The Spinal Tap Media, Revisited

Back in February, Glenn Reynolds wrote, “With a nod to the movie Spinal Tap, I would say the media treatment of Bush administration scandals ‘goes to 11′”.


Of course, that’s far from its only excess, as Peter Kann, the chairman of Dow Jones writes:

The media’s short attention span. As the press hops from Baghdad to Beirut, Natalee Holloway to Valerie Plame, Super Bowls to Super Tuesdays, it justifiably can blame some combination of the nature of the news and the short attention span of the public. The public, meanwhile, bombarded and bewildered can blame a fickle and shallow press. There are too many instant celebrities. Too many two-day crises. Too many “defining moments” from people in search of instant history. In a world where everything is considered critical, nothing needs to be taken very seriously.

The matter of power. The press is at least partially responsible for greater public skepticism toward traditional institutions in America. But the truth, not lost on our public, is that the press is a large and powerful institution, too: “60 Minutes” is more powerful than almost all of the subjects it exposes. This newspaper, arguably, has more influence on national economic policy than do most corporations. Networks are owned by giant industrial corporations, magazines by entertainment conglomerates, and most newspapers by national chains. Given these realities, we cannot plausibly pretend to be a David out there smiting Goliaths and expect the public to believe it.


Read the whole thing, as they say in the New, New Journalism.

Update: Meanwhile, Bryan Preston has some thoughts on how the media operates in the Middle East:

To point out that Reuters


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