City Journal Spring 2014

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Harry Stein
No Longer Joseph Pulitzer’s School « Back to Story

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I'm 68...I make it a point to read a variety of news publications attempting to find a balance of opinions and facts from all sides. It's become impossible to separate facts from biased opinions in most of the media today. How is a layperson like myself supposed to make an "informed" decision about anything if the facts are all just biased opinions? During an election year it's realy disappointing. How can anyone be sure of what we read today? This article seems to point to where a lot of it originates!
All you right wingers, come out here to Orange County California. Our local paper,The Orange County Register, would burn if they printed something from the Left. I find it interesting reading, especially their columnists;their subjects are Global warming, high speed rail, big government, lazy poor and disadvantaged, regulation high taxes; how to do away with them,that's their agenda. Forget poverty, sickness and the "buried" middle class.When you rightys come up with some different answers, other than the Reagan-Bush answers, then maybe some journalists will listen to you. So far, all you've accomplished is the biggest financial failure in history. Stop whining and get out of the way of progress.
David: I say this to everyone who expresses the leftist nonsense about the Tea Party. Stop listening to what you hear about it, and go to a meeting and see for yourself. What you will find is a group of people who are concerned about one thing and one thing only - government spending, and the inability of the country to continue spending as we have done in the past.

If you have a contrary view or have something to add your views will be reasonably and politely discussed. How do I know this? I'm a member of the Morristown, NJ Tea Party.

By the way, what you will also find is that we don't get money from the Koch brothers, in fact we don't get or have much money at all. You will also find that the Tea Party is a truly grass roots movement, that it has nothing to do with social issues, that it certainly has nothing to do with racial issues, that it welcomes everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, background, handicap or anything else. All it takes is a concern about government spending.

I mean, really, you going to let other people define the group? Go to a meeting, and see for yourself.
Great column - these people are depressingly removed from reality. It's scary that they are in charge or working with a school that provides 'journalists' to the media and have perspectives that are so completely removed from the mainstream, heck, removed from reality.

The most frightening - well maybe not frightening - aspect of this is that the people involved in this symposium probably think of themselves as unbiased, middle of the road, rational and reasonable. It is hard to imagine that anyone could be so close minded and 'conditioned' as they appear to be...but there you have it.
What it shows is the uniformity of outlook in academia and in circles related to academia, a stifling of atmosphere and outlook, in which assumptions are made, the group enforces those assumptions through a sameness of outlook and ostracism of those with differing views - people whose lives are filled with gross intolerance and are disconnected to reality. It reminds me of my small group communications class at university, where we learned that groups of people insulated from a diversity of views, can come to have the most incredible beliefs. It's just...the only word that comes to mind is pathetic.

Those at the symposium, despite their backgrounds, are clearly never, if ever either challenged on their beliefs or have entertained or are truly exposed to beliefs that are different from theirs, at least within their own group. There is truly no diversity of outlook in this echo chamber - none.

Yesterday I read about a feminist writer in Salon who expressed a refreshing outlook. Although indicating that she was a "progressive" feminist, she also indicated that she spent a lot of time listening to talk radio, expressed admiration of Mark Levin's book, "Liberty and Tyranny." While certainly not what anyone would call conservative - not even close, she had an independence of outlook that was just so refreshing, and completely absent on the left as indicated by those at the symposium.

As I said, it is scary that people such as those described in this article, who are really nothing more than living, breathing charactictures, could ever have positions of responsibility or authority.

But, as I said, there you have it.

David Farrar
The difference is pure ideology. Tea party wants fiscal sanity. The Occupy Kids want more freebies. In many cases Communist Party USA tables were at events.
SDS? Have these phonies forgotten the great commentaries of Sidney Hook about civil dis-obedience? Fools and charlatans all. Hook would be reviled at the dishonesty.
Massive constant devaluation of the currency, ever increasing debt levels, a laughable press and a falling national pride. Sounds too much like Germany in the 1930's nd it is across the Western world. This is when extremist rises, as "ordinary" voices from ordinary people are unheard.
Ordinary people want to cut illegal immigration, create jobs, export and or make something and cut public jobs and debt. The lunatic left leaning press is making the only way for people to be heard is for them to lurch to the far right and that is just not in anyone's interest. Bring the Tea Party into the mainstream and keep it fairly reported there, or risks elements creepng in no one wants.
Sure it's still Joseph Pultizer's school - he was as muckracking a yellow journalist as his opposition - William Randolph Hearst.
What Harry Stein finds in J Schools is mirrored in every school that isn't dedicated to the hard sciences. Drop in on a finance or business school symposium and you'd come away fairly certain the entire range of rational economic debate is bounded by the work of Marx and Keynes. As conservatism is presumed racist in J school, "Austrian" is presumed fascist in B school, suitable only for the politically crippled and intellectually thick.
In August, the Tampa papers and TV stations all ran feature stories (with appalling photographs) of a porn star who arrived in town to pose as Sarah Palin during the Republican Convention. Readers were told in graphic detail that they could get a lap dance by a naked women in character as the former governor. This is as close to simulated rape of specific woman as I can imagine, yet the only stories in the papers about offenses to women were endless whines about the Republicans' alleged "war on women." No editor would return phone calls or e-mails about the "Nailin' Palin" (sic) stories they ran, nor did the local "journalistic ethics" Poynter Institute deign to comment.

Simultaneously, Medea Benjamin showed up in town dressed as a giant vagina to protest the RNC with the Occupiers, yet the media was shy about showing that (unlike the half-bared breasts of the Palin imitator). Benjamin and fellow Occupiers harangued police officers while dressed in pink labia costumes by day and showed up at night in ordinary clothes to do guest appearances on TV, ranting against the Republicans on the local PBS station, which had turned over its studios to Amy Goodman's Democracy NOW for the duration of the convention (the station's programming director described this to me as a "public service" to taxpayers). When Benjamin broke into the convention and shouted down nationally televised speeches, she was not arrested by the federal agents controlling the hall. She did this repeatedly, with apparently no consequences. So PBS was abetting her illegal activities while she was engaging in them, as were other stations, which always seemed to know where and when Benjamin would stage her outbursts in the cavernous convention hall.

Some multi-tasking: bedding down with the protesters while whitewashing them. Of course, the local Tea Party movement is treated crudely by the decadent fourth estate, including use of the routine sexual slur -- not edited out by their otherwise "sensitive" sensitivity monitors.
Did the media polarize innocent Americans into distinct and mutually hostile tribes or were we getting there just fine on our own with the media simply tagging along for the ride? If we can agree that Americans thoroughly hate each other or, at a minimum, deeply distrust other voters, then we could ask ourselves how did the media respond to this cultural phenomena from a profit and loss perspective? Possibly they narrowed their focus to concentrate on a selected target market representing some definable point along the American political spectrum.

Maybe you or I can’t readily name the top 10 retail products residents of New York City’s upper west side prefer but the New York Times’ managers could cite chapter and verse on that subject – they understand their advertising market. And the Times may write about the poor wretches in NYC housing projects but they’re not the consumers their advertisers hope to reach. Times’ readers apparently enjoy guilt tripping over the poor, the downtrodden, the huddled masses, that’s the entertainment section of the newspaper and website, but the advertising is squarely aimed at the middle to upper middle class reader demographic.

Why would a business deliberately target a specific market segment rather than attempt the broadest possible appeal? Because that’s how they reach their revenue targets in today’s highly competitive media market.

Those who train and indoctrinate their future employees are in reality rather insignificant folks; college professors, social thinkers, self-nominated advocates for popular victim groups. Gitlin, Greenberg, Williamson and Zernike will continue to write their scholarly books, some small university press will crank out 2,000 copies, half of which will be purchased by students as required reading in Columbia U. journalism courses. It’s ironic and quite amusing these left leaning thinkers and social advocates make dog eat dog capitalism possible but the fact is they mold the foot soldiers whose daily efforts bring in the revenue. And they are probably well aware of their role in support of market capitalism, but that’s not a topic ever discussed at these tedious and frequent symposiums.
The difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement is not so much their ideology, but their form of protest. Occupiers went to the streets, while Tea Partiers went to the next local county Republican Party executive committee meeting. The rest, as they say: is history!

ex animo
davidfarrar
A Texas Tea Party favorite, Ted Cruz, recently defeated three-term Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in a Senate Primary. In her report on the election, the Houston Chronicle's Kilday Hart concluded, "Did all the clear-thinking Republicans flee to Colorado for this scorcher of a July?" She put the question to Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. He replied with an anecdote about Adlai Stevenson. Told by a supporter that "every sensible person I know is voting for you", Stevenson replied, "Yes, but we need a majority."

So, if you're a Tea Party voter, you're not clear-thinking, according to the Houston Chronicle news report. And, according to the professor of political science whom the reporter chose to quote, it means you're senseless.

In its three reports on the primary, the Chronicle's reporters quoted the candidates once each, political strategists four times, and professors of political science thirteen times. Not only is that Rolodex journalism, but in particular it exemplifies that news coverage of the Tea Party as a movement, and perhaps Occupy Wall Street also, is drawn heavily from academic opinion. Unfortunately, academic groupthink is as tightly self-reinforcing as journalistic groupthink. Goldberg is entirely right that journalists don't care what the American people think, they only care what their buddies in the media think. You could say the same even more accurately about college professors. Yet, they are more likely to see public distrust of them as a sign of public ignorance than anything they might be doing wrong.
The malpractice caused by the press about these two groups is enormous. Almost everything told by the "mainstream" media about both groups was dead wrong. Even calling them the "mainstream" media isn't really right, most in the media are hardly "mainstream" in today's America. No wonder nobody believes what they say. Good reason too, the media is rarely telling the truth or at minimum distorting it.

The press is supposed to report. Period.

However that has changed to outright activism by many so called "reporters". That is totally wrong for news gathering. If some issue is that important, you really shouldn't be reporting on that issue. Write an opinion column. Either that, leave the news business and join whatever activist group there is or go into politics. Most reporters have never actually been reporters. They are activists or opinion writers.

If you want to change the world, DO NOT BECOME A REPORTER!

Changing the world is not your job if you report the news. Its that simple.

It was crystal clear to everybody that the media preferred "Occupy" over the Tea Party. Why, I don't know, if you ran into both groups like I did, you are going to like the Tea Party better. However I wouldn't want the media to be the advocate for the Tea Party anymore then they are for Occupy. Just report fairly.

They need to report, not make up stuff or slam one group over another.

The reality is the tea party is the much larger group, the true grassroots, the group you will read about in the history books as one of the groups that brings America back. Nobody from the Tea Party was ever arrested for anything. Not even a ticket for littering. People went out of their way to not inconvenience or irritate others. The got permits, even when governments made it very difficult to do. People are always positive about America, even our really screwed up present.

The media ignored the Tea Party for as long as it could. Then it was negative about it, throwing various false charges against it.

On the other hand, Occupy is a very small group, with shadowy leaders from many activist groups with money from various shadowy groups many with very anti-US goals. It is populated with filthy, negative, lazy people. Some were even paid to be there. This is the astro-turf bunch.

They committed crimes, some very serious ones. Thousands of arrests. They didn't care about the real residents and business owners who were stuck in the middle of their hobo "communities". Permits? What permits? Likely some of the most selfish people in the US.

Thankfully there aren't very many of them. The media gave them the illusion of being equal or larger then the Tea Party. They are not. Tea Parties are over all the country, not just in a handful of major cities.

Frankly Occupy wouldn't have lasted half as long as it did if it wasn't for the media. They tried to make them seem noble, a hard job with the jokers that populate Occupy.

The Tea Party is likely permanent in politics and that is a good thing. Occupy is over for the most part, since it never really was anything to begin with, largely some liberal attempt to create a liberal Tea Party. They failed.
Totally on target. The "progressives" narrow world view is stunning in its parochialism. They are truly a sad bunch.
Groupthink is impervious to reason not only because of the power of conformity but also its reliance on circular reasoning. The Tea Partiers vehemently deny that they are racist, which to Kate Zernike means that they are racists. Todd Gitlin assembles a panel of reporters favorable to Occupy Wall Street and concludes that since so many reporters approve of it, it must be worthy. Like a pilot in a graveyard spiral because his senses have deceived him, the declining newspaper industry (40% of newspaper jobs lost in the USA in ten years), this circular reasoning will end in a crash.