Saturday 3/4/23

Emotionally right

Don’t hold your breath for an apology from those who pooh-poohed the lab leak theory. Those smeared as conspiracy theorists will remain smeared as such. The people in charge will remain in charge, and the journalists will keep going, smug, content to be wrong but to have always been, most importantly, emotionally right.

Suzy Weiss

Fox News, again

The revelations about Fox news’ amplification of Trumpist lies about the 2020 election obviously elicit some “Whataboutism.” Is Fox on the Right really worse than, say, MSNBC? Andrew Sullivan thinks so:

The great and obvious flaw in the political right’s legitimate criticism of mainstream media bias is that the most dishonest, cynical, postmodern, post-truth, “everything-is-power” media enterprise is Fox News.

Fox News president, Jay Wallace, remarked that “the North Koreans do a more nuanced show” than Fox Business did. “It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things,” Fox news exec Bill Sammon agreed. And he’d know.

And the topic they were lying about was not some minor culture-war controversy, or some genuinely vexing congeries of electoral glitches that could be aired out. It was the core foundation of democracy itself — the basic public legitimacy of our elections, the charge that the fraud was “massive” and comprehensive and that democracy was over.

The usual counter to what seems to me an open-and-shut case of grotesque corruption is as follows: well, they all do it. Fox’s lies are no different than MSNBC’s or the NYT’s or NPR’s lies — and because most media are now captured by a faction of the far left, some response from the right on the same lines is appropriate. 

To which I’d make three responses. First, of course two wrongs don’t make a right. You will never get ethical journalism by practicing unethical journalism, just as you will never get rid of racism by discriminating on the basis of race. Second, if this is your view, please be consistent and condemn Fox as well as the others (and you usually won’t). But third, I do honestly think that the corruption at Fox is different. 

[Whereas liberal media have actually ceased believing in objective reality, Fox hasn’t] abandoned the tradition of objective fact in favor of moral narrative. They still privately believe in empirical reality; they will just happily trash it in public if they think it will lose them viewers and thereby money. The core principle is money. Not truth, money. Not ethics, money. Not even obeying the law. Money.

(Emphasis added)

A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.

Kenneth Tynan via The Economist

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