The Failure of ‘He Said/She Said’ Journalism

Billmon has a superb post on the failures of journalism due to Compulsive Centrist Disorder:

But no one in the corporate media, to my knowledge, has even come close to putting an accurate lead on the story — which would look something like this:

Faced with the likely loss of one if not both houses of Congress, the Republican Party has embarked on a massive, last-ditch effort to smear Democratic challengers in competitive districts across the country.
The resulting campaign has completely demolished whatever minor restraints remained on the use of lies and distortions in political attack ads, and has pushed the already debased American political process to a new low.

A “straight” journalist couldn’t possibly write a lead like that and expect to get it past his/her editor — even though the Republicans themselves revealed their intentions quite clearly some weeks ago:

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.
Opposition research is power,” said Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.), the NRCC chairman. “Opposition research is the key to defining untested opponents.”

The only fresh “news” is that the resulting ads are even fouler and more despicable than any the Rovian machine has unleashed in the past — to the point where some of them would probably have made Joseph Goebbels himself blush.

It’s bad enough when Compulsive Centrist Disorder inflicts itself on evolutionary biology. It’s worse when it pervades the entire journalistic infrastructure.

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1 Response to The Failure of ‘He Said/She Said’ Journalism

  1. Edward says:

    It’s hardly news that this is a problem. I gave up on the mainstream US media’s “he said/she said” reporting back during the breakup of Yugoslavia: mainly because the comments of people who were promoting genocide were presented with as much credence as the comments of others. All many in the US media did was present the statements of politicians without any investigation into what was going on. “News” is now presented to entertain rather than inform the public, so why spend the money to actually investigate?

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