Friday, March 16, 2007

The Media's war on Heisenberg

Ezra has it right here:
The media has this weird causality paradox, where they'll do things, and then pretend those things and their effects just magically occurred, and merrily report on the aftermath. That's how you get silly spectacles like the chattering class not reporting on a candidate's public pronouncements and then turning around and downgrading that candidate because the chattering class didn't report on his statements. The problem is the media, which is a major and powerful actor in our democracy, hews to an evidently absurd ethos which states that they cannot in any way influence political outcomes. Of course, there's absolutely no way they can avoid influencing elections, if only due to what they choose to cover. But if they state that publicly, the whole facade crashes down.
To quote Prof. Farnsworth: "No fair! You changed the outcome by observing it!" The note that Ezra links to is pretty egregious -- the media is judging John Edwards as a failure because they (the media) are doing a crappy job of covering him.

We've seen this before -- the media crapped all over Al Gore in 2000, and then they turned around and talked about how "weak" he was as a candidate, totally ignoring their own history of outright lying about him. (No, he never said he invented the Internet. Shut up already.)

1 comment:

janfromthebruce said...

We see the same thing in our main stream press. Here's an excerpt from the Toronto in their Editorial section on Mar. 12th.:
"Amid this denial and drift, Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion at least has faced the problem head on with his plan to create a made-in-Canada "cap and trade" emissions reduction system for industry."
Doesn't that sound like Dion is wonderful, but Torstar forgot to report in the editorial this:
Dion's green ideas begin to catch on

Editorial, March 12.

The editorial endorsing a cap-and-trade system is wise. Capping pollution and providing domestic carbon-exchange markets can help create the change we need. The European Union is leading in emissions reduction largely because of its carbon exchange, in which greenhouse gas emissions are commodified and traded between large emitters.

However, your readers should know that far from being Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion's plan, cap and trade was rejected by him. He was presented with the proposal by many, including me, at a meeting when he was environment minister. He said no. The New Democratic Party proposed this system in the 2004 and 2006 elections. Our plan would have created a Green Fund to invest in greenhouse gas reduction projects.

Rather than labelling cap and trade "Dion's plan," you should be asking what took him so long. Months ago, I called for the creation of the all-party committee to rewrite the so-called Clean Air Act, with the goal being to summon the best ideas in Parliament and put them together in a climate-change strategy.

Cap and trade should be part of that discussion. I welcome Dion in joining it.

Jack Layton, Leader of the Federal NDP, Ottawa

So no, Dion didn't face the problems head on in 2004 or 2006, and he didn't create any new ideas.
Too bad the Tor star didn't write wonderful editorials about Laytons creating these new ideas. Our polling numbers might go up & that's why Torstar doesn't provide unbias opinion, and why it does selective reporting.