China and its Discontents

Archive for the ‘9/11’ tag

What is Progressive Journalism?

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Herbert Gans presents the news as telling two different, contradictory stories: a story that affirms the status quo social order, and a story that pushes for Progressive reform of the type we read about in the readings last week on journalism in turn-of-the-20th-century Detroit. I cannot analyze the news environment that Gans deals with from personal experience, because I was not alive during the 60’s and 70’s. But I can relate Gans’ conclusions to the modern media environment. Given the way the news acts today, it seems far more likely that the news is interested, albeit unwittingly, in preserving the status quo.

This seems an unlikely conclusion to make given the national mood since the recession started. The amount of muckraking journalism to expose corruption and malfeasance in the public sphere, and especially in private industry and finance, seems to have risen extraordinarily. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are not treated unsympathetically as mindless violence, a la the “ghetto violence” and war protests Gans mentions from the 60’s, but as serious movements with admirable policy platforms.

In theory, journalistic outlets are progressive because they identify the “moral disorder” of elites (per Gans’s terminology). But this is, I think, very much a facade. Gans already identifies the ways in which the news does not reflect what I would call “true” progressivism: it mainly allies itself with the values of the upper-middle class, professional elites that make up those news outlets’ readership. It doesn’t pay attention to the plight of the poor. It does not truly question authority.

That might be a naive standard to set. But journalists have to question authority to conduct true journalism. Journalists failed in their charge after 9/11 and in the lead-up to the Iraq War precisely because they failed to question authority and allied themselves with the predominate moral and political opinions of those in power, politically, economically, and socially. The examples of this malfeasance of the journalistic class abounds and are too many to continue.

Written by Will

April 1st, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Some USAF Personnel on 24-Hour Deployment Alert

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From Steve Clemons:

Information has reached me that some USAF personnel have been put on 24 hour deployment alert with regard to North Korea. I don’t know how regular or irregular that is — but know that despite a lot of tension in the country since 9/11, my sources have not been put on such alert before. The USAF has denied that it has changed its alert status in comments to other journalist friends of mine — but the actual personnel beg to differ.

When I first heard the news that North Korea had shelled an island across the DMZ, I thought this disturbing provocation seemed more serious than previous attacks. Let’s hope this does not escalate.

Written by Will

November 25th, 2010 at 5:20 am

Denying Right to Worship is a ‘Betrayal of Our Values’

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I agree – it is a categorical negation of the Constitution to bar the adherents of any religion the right to build a house of worship. From Michael Bloomberg:

The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.

“Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11, and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies’ hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.

That is a great speech. The archetypal speech on religious freedom, even.

Written by Will

August 4th, 2010 at 2:07 am