Saturday, March 26, 2005

Irresponsibility generating chaos

This post is cogent. I'm going to sample a couple of pieces of it, but please go read the whole thing:

Over the last three days or so, however, the coverage on the Little Three news networks -- Fox, CNN, MSNBC -- has ceased to be humorous. There is a difference between bad coverage and willfully irresponsible coverage, and another line between willfully irresponsible coverage and dangerously irresponsible coverage. In the last three days, those lines have been crossed. Repeatedly ...

Against this background of exploitation and misinformation, the usual bevy of archconservative media pundits has in the last several days begun to increasingly endorse a premise that is, to any rational mind, remarkable: the notion that because the courts have ruled in this particular fashion, it is now time for individuals and government figures to disregard the courts, and take matters into their own hands ...

Unless you are deeply stupid, you can see where this is leading. There have now been about a dozen individuals arrested for trying to enter the clinic to give Terri food or water, an action that (because she cannot swallow) in and of itself stands an excellent chance of killing her. Both Judge Greer and Michael Schiavo are under police protection; Florida lawmakers are finding their pictures on "Wanted" posters; home addresses of Greer and other judges are being distributed ...

Now, there are times when the news media is simply sloppy; there are times when journalists simply get stories wrong, and there are times when, as in the trials of Michael Jackson, Kobe, O.J., Martha Stewart, etc., the news channels are simply swept away by their natural tendency towards low-cost voyeurism. But this isn't one of those times. This isn't petty irresponsibility or sloppiness, to be chalked up to the dwindling resources of corporate newsrooms.

This is a decision on the part of producers to willfully bend the lines in a manner that promotes sensationalism and potential violence, by intentionally tossing known-false information into a wire-taut public conflict to enhance the "ratings value".

That's it, exactly.

William Randolph Hearst would be so proud.

Steve Gilliard reaches a similar conclusion, with Bush the president, Bush the governor, and DeLay and Frist taking the blame. And yes, they most certainly are at fault; but there'd be no grandstanding without a grandstand to stand on.

This charade is right on the verge of turning violent.


Traveller said...

Cut off from much of the media as I am, I haven't seen the worst -- the violence -- of what you're seeing. Nonetheless, it fills the air and has for a long while... since the Gingrich "revolution" at least.

Couple the vitriol of the Congressional Right with the viciousness of the anti-choice protesters in Florida. Set that against the support for Michael Schiavo nationally and the severe dip in the polls for Congress (already very low) and Bush (who thought he could never lose) and we're seeing a shift in the wind, I do believe. They are angry and they are losing face and that will make them angrier.

There's a streak of vigilantism in America ("we know what's right, so we're gonna climb on our hosses and git 'em"), and there are usually good people who simply refuse to let them take over. If that happens this time, I'll be interested to see which of our politicians are out there -- willing to stand in the way, to be bloodied if necessary -- even as two branches of government are pushing the nation over the edge into mob rule.

Did you catch the Keizer piece I linked to?

PDiddie said...

PW, violence hasn't occurred yet but hysteria and chaos certainly has.

Although to their credit, the Schindlers today asked protestors outside the hospice to go home.

"Everlasting Life" was thought-provoking.