Considered ‘Partly Cloudy‘ this mid-day Thursday in Merced, midst of California’s San Joaquin Valley, as I attempt to normalize my new home area — resided here thereabouts more than 30 years ago, thus I somewhat grasp my situation/predicament…
In 1975 I began my journalism career as a police reporter with The Montgomery Advertiser and in a newsroom full of the delightful scent of Woodward/Bernstein/Watergate flavoring — we all were in a profession which meant something, carried a responsible weight, and if applied could make a difference.
What a difference near-half-a-century makes. After an absence from journalism of 20 years, I reentered the scene in 1998 and there was no longer a newsroom, but just a ‘room.’ Cut backs and general horror of news reporting had shifted from “just the facts, “ma’am,” to maybe not so concerned about ‘facts.’
And more than 20 years along from there, MSM journalism has absolutely no concern for ‘facts’ at all.
The best explanation I’ve seen yet for this sad phenomenon is a piece published today by Jay Rosen at PressThink (h/t BJ) about an insane interview given to Rolling Stone by Both-Sides/Dipwad Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Todd’s ‘confession’ is self-centered arrogance.
Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of “alternative facts” on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd.
Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.
Todd repeatedly called himself naive for not recognizing the pattern, itself an astounding statement that cast doubt on his fitness for office as host of Meet the Press.
While the theme of the interview was waking up to the truth of Republican actions in the information warfare space, Todd went to sleep on the implications of what he revealed.
It took him three years to understand a fact about American politics that was there on the surface, unconcealed since the day after inauguration.
Many, many interpreters had described it for him during those lost years when he could not bring himself to believe it. (I am one.)
You cannot call that an oversight.
It’s a strategic blindness that he superintended.
By “strategic blindness” I mean what people mean when they quote Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Go read the whole thing, etc., etc, be well worth your time.
Another bigley issue — what’s next? Rosen: ‘So what will they do now? My answer: they have no earthly idea.’
A future not all that bright…
(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion,’ found here).