Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Media "Think"/ Media "Parrot"

From Glenn Greenwald:

After Pelosi's Syria trip, there is a 15-point gap in favor of Congressional Democrats over Congressional Republicans. These media stars have absolutely no idea what and how "Americans" think. They take the conventional Beltway wisdom they pass amongst one another -- all generated by their White House confidants and other right-wing sources who have long ruled Washington (and therefore "their world") -- and they mindlessly assume it to be true and then run around repeating it without any effort to determine if it is actually true (or they know it's false and repeat it anyway).
Or, as The Boston Globe's editor, Martin Baron,
put it yesterday in explaining what Charlie Savage did to merit a Pulitzer Prize that distinguishes him from other journalists: "he covered what the White House does, not just what it says."
By stark contrast, the Tim Russerts, Matt Lauers and Suzanne Malvaeux's hear what their secret White House and Bush following sources tell them ("Americans don't want negotiations with Syria -- Pelosi is in big trouble on this one -- this feeds the image of Democrats as weak and untrustworthy on national security - this was a major unforced error from Pelosi -- she's really overreaching here -- Karl Rove is chortling over the pictures of Pelosi in Damascus") and then they run around repeating those cliches.
That whole week, the media stars were simply copying the right-wing talking points fed to them about Pelosi's trip, and then making one false claim after the next about how Americans think. For instance, the week of Pelosi's trip, GOP Rep. Eric Cantor in National Review
wrote that "the Speaker and many of her Democratic allies have become so drunk with grandiose visions of deposing Bush that they break bread with terrorists and enemies of the United States." That was the premise the media stars adopted -- that Americans see Syria as "the enemy" and therefore will view Pelosi's trip as fueling the image of Democrats as subversive, soft-on-terrorism losers who cannot be "trusted on national security."
But that is how the right-wing fringe thinks (and therefore how our media stars think), not how most Americans think. The
vast majority of Americans favor negotiations with the Syrians ("By 64% to 28%, respondents favored the [Baker-Hamilton] group's recommendation to open direct talks with Iran and Syria"). And only a small minority of Americans share Rep. Cantor's view that Syria is even our "enemy" at all. From a Rasmussen poll taken in the midst of the Pelosi/Syria "controversy": Even Israelis, by an overwhelming 54-31 margin, favor negotiations with Syria. The notion that Americans would backlash against Pelosi for defying the Leader and travelling to Syria existed only on the talking points pages of right-wing operatives and (therefore) in the minds of our media stars. It never existed in reality, as the latest polling data conclusively demonstrates.

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