How the Sausage Gets Made

Until the rise of first conservative forums such as Free Republic in the mid-1990s (who would later instantly pounce on Dan Rather's forged documents in September of 2004), and then Matt Drudge and eventually the Blogosphere, most consumers of news had little idea of how the sausage was made, other than sensationalistic Hollywood productions such as All the President's Men and Lou Grant. The one exception prior to the rise of the Web might have been during the early 1980s. That was when the first commercially available satellite dishes went on the market, and savvy users with early VCRs recorded television journalists beaming their videotaped reports across the country and anchormen prepping for the nightly news, before the networks started scrambling their product to prevent unwanted downloads. The sort of "found footage" collected by Harry Shearer is typical of this genre.

But once the Blogosphere took off, and people who had an interest in exploring how the media actively shapes the news (or attempts to create it, in the case of Dan and his producer) could start trading blogposts, moments such as this became increasingly common. Here's the image of Cindy Sheehan and Al Sharpton the way that the MSM (and Sheehan and Sharpton) wanted you to see them in 2005:

Here's the sausage being made:

In the Middle East, manufacturing dissent is done on an assembly line basis. Occasionally though, it's possible to pull the camera back a bit, in some cases, literally. As Ben Domenech writes at Ricochet, "Stop what you're doing and watch this pretty incredible video on photojournalism and propaganda, from Ruben Salvadori:"

At Power Line, Steve Hayward adds:

There were a few reported instances back in the late 1960s and early 1970s where TV crews showed up at college campuses with anti-war signs to pass out to students to make sure they got the right visuals.  And then there’s this devastating expose by a young Italian journalist named Ruben Salvadori about how photojournalists have become not merely part of the story of Palestinian unrest on the West Bank, but the instigators of it.

I hadn't heard reports of the MSM actually handing out protest signs, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. I do know the story that Tom Wolfe told Bill Moyers of PBS, when he was promoting The Bonfire of the Vanities, which we'll quote right after the page jump.