Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Media's Role in the Swift Boating of Kerry

Greg Sargent nails it:
"The Times has just posted a piece which is simultaneously poignant and infuriating. Apparently the Swift Boat Liars who destroyed John Kerry's 2004 candidacy are still alive and well, and Kerry is still at war with them. A year and a half after his loss, he's going at them more aggressively than ever....

One of the key themes of this blog will be that a big problem with political reporting today is that its practitioners simply refuse to acknowledge their own role in shaping public perceptions. Thus it is that this Times piece can blithely observe that "the charges stuck" as if this happened by magic, when in fact the real reason this happened is that the media simply failed to be skeptical and aggressive at an absolutely critical moment. That failure, of course, is one of the reasons that Kerry is still a Senator -- and is still battling the Swifties today."

2 Comments:

Blogger Watch 'n Wait said...

Perhaps all reporters should be required to return for a refresher course at a journalism school every year. They, with a few exceptions, seem to have forgotten what real reporting consists of.

5/27/2006 8:45 PM  
Anonymous TBH said...

No, it's reporters' job simply to paraphrase what powerful public relations machines saturate the airwaves with.

And reporters should also make sure that their paraphrases use the exact same key words and cognitive frames that those PR machines use.

At least, that's what I gathered when I was watching much of the CNN coverage of the 2004 election (Judy Woodruff, I'm talking to you).

Above all, reporters should apparently not apply skepticism to the claims of those people their colleagues perceive to hold the most power, nor to those who assert themselves with the most unapologetic masculine bluster.

From the looks of it, that's what journalism schools are teaching these days.

5/28/2006 1:07 AM  

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