Last week, I recommended that you read Carl Cannon’s Sarah “Barracuda” Palin and the Piranhas of the Press. Cannon, who holds no brief for Palin, nevertheless thinks that the press’s behavior once she was on the national scene demonstrates that the American media is in freefall.
Cannon begins by pointing out that, after offering their opinions (“Sarah is an idiot”) as fact, the media moved on to relaying rumors as actual news stories. These rumors included (but certainly are not limited to) the claims that Trig was in fact Bristol’s son, that she advocated book burning, and that she was a Patrick Buchanan supporter. Minimal investigation, of the type the MSM was unwilling to make, would instantly have disproven each of these scurrilous charges.
What particularly incensed Cannon, though, was the media’s handling of the Vice Presidential debate. While Palin’s showing was unpolished and she made errors, Biden went off the deep end with lies, lies, and idiocies. A fair media would have reported on both side’s errors. Our media, however, attacked Cannon and gave Biden a free pass.
This is old history for you, although Cannon sews it together so well. What’s new is the reaction I got from one of my very liberal friends when I posted a link to Cannon’s article on facebook, along with my comment that it’s time for the American media to become like the British media, and simply announce its political orientation up front.
My liberal friend was incensed by the article. What was so funny was his justification for thinking it was a bad article. I won’t quote my friend here, but the bottom line was his belief that Cannon’s essay should not be taken seriously because Palin was such an unserious figure. In other words, the press was under no obligation to report honestly about her (or about Biden), because she didn’t deserve to be elected.
Think about that: my friend believes that it is the media’s responsibility to weed out bad candidates by whatever means possible, including lying to and withholding information from the American people. I’ve heard of monarchies, oligarchies, theocracies, democracies, but my friend is now proposing a media-ocracy (a concept that sounds remarkably close to mediocrity). I don’t know about you, but that’s one of the scariest damn things I’ve ever heard.