Biting the hand that unaccountably feeds her
Peggy Noonan, who works for MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal, takes on the dreaded MSM…without mentioning the obvious:
The Rathergate Report is a watershed event in American journalism not because it changes things on its own but because it makes unavoidably clear a change that has already occurred. And that is that the mainstream media’s monopoly on information is over. That is, the monopoly enjoyed by three big networks, a half dozen big newspapers and a handful of weekly magazines from roughly 1950 to 2000 is done and gone, and something else is taking its place.
So who are these newspapers that monopolizing information? Well, number two on the list, right after McPaper is…the Wall Street Journal, the paper that employs Peggy to write about The Sacred Dolphins of God, Miracle at the 34th Street Ikea, and her Jocasta Complex:
I was standing looking out the big entranceway toward an arched and high-ceilinged hall. There a beautiful young man in a white jacket was giving my son a ginger ale from a small bar just beyond the doorway. My son–6 feet tall, in his first suit, with a sober tie and cufflinks, also his first–was taking the plastic cup of ginger ale in his hand and talking to a very beautiful woman, Blaine Trump, down from New York with her husband, Robert.
My eyes met my son’s and I gave him the chin up-deadeye look that parents give children to say: I’m coming.
Okay, those ellipses probably weren’t very fair, but then I’m a blogger and it is said (by Peggy!) that we are:
independent and allowed to think their own thoughts. It is that they have autonomy and can assign themselves stories, and determine on their own the length and placement of stories. And it is that they are by and large as individuals more interesting than most MSM reporters.
…so I’m really just trying to be interesting.
Anyway, the Pegster (also known as Noonan the Loon, Our Lady of the Dolphins, Crazy Jesus Lady, Nurse Ratched (Ronald Reagan only), and The Infidel Bitch Who Stares At Tourists) brings up Howard Fineman’s latest which isn’t too surprising since Howard currently occupies the Presidential Fluffer Chair at MSNBC that Peggy endowed during the Reagan years;
Of the commentary that followed the report, the most interesting so far has been Howard Fineman’s essay on MSNBC.com. Mr. Fineman, a fluid writer who is likely aware of his own biases–I have wondered if he doesn’t track them to make sure they are in line with the biases of Newsweek and MSNBC, which employ him–is a hardworking journalistic veteran who entered the MSM when it was at its zenith, in the 1970s. One might say he is the platonic ideal of MSMness. Mr. Fineman writes that the Rathergate report has left the MSM damaged and reeling, its hegemony a thing of the past. All true. In his roll call of responsibility he names first “George Bush’s Republican Party,” but that is the reflex of a certain mindset and not true. Mr. Bush and the GOP had nothing to do with what has happened to the MSM, which is not to say they are not happy it’s been deeply and deservedly wounded.
Mr. Fineman asserts that the MSM came into existence after World War II, which is essentially true, but goes on to claim that it came into existence as the result of the fact that “a temporary moderate consensus came to govern the country.” Please. America was a political battleground in those days, fighting over everything from McCarthyism to the true nature of communism to the proper role of government to Vietnam. The MSM didn’t come into existence because of a brief period of political comity. The MSM rose because it had a monopoly. And it fell because it lost that monopoly.
Let me repeat that: The MSM rose because it had a monopoly on information.
In much the same way that the gas stations have a monopoly on gas. Peggy goes on to say:
The networks, newspapers and magazines were a Liberal Monolith. In one of his “Making of the President” books the liberal but ingenuous Teddy White famously said of 57th Street in Manhattan that when he stood there he was within a stone’s throw of all the offices in which all of American media was busily churning out its vision of The News. Churning it out were a relatively small group of a few hundred liberals who worked and mostly lived on an island off the continent; they told that continent not only what it should be thinking about but how it should be thinking of it. (my emphasis)
All this has been said before but this can’t be said enough: The biggest improvement in the flow of information in America in our lifetimes is that no single group controls the news anymore.
Here’s an experiment: Take your average blogger (not the one who writes about all their cats named after Star Trek characters) who writes about current events, and ask them to blog on a daily basis without using the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters, msnbc.com, and cnn.com.
What will you get?
Matchbook pictures, digital camera-philia, lame-ass jokes, and Mark Steyn (which is redundant, I know…)
On the upside, you won’t get to read Peggy Noonan either and, as they say, abstinence is its own reward.