Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mainstream Media: Of Course We're Whores. So What?

Like Glenn Greenwald, I was happy to see The New York Times give us a classic front-page expose in the April 20 Sunday edition, on the Pentagon stage-managing corporate and retired "military analysts" appearing on national TV networks to make precisely the points the Pentagon wanted to make. Talk about your Mighty Wurlitzer! And like Glenn Greenwald, I was waiting for some kind of reaction from CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC, CNN ... surely they couldn't sit still and pretend this story never appeared? Well, yes they could.

Thankfully, Glenn Greenwald made his frustrations known in Salon. The networks know that David Barstow was telling the straight story in his NY Times article about the depths to which they'd been used, and they didn't care to be reminded of it. As Greenwald said, news organizations never disclose when outsiders or their own cohorts accuse them of being corrupt in the newsgathering process, so we shouldn't be surprised. Nor should we be surprised about the Pentagon analyst scam. With budgets slashed in the newsroom, most TV news organizations are so used to the concept of "embedded war reporting" that they'd love to get pre-made video clips from the Pentagon and broadcast them as their own. Good old Eric Alterman of The Nation magazine has regularly been claiming that the mainstream media has sunk to such depths, its members are beneath contempt. Glenn Greenwald provided specific examples of this treachery, by showing how TV networks pretend David Barstow and The Times do not exist. Here's one instance where the steep decline of journalism should not bother anyone, as TV network news would be better off not being in existence.

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