Thursday, March 27, 2003

Media: The pendulum swings both ways

For months, left-leaners like myself have been railing against mainstream media for their one-sided coverage of the Bush administration.

Now, I think we are at the very tip of that swing, just before it starts falling the other way. Why? To explain, we need a history.

The events of 9/11 galvanized the American public, press, and leadership like no event since Pearl Harbor. Every house, every street, every office building, every car had the stars and stripes flying over it. America had been struck, and the wound was deep.

For once, Liberals, Conservatives, Administrations, and Media where more than just that. They were Americans, and Bush’s poll numbers showed it, reaching heights not seen in modern times.

But, as all things, this faded. First of course, with the Liberals, like myself. Although the patriotism remained very strong, our undying belief in the Bush Administration began to falter. The media, however, still rode this wave.

Wrangling with the UN played on TV and in the press as a debating society, unable to accomplish anything. Resentment and rumors of Powell threatening to depart the administration received very little play at all. The media was still playing softball.

The “press conference” of March 6th was the culmination of the love fest with the Bush Administration. That event was so biased that journalists were criticizing themselves for failure to challenge the Bush administration on any important issue what so ever.

The critiques were quickly drowned out by “Shock and Awe.” NBC, CNN, Fox all were so upset that they did not receive their promised shock and awe that they looked like death-loving fools. Then the criticism started again.

Then, the POW’s. Seeing these soldiers faces on television, battered, bruised, torn, and surely frightened pushed the pendulum the other way. That was the turning point thus far. Now, the war wasn’t going so good. Their Shock and Awe didn’t last until sweeps, and their ratings were coming in second to Fear Factor, and Friends reruns.

Words from the Blogsphere, and even from conservative web sites like drudge showed the story. Percentages of Americans were going to sources outside of the US for accurate and balanced coverage.

Rumsfield was on his heals yesterday, getting it from the media in full force. Ari Fleicher was drilled on the 25th by the press corp.

It’s instinctive really, the media, and press, being seen as weak on the Bush administration, is going to come at them full force to overcompensate. Their reputation has been damaged, and now they need to regain it.

It’s really a shame that it works this way. It’s more psychology than journalism. And in the world of PsyOps and Shock and Awe the first affected was the fourth estate.

Post Script:
David Sutor over at Phugit gives us a good example why people must think for themselves, and not rely on mainstream media to do their thinking for them.

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