Thursday, August 11, 2005

On the Media, On the Other Side? 

Sometimes when I'm forced to be up early on Saturday morning, I will listen to NPR's On the Media, if for no other reason than to roll my eyes at how seriously journalists tend to take themselves. This past weekend, though, I was struck by the unquestioning assumptions embodied in a report on William Laurence, the NYT reporter who was basically embedded (and some contend in bed) with the Manhattan Project (emphasis added):
BOB GARFIELD: Sixty years later the dropping of the bomb remains one of the great historical controversies. What I find so stunning about this is that at the contemporaneous moment when the world had to make up its mind, the New York Times, in effect, became a propaganda tool of the U.S. government...

DAVID GOODMAN: That's right. And the very debate that you elude to about was the atomic bomb an appropriate response, well Americans really wouldn't know if they don't know the reality of what happened on the ground. ... I think that this story has some very important modern parallels, certainly in the case of the Iraq Wart [sic] and in the case of the New York Times, with the, I would say, credulous, uncritical reporting of Judith Miller, among others. Anytime we see the drums of war, we should really be looking to journalists to challenge those in power, not to become a megaphone for those in power.
So here we basically have David Goodman laying out the media's responsibility, especially in times of war, as being in oposition to the government, a position that Bob Garfield apparently accepts without comment.

After all, who cares if "those in power" might be right? And they still want us believe they are unbiased and fair?

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