Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Poisonous Suggestions In The January Media

No wonder so many Americans are growing fed up with the news media, as reflected by subscription declines and less viewing of the network news shows. It seems whereever we look, the most negative suggestions are being made about the U.S. Government and its policies.

I noticed Seymour Hersh, who has virtually never found anything good to say about the USA, not only in the Bush Administration but in every administration going back to Lyndon B. Johnson's.

Now Hersh has written in the New Yorker that U.S. forces are preparing an attack against Iran to head off its nuclear plans. Surveillance of nuclear sites is being secretly undertaken, according to Hersh.

Everytime there is a new Hersh investigatory revelation, it's always claimed that sources within the U.S. military are talking to him, and that's where it all comes from. But I'm suspicious. Where are all these people in the military establishment who are so eager to talk to a reporter who never has anything good to say about this country?

Pardon me, I'm not convinced that Hersh is legit.

Tuesday's Los Angeles Times is filled with lurid negative suggestions. Let me list a few.

--Bob Scheer is tearing down the Bush Administration and its Iraq policies for the umpteenth time. I thought this was a newspaper. What is there new about Scheer? And much of what he says is poppycock. Just today, he remarks, "Although it is true that Bush secured a (very slim) majority of the popular vote..." Very slim, my foot! Bush won by a comfortable 3.5 million votes. He increased his percentage of the vote in virtually every state. Even the New York Times editorial at least had the good grace, which the L.A. Times did not have, to congratulate Bush on his victory.

--The LAT Op-Ed Page is frequently not satisfied with just one negative article about the war. It runs two. The second today is by Michael Keane, a lecturer at USC, carrying the title, "Our Tortured Language of War." The Times editorial pages are a dirge of negativity, which is costing the newspaper its hitherto fine reputation.

--Then, on Page 1, there's an article sympathetic to an Islamic surge in Spain. It's only 500 years since Spanish Catholics completed the reconquest. The headline on the jump is, "Spanish Muslims Proudly Reclaim 'Al Andalus.' Don't hold your breath.

--Page 3 has yet another in a long string of articles over the months essentially taking the Chechen side of the attempt to oust Russia from the Caucasus region. This one suggests that the Putin regime might have inspired terrorism, blowing up Russian apartments, as an excuse for war. But I thought Muslim terrorists just last fall seized a school and were responsible for the killing of hundreds of adults and children.

On Page 7, the headline on the jump is, "Commanders Lose Confidence in Military Victory." The subject is Iraq naturally. Thanks goodness, we still though have a resilient military.

It's a constant refrain in the L.A. Times and a lot of other media as well: Things are going terribly, and we have lost any moral core we once had.

Just like before World War II: The tyrants were going to win, and Democracy was finished.

No wonder many Americans are sick of it all, and Times circulation is down by hundreds of thousands daily. Not that everything is for the best in the best of possible worlds. We do live in difficult times, and there are things to criticize, as I did just yesterday in discussing the Armstrong Williams payoff. It's just that I don't think always being negative is justified.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't so much negativity in the mainstream news media that is resulting in a decline in subscription numbers and advertising revunes, and a decline in viewers for the evening news. That does play a part in this particular demise. What is a more influential cause of this slow death is the deliberate and willful bias perpetuated by the mainsteam news media, an almost joyful delight in not doing their job properly.

I believe people want to succeed. I believe people believe success comes from doing a good job, and being rewarded accordingly. And when people see the likes of Dan Rather and Armstrong Williams screwing off and not being properly punished for not doing their jobs properly it has a major impact on their industy.


James C. Hess

1/19/2005 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What I don't understand is how the Tribune, who craves a profit, allows the Times to get so bad, to so arrogantly go out of its way to offend half of its readership (the non-Boxer/Michael Moore/Scheer fans) with the front section bias. Out here in the suburbs, where Bush won big, folks are doing quite well without the Times, and more will discontinue once the Times giveaway rates cease.

1/19/2005 10:03 AM  
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