May 28, 2006
-- by John Emerson
What's missing here (and also in Brad DeLong's frequent media criticisms) is the recognition that this is a management problem. When there's a consistent pattern of bad behavior, you have to conclude that the bad behavior is deliberate.
Below is the meat of a letter I wrote to Somerby. I've written a similiar letter to Foser and have commented many times on this topic both here and on DeLong's threads:
I've been arguing for some time now that the bylined reporters and commentators aren't agents. They just watch patterns of hiring and promotion and do what seems to work best. They're lackeys giving their bosses what they want.
Responsibility has to ascribed to faceless management and to the owners (Sulzberger and Graham, for example). For whatever reason, for the last ten years or more all of the media have swung consistently right.
My theory is that the reason is financial, and that the tax cuts and other goodies have caused financial management to interfere with operations. (Both Sulzberger and Graham are simultaneously business managers and operations managers of their respective publications).
This is bad news indeed. The media cannot be shamed into cleaning up their act, because bad reporting is a deliberate bottom-line policy, not an oversight or a mistake.
I have suggested that only new national media at every level (cable, TV, newspaper, radio) can improve the situation. Present players are incorrigible and inveterate. Air America was a good start, but not nearly enough. (I was horrified at the unenthusiastic reception AA got from many liberals and Democrats. Sometimes I thank that Democrats are too stupid to live).
New media are doable, but I'm the only one talking about it. The money is there (it's not just Soros, there are others).
I've been saying this for over a year, but I'm a crank's crank, and it's had no resonance at all.
I suppose I should address the silly idea that what I have proposed here is a "conspiracy theory". There's nothing paranoid about saying that the management of a given business controls the business that it manages.
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