Ed Driscoll

The Administration’s Press

The AP will be essential to Barack Obama’s reelection plans, Tom Blumer writes at PJM:

The Associated Press describes itself as “the essential global news network.”

It is indeed essential — to Barack Obama, and for the next seven months, his reelection campaign. Recent management actions and “news” coverage at the AP confirm that it is no longer pejorative to call the wire service the Administration’s Press, or even the Administration’s Propagandists.

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The wire service’s journalists are represented by the News Media Guild, a militant subset of the Communications Workers of America. The AP became unionized in the wake of a 1937 Supreme Court decision. Dissenting justices in the 5-4 case contended that the First Amendment’s freedom of the press should keep news organizations free from all government interference in their operations — in this case, at the hands of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ruthlessly aggressive National Labor Relations Board. They prophetically warned that allowing journalists to form unions would forever compromise the ability of a media outlet to “preserve its news service free from color, bias, or distortion.” Did it ever. The AP should be all about, and only about, who, what, where, when, why, and how — just the facts. Instead, the current trendy phrase at AP is “Journalism With Voice,” which at bottom means “more interpretation,” i.e., even more spin and bias.

Of course, AP is far from the only print organization that’s spinning for the president. Check out the screen grabs assembled by econ-blogger “Tyler Durden” and found by Doug Ross, from Bloomberg.com over a period of a little over two weeks from mid-March to early April. They’re the trillion dollar version of Oceania’s Ministry of Truth announcing that the chocolate ration has “gone up” to 20 grams a week from 30.

Fortunately, it’s Bloomberg, so you know this pro-Obama propaganda is occurring “unexpectedly” there.

For the video version of “journalism with voice,”  MSNBC is your channel. In a lengthy, must-read blog post-slash-article titled “MSNBC’s POV Metamorphosis: How a Cable News Network is Becoming a Cable POV Network,” Inside Cable News explores the pitfalls of the channel’s current direction, both for the viewer — and for any would-be journalists there, who aren’t arriving with superstar lefty credentials to begin with. As Inside Cable News notes, “take a moment and put yourself in the position of an MSNBC news anchor:”

You were trained to be a journalist and use those skills as a news anchor, not trained to be someone who takes and voices positions on the air. But what are you going to do? You’re seeing POV analysis shows popping up all over the place on MSNBC now. If you resist Griffin’s new edgier POV style ideas are you risking your career at the network? Say you get dropped by the network because of that…who is going to take you? The sad fact is if you’re not a big name you have little chance of jumping over to CNN, FNC, ABC, or CBS. If you stood any chance at NBC you would already know because NBC News President Steve Capus wouldn’t have let you get dropped in the first place. There is little demand now for interchangeable cog anchors. Those days are over and they’re not coming back. But you already knew that. Your only viable anchor option now appears to be local. Of course you can try becoming a network reporter, if that’s what you want. But it isn’t, is it? If you want to remain viable on the national anchor stage, maybe going along with what Griffin wants isn’t such a bad idea under the circumstances.

But, on the other hand, if you do go along doing what Griffin wants are you risking committing career suicide on the national level and will you only be employable on MSNBC…for as long as they choose to keep you? You are almost guaranteed to wind up in on air situations that make you look bad and/or notorious because of the edgier POV style Griffin wants you to take on. You should have a thick skin because you will become a regular name calling fixture of NewsBusters and all the Red blogs. If you had any future possibilities of moving over to NBC you have now put them at risk because, for the moment, NBC News isn’t going the POV route Griffin is and your new reputation will follow you over there and dog them. You’d become Kryptonite for CNN because it still hasn’t shown much inclination to want edgy POV on their newscasts. You’d become Kryptonite for FNC on the theory that someone who stakes out Progressive POV positions on MSNBC’s air would be an unacceptable news anchor choice for that network…one Shepard Smith is enough. You would be poison for CBS and ABC. Forget about being a network reporter…your rep is mud. Your only viable anchor option now appears to be local.

Basically, for lack of better words, no matter which direction you choose to go you’re screwed.

On the other hand, as Ron Radosh writes today in PJM column, it’s also the channel where the far left feels comfortable enough to go and tell the rest of us how the nation is screwed: “The Organized Left’s Spring Surprise: Revealed on TV and in The Nation magazine.” Two guesses as to which TV channel Ron is referring to.

Incidentally, the Inside Cable News article on MNSBC charting its course to the icebergs has this jaw-dropping moment:

To fill the slot vacated by Cenk Uygur’s acrimonious departure, MSNBC hired Al Sharpton in late summer 2011. It was already well established that 3-11pm was POV time on MSNBC but Sharpton’s hiring was seen by most as a POV escalation beyond what would have been contemplated previously. Suddenly the media writers, many of whom had been demonstrating a dogged display of resigned indifference to what [MSNBC President Phil Griffin] had been attempting to do on MSNBC with POV the previous years, snapped to attention with the announcement of Sharpton’s hire. A bunch of articles came out questioning MSNBC’s selection of a lightning rod with as much controversial history as Sharpton.

Griffin, for his part, remained defiant about Sharpton’s rightful place in MSNBC’s stable telling NPR’s David Folkenflik…

“I’m a big fan of Rev. Sharpton; I’ve known him quite a bit,” Griffin says. “He’s smart. He’s entertaining. He’s experienced. He’s thoughtful. He’s provocative — [he’s] all the things that I think MSNBC is.”

You said it, Phil, you said it.