Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The News and Talking About the News

I understand that media people who like to think of themselves as good responsible journalists get peeved at what they perceive to be the monolithic caricature that us dirty bloggers sometime make of them. There is good journalism out there, and dirty bloggers generally would have little to talk about if there wasn't. Well, except for all the wankery.

Still, there's a difference between those who report the news and those who talk about it. The former generally takes of the form of quality print journalism, which is then given wings on the various cable news channels, political/news talk radio, by the Sunday Bobbleheads, in unctuous Fred Hiatt Op-Eds, etc. It is in these forums that news is turned into narratives, where certain facts and spin are privileged or diminished, where The Story becomes A Story, where conventional wisdom is created and disseminated both to political insiders and to the rest of us. It's where supposedly knowledgeable people make sense of all of the news for the rest of us, by telling us what is important (or at least relevant and interesting) and why it is important.

In many of these forums the True Elites of Elite journalism put on their peacock feathers and strut around, proudly sporting their faux-cynicism and horrifying vacuity.

So, yes, there are plenty of good journalists out there doing important work. They need to understand that they're being publicly represented by a cast of fools. And, no, we're not just talking about the various flunkies and hacks that fill time during the day on MSNBC. We're talking about people with very prestigious titles and roles, such as editors of major newsweekly magazines and hosts of Well Respected Sunday Talk Shows.