Who ya gonna believe? The Mighty Pundit-ji or your own lyin’ eyes? Matthew Yglesias writes (italics mine):
Everyone’s gotten to the fact that Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas is factually wrong to say that increased partisan polarization turns people off from politics. It’s worth stopping to pause the fact that Thomas had a false, empirically verifiable, CW [conventional wisdom]-reaffirming thesis in his head and a major newsmagazine went ahead and published it without either the author or any of his editors stopping to check the evidence, which would have proven him wrong. Meanwhile, it’s a foregone conclusion that nobody involved in publishing this in Newsweek will suffer any deleterious consequences whatsoever. If you repeat the CW, you prosper, no matter what.
What is astonishing is that making claims in the absence of evidence appears to be standard operating procedure for major news organizations. (If this is how Very Serious People ‘think’, then sign me up on the Silly side of the divide). Most Americans who did their jobs this poorly would be fired, but, as Yglesias remarks, “it’s a foregone conclusion that nobody involved in publishing this in Newsweek will suffer any deleterious consequences whatsoever.” Despite the arrogance of the pundit class, it is painfully clear how stupid so many of them are. Worse, the stupidity is self-reinforcing.
For the life of me, I have no idea how to change this. We have a clique with a death grip on what passes for this country’s intellectual discourse, and we have no way to remove it or challenge it.
So how do we change this?
No, it happens in a lot of businesses – if you follow the ‘conventional wisdom’ nothing that goes wrong is your fault. That is the attraction of ‘conventional wisdom’: ‘believe this and nothing bad will happen’.
There really is no reason the major media should try to get anything right. If one comes out with some new ignorance, the others will copy off them, and the idiocy will spread as the accepted truth.
The major media work in the interests of their customers who are the multinational corporations who pay for the advertising. Big business does not want a public growing critical or skeptical, or doing any real thinking, and so all the major media are neck and neck in a slow race to the bottom.
Lucky for George Orwell he’s already dead, or he’d shit himself blind.