Ed Driscoll

Want To Fix The MSM? Fix The Culture First

Michael Ledeen looks back at the multifaceted opinions of of 1970s Italian newspapers and compares it to America’s media today:

Like the Italians in the seventies, we have accepted bias as a fact of life, and while both “sides” complain about the “other side’s” politicization of the news, hardly anyone complains about the process itself.  Indeed, most energy and money are directed at monopolizing the “information flow,” shutting up or shutting down the other side (the recent White House jihad against Fox News being the most recent case in point–the attempted exclusion of Fox people from the White House pool is a textbook example), and seizing upon any excuse to vilify anyone who is taken to be wrongheaded.  But it’s only part of a much bigger transformation.  On the one hand, Soros pours money into web sites, on the other, Murdoch expands his media empire.  Some of these enterprises make some money, but for the most part they are losers.  Profit is certainly not the point.  It’s all about politics, just as in Italy thirty-forty years ago.

I don’t see any short-term “solution” to this state of affairs.  It might be nice to have a generally reliable source, but most politicized consumers would probably find it boring, which means losing money.   The only hope is to change the culture, which means, above all, changing the universities.  Our elite students are mostly products of super-politicized colleges and universities.  They’ve been trained by professors who not only do not conceal their politics, but often impose their ideology on the students.  A few years ago there was a poll of Ivy League professors in the humanities and social scientists, which produced a tiny handful of conservatives in a sea of liberals and leftists.  Not even a pretense of “balance.”  Unless that changes, there is no chance of producing a new generation of reporters.

I think that’s exactly right — if you want to change the content of America’s media, it starts with changing the content taught in America’s elite universities, and reversing the Long March of the 1960s.