ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, March 11, 2005

Rather Redux

Jonah Goldbergh on Rather's departure in today's NRO ("The Big 'I' Retires"):

Sentimentalism about the victims of society may be an admirable trait in a man, but in a journalist who claims to prize objectivity above all else it’s a betrayal. How do you define “victim”? How do you define “looking out” for him? For Rather’s critics it was always clear that he saw the government as the protector of the little guy. And that meant anyone who favored reducing the role of the federal government was automatically the bad guy.

“The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor,” Dan Rather began one typical segment. That these programs didn’t do what they were designed to do wasn’t an important part of the story for Rather.

Rather could always be counted on to elevate certain facts, certain experts, certain arguments as more important than others. Perhaps that’s an inevitable feature of all media — but especially of TV and print, where a few players have enormous influence. One needn’t be a postmodern relativist to understand that journalistic objectivity — the ideal of reporting the facts without prejudice or favor — is an unattainable goal.

I have no objection to journalists having biases, much as I have no objection to two plus two equaling four. One may choose to accept the fact or not, but it is a fact nonetheless. Dan Rather, however, always insisted his reporting was bias-free, that he was calling the facts, and just the facts. His career as anchor ended in large part because he couldn’t accept that something he had reported wasn’t true and that he had rushed to report it because of an agenda that wasn’t stamped with an “I” [for Independent.] The irony is that that’s what his career was always about.
And this is exactly the point... While those of us on the Right see this bias in a majority of news stories, those on the Left fail to recognize it at all and still cling to the concept of journalists as objective arbiters of the Truth.

As I mentioned here, the key points about Rathergate isn't that Dan Rather is a liberal stooge, but that there is no such thing as an objective journalist anywhere. Sure, some are better at considering both sides than others (and Dan certainly wasn't one of those), but there will always be bias when someone puts pen & ink to paper (or bytes to a harddrive).

The benefits of the blogosphere is that, while people don't know what my opinion on any given issue is going to be (we're not all cookie cutter reproductions of each other), there's a little section in the upper right of this blog that explicitly tells you my inclinations. The fact that the MSM keeps up the facade of their objectivity is what drives us nuts. It's like looking outside and seeing rain and your friend tells you it's sunny and clear out... you just don't understand why your friend can't see the millions of raindrops or feel the water hit his face and you either think he's absolutely insane or thinks he can lie to you about it and you'd be stupid enough to believe him.

***UPDATE***
Thomas Sowell on the issue...
H/T - DoublePlusGood

BTW, if you don't ready Thomas Sowell, you're missing out... Here's one of his fine books that I enjoyed... good primmer.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (2)
Brian said...

Hey! No mention of who loaned you that book? hmm?


ARC Brian

St Wendeler said...

Ummm..... yes, I forgot that it's actually YOUR book... but I didn mention that we both enjoyed it.