Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Raspberry directs a raspberry ...
The in-your-face right-wing partisanship that marks Fox News Channel's news broadcasts is having two dangerous effects.
(Hit the link for more about the "two dangerous effects".)
Actually, Fox News is succeeding, precisely because it deals with two basic problems within the MSM.
First, it is exposing the MSM's "objectivity" as the facade it is -- something William Raspberry doesn't seem to understand:
What is at risk is not a reputation for infallibility; everyone knows that even the best newspapers and most careful broadcasters make mistakes. But it has been generally accepted that the mainstream media at least try to get it right -- even when they too grudgingly acknowledge their errors after the fact
Do they really "try"? Or, do they stay within the comfort zones of the media elites of coastal society and/or academia as they engage in the practice of journalism, without consideration to alternative viewpoints outside those zones? Have they become intellectually inbred, as a result, and view ideological conflict not as Left and Right, but as "enlightened" and "ignorant", just like the fundamentalists they ridicule?
Basic problem: every human being is intrinsically biased ... and there is no way to neutralize that completely. Do we acknowledge this, both as journalists and as consumers of journalism, and evaluate the product accordingly ... or does the MSM want us to pretend that they have assembled a journalistic "priesthood" that are somehow immunized from bias and above the fray, and only they should be trusted?
What worries me is that journalism could become a battlefield of warring biases: I'll sock it to your guy, your party or your position on a public issue, and you'll sock it to mine. And we'll both believe we've done a good day's work.
Actually, that is a great filter for discerning truth ... as long as both sides are intellectually honest, and are willing to admit when they're wrong. It's how our Congress is supposed to work.
Unfortunately, the MSM has helped to shape the journalistic marketplace in a way that actually encourages such conflicts ... but adds a fatal flaw that negates the filtering effect and obscures the truth, which is the second basic problem with the MSM that Fox News resolves (at least in part):
The MSM has, to a significant degree, replaced a respect for objective truth with a deference to relavitism, which corrupts intellectual honesty.
Consider that many MSM outlets refuse to call a terrorist a "terrorist", but instead give them titles like "insurgent" or "guerilla" that confers a greater degree of legitimacy upon their intent to take innocent lives as a first resort.
They do so because they think this somehow maintains their "objectivity", by the avoidance of terminology that would "bias" the reader against the subject ... the same line of thinking that leads some in the MSM to declare themselves "citizens of the world", then report on the actions of a rights-respecting nation with as much disdain (if not more) than they do on the actions of nations or groups who seek to deny others their inalienable rights by any available means.
Consider the reporting upon the selection of the new Pope, giving a lot of weight to those who think the Catholic Church should "loosen up" and change with the times ... but not reporting on why some want to see those old-fashioned values of that faith stay in place, for such absolutism would be intolerant of diversity, after all.
On issues from the UN, to the environment, to gay marriage, to George W. Bush, the MSM attempts to remain "neutral", but instead is infected with the relativist's desire to declare all viewpoints equally valid ... regardless of objective fact (i.e. whether the implementation of a particular world view will kill you where you stand, or not).
By embracing relativist viewpoints in their attempts to be objective, the MSM has instead given up all neutrality between Left and Right -- for relativism is embedded in many areas of the Leftist worldview, particularly when it comes to personal conduct.
Fox News, OTOH, maintains a modicum of respect for objective fact ... it is willing to challenge the conventional wisdom of the MSM on issues, bringing up multiple viewpoints while also challenging the basis for each. While it allows other viewpoints to be heard, it does not treat them equally when the facts indicate an inequality between viewpoints.
That is why Bill O'Reilly is the success he is ... and that is what really scares people like William Raspberry.
What the Raspberries of the world are missing, is that while viewpoints can diverge, objective fact is not subject to the divergence imposed by relativism ... their attempts to remain "objective" are, in fact, actually attempts to avoid true objectivity, where opinion is opinion, faith is faith, theory is theory ...
... and fact is fact.