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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Partisan differences in trusting, and not trusting, the media

Interesting timing of this post at TigerHawk on a personal level. This past Sunday I told a brother of mine over a cup of coffee and bagel at Panera's that I wondered if it was worth my time anymore reading the newspaper because you have spend so much time deciphering, and reading between the lines, and questioning the reported "facts." I have zero confidence in their "reporting."

Here is his post:
This morning's Gallup poll reviews a huge gulf between Republicans and Democrats in trust of the media -- twice as many Democrats as Republicans trust the mainstream media to report news "fully, accurately, and fairly." This is a sharp departure from the 1970s, when Republicans and Democrats trusted the media almost identically (notwithstanding Spiro Agnew's "nattering nabobs" declaration).

What might be the causes of this divergence? Without being able to prove a damn thing, I believe that at least two things have happened.

First, the Republican Party has moved substantially to the right since the Ford Administration. The average Republican -- and therefore the center in American politics -- may have moved away from the mainstream media as much as the media itself has become liberal. Of course, that invites another question: Why has the political tone of the mainstream media failed to move to to the right at roughly the same pace as one of the two main political parties?

Second, perhaps the average reporter, editor, or producer in the mainstream media has moved relatively to the left since 1976. In 1976 there were still a great many journalists who had served in the military. Veterans of World War II and Korea were only then in their forties and fifties, and many of them were working for major newspapers and broadcasters. Also, journalism was not neary as professionalized in the seventies as it is today. I am given to understand that there were still editors around who had worked their way up from fairly humble beginnings, rather than recruited directly from Princeton and Yale or the Columbia Journalism School as they increasingly are today. Not only does an elite education tend to push one to the left, but it broadens a person's horizons -- Ivy Leaguers and their ilk are much more likely to "think globally," which means they care what substantially more left-wing foreigners think about American policy. How many times have you read that we are the "only developed country in the world with capital punishment," as if that were an even remotely relevant consideration? Have these two developments -- journalism's disconnection from the military and its greater credentialism -- made it more difficult for the mainstream media to reflect the sensibilities of a country that has moved signficantly to the right?

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