t even come up; instead the news bleeds towards the most vulnerable, i.e., those least equipped to defend themselves, who can be dissected in public without push back or a loss of advertising revenue. Immigrants, the poor, criminals. I should qualify that: low-level criminals. Accordingly, no voices allowed that vary from the corporate line until the playing field is sufficiently skewed that you can be easily disregarded as a radical for advocating things like… high speed rail.
Oh, the horrors. But the Cossacks work for the Czar. Some of this is in exchange for the comfort we get from news that is based on things like the ‘war on Christmas’, black friday and shark attacks in summer. So it’s in part our fault for not rejecting the poolside, corporate, rolling green carpet viewpoint more stridently. The other part is a testament to how difficult it is to rock the boat, especially when things are going so swell.
So resolve and be resolute – without the self-condemnation of cynicism or conspiracy. There’s more room there to be skeptical than you think.