Waiting for Comcast, Reading about the Media

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Due to a miscommunication (yeah, no kidding) the Comcast technician thought nobody was here when he came by on Friday. So, I’m stuck waiting around again this morning/afternoon.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading some interesting stuff. Until I get a better connection, I’m just going to touch on one item — Why Americans Hate the Media. The article is from 1996 (!), covers a wide variety of targets, and is highly insightful: it explains in perfect, painful detail that which you’ve always known all along. A snippet:

On Sunday, November 6, 1994, two days before the congressional elections that swept the Republicans to power, The Washington Post published the results of its “Crystal Ball” poll. Fourteen prominent journalists, pollsters, and all-around analysts made their predictions about how many seats each party would win in the House and Senate and how many governorships each would take.

One week later many of these same experts would be saying on their talk shows that the Republican landslide was “inevitable” and “a long time coming” and “a sign of deep discontent in the heartland.” But before the returns were in, how many of the fourteen experts predicted that the Republicans would win both houses of Congress and that Newt Gingrich would be speaker? Exactly three.

This one is my favorite:

When ordinary citizens have a chance to pose questions to political leaders, they rarely ask about the game of politics. They want to know how the reality of politics will affect them—through taxes, programs, scholarship funds, wars. Journalists justify their intrusiveness and excesses by claiming that they are the public’s representatives, asking the questions their fellow citizens would ask if they had the privilege of meeting with Presidents and senators. In fact they ask questions that only their fellow political professionals care about. And they often do so—as at the typical White House news conference—with a discourtesy and rancor that represent the public’s views much less than they reflect the modern journalist’s belief that being independent boils down to acting hostile.

Think about that the next time you hear some idiot rambling on about the price of John Edwards’ haircut. Fallows article is definitely worth a read (hat tip to Ezra for the linkage). Matt has more.

Once I have a better connection, I’ll be back with another media topic — this time, on local newspapers in the age of the Internet.