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Aljazeera America trolls MSM with smart, insightful reporting

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  • Aljazeera America trolls MSM with smart, insightful reporting

    The news that scares rednecks with its terrist-soundin' name is actually pretty good. Nice slams on NYT and Wapo.

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    http://america.aljazeera.com/article...democracy.html

    U.S. news reports are largely blaming the government shutdown on the inability of both political parties to come to terms. It is supposedly the result of a "bitterly divided" Congress that "failed to reach agreement" (Washington Post) or "a bitter budget standoff" left unresolved by "rapid-fire back and forth legislative maneuvers" (New York Times). This sort of false equivalence is not just a failure of journalism. It is also a failure of democracy.
    When the political leadership of this country is incapable of even keeping the government open, a political course correction is in order. But how can democracy self-correct if the public does not understand where the problem lies? And where will the pressure for change come from if journalists do not hold the responsible parties accountable?
    The truth of what happened Monday night, as almost all political reporters know full well, is that "Republicans staged a series of last-ditch efforts to use a once-routine budget procedure to force Democrats to abandon their efforts to extend U.S. health insurance." (Thank you, Guardian.)
    And holding the entire government hostage while demanding the de facto repeal of a president's signature legislation and not even bothering to negotiate is by any reasonable standard an extreme political act. It is an attempt to make an end run around the normal legislative process. There is no historical precedent for it. The last shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996, were not the product of unilateral demands to scrap existing law; they took place during a period of give-and-take budget negotiations.
    But the political media's aversion to doing anything that might be seen as taking sides — combined with its obsession with process — led them to actively obscure the truth in their coverage of the votes. If you did not already know what this was all about, reading the news would not help you understand.
    What makes all this more than a journalistic failure is that the press plays a crucial role in our democracy. We count on the press to help create an informed electorate. And perhaps even more important, we rely on the press to hold the powerful accountable.
    That requires calling out political leaders when they transgress or fail to meet commonly agreed-upon standards: when they are corrupt, when they deceive, when they break the rules and refuse to govern. Such exposure is the first consequence. When the transgressions are sufficiently grave, what follows should be continued scrutiny, marginalization, contempt and ridicule.
    In the current political climate, journalistic false equivalence leads to an insufficiently informed electorate, because the public is not getting an accurate picture of what is going on.

    <hr class="D"> Journalists have been suckered into embracing 'balance' and 'neutrality' at all costs.
    <hr class="D">

    But the lack of accountability is arguably even worse because it has the characteristics of a cascade failure. When the media coverage seeks down-the-middle neutrality despite one party's outlandish conduct, there are no political consequences for their actions. With no consequences for extremism, politicians who have succeeded using such conduct have an incentive to become even more extreme. The more extreme they get, the further the split-the-difference press has to veer from common sense in order to avoid taking sides. And so on.
    The political press should be the public's first line of defense when it comes to assessing who is deviating from historic norms and practices, who is risking serious damage to the nation, whose positions are based in irrational phobias and ignorance rather than data and reason.
    Instead journalists have been suckered into embracing "balance" and "neutrality" at all costs, and the consequences of their choice in an era of political extremism will only get worse and worse.
    One of the great ironies of the current dynamic is that political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, who for decades were conventional voices of plague-on-both-your-houses centrism, have now become among the foremost critics of a press corps that fails to report the obvious. They describe the modern Republican Party, without any hesitation, as "a party beholden to ideological zealots."
    But as Mann explained in an interview last year, "The mainstream press really has such a difficult time trying to cope with asymmetry between the two parties' agendas and connections to facts and truth."
    Even with a story as straightforward as the government shutdown, splitting the difference remains the method of choice for the political reporters and editors in Washington's most influential news bureaus. Even when they surely know better. Even when many Republican elected officials have criticized their own leaders for being too beholden to the more radical right wing.
    Media critics — and members of the public — have long decried this kind of he-said-she-said reporting. The Atlantic's James Fallows, one of the most consistent chroniclers and decriers of false equivalence, describes it as the "strong tendency to give equal time and credence to varying 'sides' of a story, even if one of the sides is objectively true and the other is just made up."
    New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen argues that truth telling has been surpassed as a newsroom priority by a neither-nor impartiality he calls the "view from nowhere."
    Blaming everyone — Congress, both sides, Washington — is simply the path of least resistance for today's political reporters. It's a way of avoiding conflict rather than taking the risk that the public — or their editors — will accuse them of being unprofessionally partisan.
    But making a political judgment through triangulation — trying to stake out a safe middle ground between the two political parties — is still making a political judgment. It is often just not a very good one. And in this case, as in many others, it is doing the country a grave disservice.
    So, no, the shutdown is not generalized dysfunction or gridlock or stalemate. It is aberrational behavior by a political party that is willing to take extreme and potentially damaging action to get its way. And by not calling it what it is, the political press is enabling it.
    We need a more fearless media.
    Last edited by Blart; 10-03-2013, 09:23 AM.

  • #2
    From what I have seen, AJ America is similar to the BBC in it's approach. An excellent alternative to the limp wristed fluff coming from the networks.

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    • #3
      News reporting that report news rather than narrative? what is the wizardry and tomfoolery!

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      • #4
        Of course the libs here slobber all over the mooslam news... herp... derp.

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        • #5
          The other side of the coin...

          If It Happened There ... the Government Shutdown
          By Joshua Keating

          This is the first installment of “If It Happened There,” a regular feature in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.

          WASHINGTON, United States—The typical signs of state failure aren’t evident on the streets of this sleepy capital city. Beret-wearing colonels have not yet taken to the airwaves to declare martial law. Money-changers are not yet buying stacks of useless greenbacks on the street.

          But the pleasant autumn weather disguises a government teetering on the brink. Because, at midnight Monday night, the government of this intensely proud and nationalistic people will shut down, a drastic sign of political dysfunction in this moribund republic.

          The capital’s rival clans find themselves at an impasse, unable to agree on a measure that will allow the American state to carry out its most basic functions. While the factions have come close to such a shutdown before, opponents of President Barack Obama’s embattled regime now appear prepared to allow the government to be shuttered over opposition to a controversial plan intended to bring the nation’s health care system in line with international standards.

          Six years into his rule, Obama’s position can appear confusing, even contradictory. Though the executive retains control of the country’s powerful intelligence service, capable of the extrajudicial execution of the regime’s opponents half a world away, the president’s efforts to govern domestically have been stymied in the legislature by an extremist rump faction of the main opposition party.

          The current rebellion has been led by Sen. Ted Cruz, a young fundamentalist lawmaker from the restive Texas region, known in the past as a hotbed of separatist activity. Activity in the legislature ground to a halt last week for a full day as Cruz insisted on performing a time-honored American demonstration of stamina and self-denial, which involved speaking for 21 hours, quoting liberally from science fiction films and children’s books. The gesture drew wide media attention, though its political purpose was unclear to outsiders.

          With hours remaining until the government of the world’s richest nation runs out of money, attention now focuses on longtime opposition leader John Boehner, under pressure from both the regime and the radical elements of his own movement, who may be the only political figure with the standing needed to end the standoff.

          While the country’s most recent elections were generally considered to be free and fair (despite threats against international observers), the current crisis has raised questions in the international community about the regime’s ability to govern this complex nation of 300 million people, not to mention its vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

          Americans themselves are starting to ask difficult questions as well. As this correspondent’s cab driver put it, while driving down the poorly maintained roads that lead from the airport, “Do these guys have any idea what they’re doing to the country?”

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          • #6
            You know, when your government gets compared to the 18th century Polish-Lithuanian Sejm, you are in some seriously deep ****.

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            • #7
              Just shows how little they relate to American history. Our government was set up for conflict and power struggle. It was regarded as essential to liberty. Progressives struggle with this basic foundational principle.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BBII View Post
                Just shows how little they relate to American history. Our government was set up for conflict and power struggle. It was regarded as essential to liberty. Progressives struggle with this basic foundational principle.
                Your Republicans are making America look exceptionally stupid.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by W*GS View Post
                  Your Republicans are making America look exceptionally stupid.
                  More hyper partisan selection bias Wagsy.

                  Why am I not surprised?

                  http://m.washingtonpost.com/opinions...35e_story.html

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BBII View Post
                    More hyper partisan selection bias Wagsy.

                    Why am I not surprised?
                    You shouldn't be surprised that your Republicans are making America look exceptionally stupid. That's their job.

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                    • #11
                      Just got done watching Pelosi talk. Wow......It's as if she wants to spark a civil war. What were the people of California thinking by electing her? Unbelievable.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Meck77 View Post
                        Just got done watching Pelosi talk. Wow......It's as if she wants to spark a civil war. What were the people of California thinking by electing her? Unbelievable.
                        And yet Ted Cruz directly references and likens the current disagreements to the Civil War AND Nazi Appeasement...and you say nothing.

                        "Rs and Ds don't matter to me."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by houghtam View Post
                          And yet Ted Cruz directly references and likens the current disagreements to the Civil War AND Nazi Appeasement...and you say nothing.

                          "Rs and Ds don't matter to me."

                          Must have missed that interview. Wouldn't disagree with him though. You should have heard pelosi go off. It is becoming a civil war. Our own president says there is no negotiating. People go to war when the feel like there is no other option. A political war is unfolding. Things are getting volatile. Like I said the other day. A couple sparks and this could get real nutty. Our leaders are adding fuel now.

                          For whatever reason Obama has just made enemies with the other party. It's kinda like Cutler trying to lead the Broncos. It just didn't work because people didn't buy into him. Think back to Jake Plummer. Much less physically talented but the guys liked him. The team rallied to 13-3 and almost made the Superbowl.

                          We're like a 4-6 team about to give up on the season with Obama at QB. Can we finish the season without the team blowing up are we already looking to next draft/president.
                          Last edited by Meck77; 10-03-2013, 04:10 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Meck77 View Post
                            Just got done watching Pelosi talk. Wow......It's as if she wants to spark a civil war. What were the people of California thinking by electing her? Unbelievable.
                            Harry Reid giggles at the mere thought of pain and suffering. If they want war, it's what they'll get.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pricejj View Post
                              Harry Reid giggles at the mere thought of pain and suffering. If they want war, it's what they'll get.
                              That a threat?

                              I'd like to be clear here.

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