February 6, 2009
It Took 23 Years, But I Finally Got to Give My View of the National Press on National Television
I was a guest on Bill Moyers Journal (PBS, Feb. 6) along with Salon's Glenn Greenwald. We talked about pundits and reporters as an establishment institution, and whether Obama can be a disruptive force.
The segment was 22 minutes: three people at a table puzzling through the week’s events, and trying to set them within larger patterns. Watch here. Transcript is here. My main reason for posting is to open a comment thread for those who watched and might have something to say. So go ahead.
I recalled for Moyers how Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s deputy, later described the people running the Bush White House as radicals. Wilkerson’s piece is reproduced here. That Wilkerson—an insider, a Republican—might have been right was too much for the category mind of the press. His description got consigned to the sphere of deviance.
Was that necessary? I say no.
The predicate for my appearance on Bill Moyers Journal was this PressThink post, Audience Atomization Overcome (Why the Internet Weakens the Authority of the Press) and a subsequent podcast interview with Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com about the arguments I therein. Moyers has big ears. He heard it, and the show was born.
Audience Atomization Overcome is probably PressThink’s most-linked-to and discussed post ever— in the political blogosphere. Just scroll through the After Matter section to see what I mean. In the political press-o-sphere, not a word was said about it. Literally.
I have been studying the national press since I received my PhD in 1986. This is the first time I have been able to unfold my own view of it on national television. So thank you very much, Bill Moyers and PBS. It felt great. (Here’s a speech Moyers gave to the Media Reform Conference that I recommend often to young journalists. “It’s your fight now. Look around. You are not alone.”)
Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for posting and podcasting about my writings and lending his platform—one of the biggest in blogging—to some of my words. I like Glenn because he is serious about what he does.
PressThink readers who missed the show can watch it online and tell me what you think.
Posted by Jay Rosen at February 6, 2009 11:57 PM
4th Estate, social change, or propaganda?
What we are taught, controls what we do. Paraphrasing Lenin, but a lesson from history. Or why you think you have controlled schools in the Catholic/Christian, Muslim and like faiths?
"An educated, informed and active citizenry; is hard to fool or enslave."
Sadly we are badly educated, misinformed and even deliberately lied to, and then we wonder why we do little, have apathy and then wonder why we are in a camp waiting for a shower?
5th estate then is the bureaucracy, namely those who no matter who is in "power" have a job and really control things.
Mainstream media, have control of the airwaves, cable and internet. After all, they are controlled by corporate bodies, many who often seem to be monopolies?
Example, where did the presidents war powers act go, that limits the president to 100,000 troops for a limited time, but congress keeps talking about ending the war, but they have the power, they just have to say NO, and the above act supposedly comes in play?
Wag the Dog - way to dodge the issues and take peoples attention else wheres..
What connections does Pelosi and Cheney have when it comes to the major corporations that are part of the war machine? Pelosi - husband a military contractor? Cheney former VP of Haliburton (major contracts, cause they was the only ones who could do it? as well as wife supposedly on the board of Lockheed? Lockheed that was going into the red before 2003?
US is watching China on control of the internet, after all, what is next?
Oil/Gas and distribution, until we get the major power providers demanding changes, nothing much will really happen when it comes to green, gas/fuel and move to better cars? Oil/Gas and Auto companies love the status quo.
Ever read a book by H.Beam Piper "Lord Kalvan" about a alternate reality where a minor healing religion finds out how to make gunpowder and then moves to control the way/means of using gunpowder, so the guns they have are very inefficient, why, so you have to burn more gunpowder, and they have a monopoly on things, so they dictate who is in power, if you go against them, you suddenly find yourself invaded.
Sounds familiar? or not?
I'm a longtime reader, Jay, and a follower on Twitter too.
Thank you for linking the Moyers interview. Glenn was terrific and you two together were first-rate explainers of the way the Washington press corp operates--determining what will resonate with their readers (and listeners) because it resonates with them. I guess that's the closed editorial system you write about so often.
Chiming in here only to buttress your point. On a news roundup this afternoon on NPR, whose audio clip on the stimulus legislation do you suppose it used to sum up?
Nope, not Congressman Barney Frank, who was brilliant this morning on MTP. It was Indiana's Pence, who bloviated with precision about the bill's bailouts, pork, and spending. Because NPR decided, you think, that this clip ~resonated~ the most? How did it decide, and why? I think you and Glenn explain why.
Pence's Senate colleague at the table, Nevada's Ensign, sitting next to the not very effective McCaskill, was even more masterful: he conflated the Palinesque "bridge to nowhere" business with the administration's planned infrastructure spending. Seriously. He co-opted the most notorious and Republican pork project, the Bridge to Nowhere, and said roads and bridges were the same thing--projects to nowhere. Steele hit this point too, on This Week, claiming, really, that "work is not a job." Only private sector jobs are jobs. George S. was just shy of agog.
My sense is that most Americans understand, in Maddow's words, that this is bull pucky. Can Obama articulate and tap into this larger American disgust?
In the meantime, I'm paying close attention to Gingrich. On Stephanopoulos this morning he said he was "concerned about the confusion in the Obama administration."
They will hit this false note (Obama administration confused) again and again, without any evidence, to delegitimate a fledgling administration. Because Gingrich more nearly than anyone truly knows what resonates inside Washington--what wins news cycles.
So the coming epic battle will pitch Gingrich's game (insiders) vs. Obama's game of frantic Americans who voted for a different kind of resonance. Can Obama bring his legions into a debate hitherto closed to them?
Dear Mr. Rosen--I thought that your discussion with Bill Moyers and Glenn Greenwald was very good. It prompted me to look up your web site, which seems interesting.
As the three of you were talking about the internet working both ways, I remembered the attempt by the 9/11 Truth movement to communicate with Mr. Moyers last year when he requested recommendations for books that the new president should read. A lot of 9/11 Truth people recommended the latest book by David Ray Griffin on 9/11 Truth. After many objections, Mr. Moyers stated that he didn't include the book in 'his' list because there had been an 'orchestrated effort' to communicate with him about it. Here is an e-mail that I sent to him on 22 February 2008 which remains unanswered. Are we sure that the internet works both ways?
Dear Mr. Moyers,
I respect you tremendously as an open-minded, courageous, thoughtful, and compassionate man. When you decided to return to news commentary a couple of years ago, I was delighted because I believe that your voice is invaluable at this time.
I didn't take part in your request for recommendations for books for a future president to read, but would have suggested David Ray Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor. I read it after seeing Professor Griffin's interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. His meticulous research and analysis of the 9/11 question convinced me beyond a doubt that the true story is far different than we have heard from the media and our government. I was especially impressed, as an academic librarian for 30 years, that, like the scholar that he is, Professor Griffin did not jump to conclusions about the contradictions in the available evidence, but simply and carefully described the issues that need to be resolved. If his more recent book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, was the object of an 'orchestrated campaign' to be named on the Journal, that is because there are many people like me who feel dismay and despair at the fact that these questions have been asked for years and have met with only indifference or ridicule in the press. No doubt those who suggested the book to you believed that you were one of the journalists who would pay attention.
I implore you to talk with David Ray Griffin. As you probably know, he is a theologian, retired from Claremont College. If you talk with him personally and, even better, read The New Pearl Harbor (Olive Branch Press, 2004) I believe that you will think that his views are well reasoned and well presented and that they deserve serious consideration.
The best outcome would be an interview with Professor Griffin on the Journal. If, as some other writers on the Journal blog suggest, you are 'not allowed' to address the issue, I hope that you will consider the implications of that situation.
So I'd like to challenge you to look into this issue more deeply.
Thank you so much.