Monday, March 28, 2011

As news media that at least attempt to report news falter, remember who's lurking in the foreground


From the Borowitz Report: "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that she also had serious questions for Mr. Obama about Libya: 'For example, where is it?'”

by Ken

One point I meant to make in skimming the stark economic realities that have brought the New York Times to the mixed give-and-pay system for its website that went into effect today is that other entities that practice what they pass off as journalism have a very different economic model. To the TV networks, TV stations, and newspapers and magazines that do business under the umbrella of Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp, while profits are of course paramount, their version of "news" doesn't have to make money as long as it either (a) advances their political agenda (with a view toward eventually expanding the corporate profit margin or (b) serves as a loss leader for profit-making NewsCorp businesses.

While it's true that many of us can now get much of what's printed in the NYT from a host of websites, in large part that's true because those bloggers can get it from the NYT. Take the NYT out of the picture, and we're increasingly at the mercy of the right-wing news "merchants," who are either selling a malign product or giving one away with a view to selling even worse bilge.

As usual it's the Borowitz Report that's on top of the situation.

Gaddafi Bans Journalists,
Arguing, ‘It’s Worked for Fox’

Establishes ‘No Spin Zone’ Over Libya

TRIPOLI (The Borowitz Report) – Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi took the extraordinary step of banning all journalists from his country today, arguing, “It’s worked for Fox.”

According to advisors to the Libyan dictator, Mr. Gaddafi has been studying the Fox News Channel closely in recent weeks as an example of a large enterprise that has thrived in the absence of journalism.

“Colonel Gaddafi has made no secret of his admiration of Fox,” said one aide to the Libyan dictator. “He has even told his nurses to wear more makeup so they will look like the Fox anchorwomen.”

Speaking over Libyan state television this morning, Mr. Gaddafi said that by expelling all journalists from Libya, he was protecting the Libyan people from “the bias and distortions of the lamestream media.”

The Libyan dictator said he was establishing a “no spin zone” over the country, replacing all actual news with a series of television shows “allowing for a free exchange of opinions – all of them mine.”

Mr. Gaddafi’s actions drew immediate criticism from Fox owner Rupert Murdoch: “A brutal dictator who is hostile to journalism? It definitely sounds like he is ripping me off.”

At the State Department, an official spokesman offered this response to Mr. Gaddafi’s actions: “As is State Department policy, we will wait several weeks and then issue a confusing, noncommittal statement.”

Meanwhile, several prominent Republicans voiced criticism of President Obama’s Libya policy, including former President George W. Bush, who urged Mr. Obama to define the mission: “That way, you can hang up a really cool banner once it’s accomplished.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that she also had serious questions for Mr. Obama about Libya: “For example, where is it?”

As outlets with any legitimate pretension to actual news coverage succumb to the pressure of right-wing (or right-wing-friendly) media noise, phenomena like crazy Michele Bachmann move from sideshow status to the mainstream.

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