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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 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. “Itís 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