Friday, September 12, 2008

Mark Steyn on Media Manipulation

Steyn is on a particularly good rant responding to Howard Kurtz' whining about how the McCain camp is manipulating the media. Kurtz rights:
The media are getting mad.

Whether it's the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches.

Maybe it's a sense that this is crunch time, that the election is on the line, that the press is being manipulated (not that there's anything new about that).

News outlets are increasingly challenging false or questionable claims by the McCain campaign, whether it's the ad accusing Obama of supporting sex-ed for kindergartners (the Illinois legislation clearly describes "age-appropriate" programs) or Palin's repeated boast that she stopped the Bridge to Nowhere (after she had supported it, and after Congress had effectively killed the specific earmark).
Here is a thought, perhaps if the media weren't so desperate to remain relevant that they would print essentially the spin put out by the campaigns, maybe everyone would be better off. Both campaigns put out questionably framed matters and sometimes outright fabrications with a infinitesimailly small kernel of truth and the media report it as news. It is not, it is campaign material not news.

Steyn then points out:
Howie feels the press is being "manipulated" by the McCain campaign.

Maybe it is. A conventional launch strategy for a little-known vice-presidential nominee might have involved "manipulating" the media into running umpteen front-pagers on Sarah Palin's amazing primary challenge of a sitting governor and getting the sob-sisters to slough off a ton of heartwarming stories about her son shipping out to Iraq.

But, if you were really savvy, you'd "manipulate" the media into a stampede of lurid drivel deriding her as a Stepford wife and a dominatrix, comparing her to Islamic fundamentalists, Pontius Pilate and porn stars, and dismissing her as a dysfunctional brood mare who can't possibly be the biological mother of the kid she was too dumb to abort. Who knows? It's a long shot, but if you could pull it off, a really cunning media manipulator might succeed in manipulating Howie's buddies into spending the month after Labor Day outbidding each other in some insane Who Wants To Be An Effete Condescending Media Snob? death-match. You'd not only make the press look like bozos, but that in turn might tarnish just a little the fellow these geniuses have chosen to anoint.
Yes, the traditional media manipulation would be to build a warm and fuzzy picture of the first woman to appear on the GOP ticket, not all the crap that came out.

The traditional media thinks it needs to compete with the blogosphere, but the blogosphere, in large part is not beholden to a sense of "ethics" that traditional journalism claims sets them apart from the rabble such as I. Maybe take a little time to think about what a reporter writes before launching into attacks on either side.

And Howard Kurtz, you are a whiny little pansy if you think the media is being manipulated. An industry can only be manipulated if the industry allows it. Tell you "colleagues" to grow a backbone.

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