Little Green Footballs

Friday, May 05, 2006

LGF and the Media

Hardly a day goes by when Charles Johnson doesn't bash the mainstream media in one way or another. One day it's Reuters, the next day it's AFP, AP or the BBC. ABC, CNN, Der Spiegel, the Guardian, the New York Times...pretty much every broadcaster or publishing outlet will get a drubbing from CJ, with the exception of FoxNews, which miraculously remains unscathed by the Little Green Goofball's searing sword of righteous justice.

The problem is, of course, that whatever cause you support, you'll find instances in which the mainstream media appear to make mistakes, are 'biased', incomplete in their reporting or in some other way deficient. It's a win-win game: if they used inverted commas, they're applying "scare quotes". If they don't, they're sanctioning a no-no phrase such as "religion of peace".

Charles Johnson, like a lot of other people, seems to think that mainstream media operate with limitless budgets, are all-seeing and all-knowing, and should never put a foot wrong. The fact that they do, occasionally, draw fire from both sides of a particular argument would make any sane commentator conclude that the MSM have the balance about right. Not so for Charles and the gang, for whom the MSM provide convenient punching bags to tar an entire industry with.

When is the last time you saw any blogger submit themselves to an independent review of his/her coverage of a particular issue? When is the last time you saw a blogger appoint a readers' editor? Have you ever seen Charles Johnson & Co present two sides (or more) to a story, in the way that professional papers, websites and broadcasters regularly do?

Nada. It's easy for Johnson to pontificate while being free from any responsibility himself. The only people he has to please are his 'lizards', who are already converts to the twin causes of Bush Deference Syndrome and rabid Islam hatred.

Johnson makes mistakes - almost every day - but he rarely feels the need to correct them. He misinterprets, overstates, and omits key parts of a story, but you won't find him ever saying 'mea culpa, I shouldn't have written that'.

The fact of the matter is, Johnson hates the media because they won't let him in. He's an ankle biter, yapping at the doors of professional journalism. For every small coup he lands (typewriters, anyone?) he fails massively to convey to his readers the essence of a given issue. It's almost as if he has resigned himself to being the eternal critic, and feeding the odd tid-bit of MSM flesh to better connected, more powerful detractors of professional journalism.

In this he is not so different from the fundamentalist Islamists he so hates. Writing about jihadi zealots in Pakistan, Mariane Pearl (wife of the murdered Wall Street Journal editor Daniel Pearl) says:

"This is why [they] hate journalists, at least those who reject black-and-white views of the world, because by exploring the gray zones, journalists can shed new light on issues like Arab-Israeli relations, American foreign relations, or Islamic fundamentalism. We have tools and the language to reveal truths. We believe we can change the world by changing the way people think about one another. We can even create links, frail as they may be, between people. Thus, for those who promote hatred, we are the most hateable of all."

It's not hard to see that Charles Johnson and his Little Green Footballs are among those who "promote hatred" too, and for whom the balance and insights provided by professional journalism are a major obstacle.

1 comment:

Johnny Mainstream said...

Great post. I think Chuckles ought to hire you as the readers' editor of Pajamas Media.

After all, you're probably its only actual reader...