Jay Rosen: "Murray Waas Is Our Bob Woodward"

Jay has a superb piece on how Murray Waas is a much more important and useful journalist today than Bob Woodward.  Rosen even goes so far as to dance around the claim that Woodward isn't really a journalist anymore, but an insider.  

I don't hobnob with Bob Woodward or his ilk, and I mostly spend time with journalists and operatives with much less clout.  What I've noticed is that there is this weird phenomenon in DC, where some political journalists like to consider themselves both closet strategists and independent truth-tellers without an ax to grind.  That attitude just doesn't hold water.  What Waas does strikes me as structurally different; he pores through documents, learns everything there is to know, and works sources to find out how decisions are made.  He's relentless, and he's focused on the big picture.  And eRiposte and Firedoglake are right there chewing through the reporting with him, a kind of adjunct institutional memory.

Waas is a neutral reporter.  FDL and the Left Coaster aren't.  Regardless, how is political bias related to credibility?  If ou are liberal or conservative, are you an automatic liar?  Does it color what you look for so that you are no longer reliable?  With all the 'liberal bias' screeching, I've never heard a good answer to this question.  

Bloggers are often take to dislike the stupidly named MSM.  That's a ridiculous claim; the right-wing movement - on AM radio, national magazines, in the White House - has consistently attacked 'the media'.  What progressive bloggers want is a credible media.  To us, Bob Woodward is not credible, because his sympathies seem to lie with insiders rather than the public.  Murray Waas represents the public.

Tags: Jay Rosen, Pressthink (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Waas is a bleeding-heart liberal

At least, that's what conservatives say. And I think that strikes to the heart of why our media is often so bad.

The basic issue here is "How do journalists approach reporting?" And I think public perception shapes that approach more than anything else.

We in the Lefty blogosphere all know the difference between the Left and Right in terms of attitude towards the media: we just want a credible and objective media, the Right wants a pro-conservative media which stifles real debate.

Certainly, some journalists understand this distinction. But when I see the banal reporters that pass for news anchors today (particularly on the cable nets), I have to wonder exactly how many journalists is that?

And of those that do see the distinction, how many of them see public perception of objectivity as more powerful than objectivity itself?

For example, whenever I say that liberals want a credible media and that conservatives want a biased one, ordinary, non-political people I know say, "Well, of course you think that -- because you're a liberal."

All "debate" has been reduced to so much "he-said-she-said" that the public might not even believe that an objective press is even possible. And thus, every fact is regarded as biased, and so journalists choose to play the "he-said-she-said" game because that is what gives them credibility with the public, because anything else is automatically viewed as biased.

Journalists like Murray Waas and Sy Hersh, and reporters like David Gregory and anchors like Keith Olbermann give me hope, however, because I think that if more media figures stand up and do ask the tough questions, and fight back against charges of bias, that in itself helps shape public opinion towards the idea of objective journalism, which would allow the more timid journalists to practice real journalism, not just Fox News reporting.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-04-10 09:02AM | 0 recs
Liberal/conservative lies

In regard to liberal or conservative biases read
http://www.livescience.com/othernews/060 124_political_decisions.html

'Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.
And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.

Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored while they pondered.

The results were announced today.

"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts." '

I suspect this is why screaming hysterical political arguments always trumps cold reason.

by shirt 2006-04-10 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Jay Rosen:

"If (y)ou are liberal or conservative, are you an automatic liar?..."

This is called a "Circumstantial Ad Hominem" fallacy. To whit...

"A Circumstantial ad Hominem is a fallacy in which one attempts to attack a claim by asserting that the person making the claim is making it simply out of self interest. In some cases, this fallacy involves substituting an attack on a person's circumstances (such as the person's religion, political affiliation, ethnic background, etc.)..."

If anyone logically makes the argument, it should not matter who that person might be.

Every logical fallacy in the book is in the rhetorical playbook for the Republicans.

by Stoic 2006-04-10 10:22AM | 0 recs
Are you a liar?

>>>>>>>>If you are liberal or conservative, are you an automatic liar?<<<<<<<<

No. But one is more likely to lie than the other.

Right-wingers think they know the right way to do things and no one else does. Therefore, lying is justified if it puts them in position to do things. They may have to lie, cheat, and steal, but it'll all be worth it in the end, they think.

Democrats think differently. We work out how to do things through logic and experience, so accurate information is needed to do things right. If you have to lie to achieve something, we think, it probably isn't worth doing.

That's why you hear Bill Kristol/Fred Barnes/et al  telling big, whopping lies--it's done in service of The Cause.

And that's why you hear Howard Dean/Eric Alterman/et al telling it like it is--it's done in service of The Truth.

by charuhas 2006-04-10 02:39PM | 0 recs

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