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CNN's Rick Sanchez lowering the bar on journalistic standards

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I wanted to add to Digby's rant about Rick Sanchez on CNN this evening. In an earlier post I lamented the loss of jounalistic standards and ethics and Sanchez just made a bid for being its poster boy this evening. There is no doubt Sanchez was proded by some fringe winger of the GOP to get his questions out about Europeans liking President Obama being a liability. This just adds to the lunacy the wingnuttia keeps trying to put in the MSM that somehow the United States is a lone island of morality in a global sea of decadence and socialism. I have Republican family friends that can't say "Europe" or "France" (especially France) without using the word 'Socialist' in conjunction with an utterance of their name.

At first this was inexplicable to me as to why they felt the enmity and hatred was deserved until I realized that Europe (again, especially France) never really cared for Reagan and really hated GW Bush. Funny thing about the effects of that unilaterialism thing. Not only does it show disrepect to your allies, it tells them they aren't as righteous and good as we are (i.e. see Iraq and the Middle East).

Today I was listening to the BBC explain to an American journalist how the U.K. hangs on every action the U.S. takes regarding Anglo-American relations. Every nuance is intensely covered and written about extensively such as the perceived slight toward Gordon Brown during his visit here back in early March over the White House's gift of 25 DVD's. The U.K.'s "special relationship" with the U.S. is taken very seriously and includes a diplomatic dance unlike relations with any other country in the world (including Canada & Mexico).

There is no doubt Sanchez got twittered with that queston to Blitzer. There is also no doubt where it came from either.

Two reasons why the newspaper industry is in decline

I know the reasons for the newspaper industry's troubles have been discussed over the past year by any number of so called experts. Atrios points to the poor business model they used along with Athenae's rant about unchecked corporate corruption. As a former member of the industry itself for over 15 years I have my own explanation. Yes, I agree whole heartedly with both Atrios and Athena but only as it pertains to piling on to the real reason . And that real reason is simple enough: they stopped being journalist and began morphing into dictation machines. No matter who was sourced and/or quoted they were done so without question. It didn't matter what happened in the past or what was said. It only mattered for that moment. This journalistic "whiteout" whereas professional ethics and standards were thrown out the window was done so at the expense of accountability ensuring they were percieved to be "fair and balanced." No matter how ludicrous one side sounded regarding any issue it was treated with equal footing when contrasted with an opposing view. Eventually this practice of acting like cheerleaders for the local, state and the federal government without question comes at a huge expense: your credibility. Now journalist are seen to be no better than used car salespeople for their trouble. What a surprise.

Even now they don't get it. The MSM is still clueless why they are perceived as such. But make no bones about it. It is the reason they are dying. Why listen or read it if it isn't credible? (Like printing rants about weapons of mass destruction without calling them on it for proof or why it is a variable in the equation historically). Add to that the lousy business model as Atrios points out and you have an industry in deep trouble.

I think newspapers are a community necessity. Local government without a watchdog leads to corruption and bad policy. Once that voice and watchful eye is gone the bad times aren't just here to stay, they'll get worse.

NBC Nightly News' Chuck Todd getting it wrong - - again

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earlier this evening NBC Nightly News' Chuck Todd, NBC White House Correspondent, compared President Obama's firing of GM CEO Richard Wagoner (Ok, he insisted he resign) with Reagan's firing of PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization). Where do they find these guys? President Obama insisting that Wagoner step down after tanking GM during his decade at the helm is being compared to a union striking for better working conditions, higher pay and shorter working hours in a critical profession keeping our skies safely managed and known for intense professional burnout? What a complete idiot. For one thing, Reagan fired over 11,000 employees and broke a union in the process which was no doubt a wet dream for the right. Part of Reagan's "legacy" is firing and breaking a union where the profession experienced intense professional burnout due to the tremendous pressures of the job.

Chuck Todd seems to be demonstrating on a daily basis he has no clue to the substance of his so called "reports." I used to be impressed with his political analysis. But his skills as a reporter and connecting the dots on what he's reporting is sorely lacking. When you can't fill David Gregory's shoes, you've got a problem. If Gregory was any more of a light weight he'd be floating.

Cornyn & Bachman get their wingnuttia mojo on

Right wing loonies in the GOP seem to be a dime a dozen these days. But Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michelle Bachmann seem to be defining the benchmark for wingnuttia in general. While Cornyn proclaims that Minnesota could be years without a Senator while the state supreme court decides on a date to certify Al Franken's 225 vote win for the U.S. Senate you have Bachmann calling President Obama's economic policy nothing more than "economic Marxism." It's as simple as that. What amazes me is not the rhetoric itself but the certainty of her proclamation.

When Barry Goldwater ambled up to the podium at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on July 16, 1964 and uttered his nomination campaign speech's most famous line, "Let me remind you that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice" I'm sure he never imagined a GOP evolving into what you see today. While Goldwater called out to a nation to adopt a non conciliatory policy tone with regards to defense policy Cornyn and Bachmann are calling for actions that go beyond elected outcomes. One only has to wonder when lines of decency will be breeched before a voter back lash kicks in.