Monday, July 25, 2011

Tweaking the Tail of the Media Lion

Here is a post by Dean Baker in his Beat the Press blog where he makes fun of the idiocy that passes for "serious journalism" in America's media:
Does the Post Have Polls Showing Centrists Want Cuts to Social Security and Medicare?

If so, they really should share them with readers. The Post told readers that Obama's decision to propose raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 and to cut Social Security is a way to appeal to centrist voters. This is difficult to understand since every poll done on this issue shows that people across the political spectrum, including Tea Party Republicans, overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The Post either has some polls that no one else knows about or it's just making things up. (BTP reports, you decide.)

It is certainly true that many Wall Street types (e.g. Peter Peterson and Erskine Bowles) would like to see cuts to Social Security and Medicare. However, these people are important because of the money that they can give to President Obama re-election campaign, not the voters they represent.

This piece also identifies Third Way as a "left-leaning group." Third way has been prominent in pushing for large cuts to the budget, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare. This is not a position that would ordinarily be identified as left-leaning.
Sadly most readers don't realize they are being manipulated. They assume that the newspapers have hired sober, serious analytical thinkers who have judiciously looked at all sides of an issue and provide a neutral accounting. That just ain't so.

I have no sympathy for the shrinking newspaper business. They sell fishwrap and justifiably they are a dying business. They shouldn't be surprised that readers are turning away. If the owners of the media want to run a propaganda arm of some right wing political party, they should publish a political paper, not a newspaper. The news should be unbiased, but that doesn't mean "he said, she said" journalism. It should give the facts and provide the context along with analysis from various political points of view so that readers have the necessary information to make their own informed decisions.

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