Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The free press ain't free

From Michael Hanby:
The totalitarian myth of the free press
The best insight I've ever read on the sins of the press. From a Thomist perspective, no less.

Excerpt:
The myth of the free press is... trivially true and seriously false. Our press enjoys unrestricted freedom of movement, but this is really only a superficial semblance of freedom. Journalism is essentially un-free because it is unintelligent, because it systematically precludes thought about the kind of truth which ultimately makes truly human freedom possible. The myth that a free press is the indispensable guardian of a free society is therefore equally false. It is false because a blind, or stupid, or uncomprehending press cannot finally be a free press. It is false because a press with the absolute, unaccountable power to mediate reality cannot but induce blindness and stupefaction and incomprehension in the rest of us. It is false because a society that is deprived of its ability to see and to think is also finally robbed of its ability to act with any consequence in the face of apparent fate. And it is false because a society that is unable to act upon what is true and good is no longer free and, conversely, because a society that is robbed of its sight and the freedom to think will eventually be unable to recognize what is true and good.
Please read it.  

22 comments:

  1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    In large part, I agree with Hanby. I've been saying for quite some time that lies - of commission and omission - are simply a means of distorting reality (depriving readers of their "ability to see and to think") and that it is impossible to respond effectively ("act with any consequence") when one's reality is distorted.

    Hanby says we have a "crisis of thoughtfulness". I disagree. I challenge Hanby to look back into history and find a Golden Age of the Press from which we have evolved into "crisis", or anything like it. Walter Duranty, anyone? "Professional" journalists have always been on average, a witless and excitable bunch. Of course, one can mine gems of journalistic genius and pamphleteering from the veins of history, but megatonnes of tailings are required to yield those grams of wisdom.

    Ironically, the best, and only, solution is Mao's Hundred Flowers Campaign. Of course, Mao proposed the Hundred Flowers Campaign simply to expose the "flowers" who disagreed with Party ideology, after which the "flowers" were either murdered or condemned to slave camps. It was another Leftist lie, a distortion of reality, an appeal to the pride of the "flowers", and those who responded to that reality as if it were Truth paid with their lives. As Mao himself later noted, the Campaign merely "enticed the snakes out of their caves" by convincing them of political climate change.

    But the 21st Century provides us with a Million Flowers Campaign in the form of the anarchic internet and blogs like this one. It's been only since 1995 or so that the economic and technical barriers to entry for true citizen journalism collapsed and began the slow dissolution of the press oligarchy.

    It's a fool's errand, and in fact another Progressive delusion, to think that society can educate Wise Journalists to replace the herd of "thoughtless" (the perfect word, by the way) drones that inhabit newsrooms. Just look at who would be educating them! More thoughtless drones!

    Instead, let a million flowers bloom.

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    1. 'Hanby says we have a "crisis of thoughtfulness". I disagree. I challenge Hanby to look back into history and find a Golden Age of the Press from which we have evolved into "crisis", or anything like it.'

      I agree with the writer.
      He is more right than wrong regarding 'thoughtlessness'.
      It is a hard thing to succinctly critique, however it is in part a consequence of disassociate thinking.
      This comes from a lifetime watching television.

      See how they need to see themselves in 'selfies' to really believe they arte alive?
      That they truly exist?
      That this thing, this moment, this event is really really real?

      It's only a symptom but a serious symptom.

      The writer has something. Your question about a supposed 'golden age' is a fair question in itself but the writer does not posit that suggestion in relation to the current crisis of our civilisation.

      Regards,

      JR

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    2. Oh, you are obviously correct about the blooming flowers.
      Blooming flowers are the future.

      JR

      Delete
  2. Yeah, let's get the news from Michael Egnor's blog! LOL.

    The truth is, guys, that right-wing blogs get their news from the mainstream media that they complain about. And if you think the free press in the US is bad, just look out the window and compare it to other countries. Like Russia, for example.

    You, guys, are so myopic in your hate for liberals that you don't even understand how disfunctional a society can be. You're a bunch of nincompoops whining in an echo chamber. Keep it up, boys.

    Your biggest fan

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 7:58 AM

      Fanboi: "right-wing blogs get their news from the mainstream media"

      Right. Like the edited 911 tape from the Zimmerman/Trayvon journalistic debacle or the "fake but accurate" memo that ended the career of Dan Rather.

      Delete
    2. CBS and the New York Times have people on the ground who gather news. Hot Air and Breitbart just pick it up and gossip.

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      Like the edited 911 tape from the Zimmerman/Trayvon journalistic debacle or the "fake but accurate" memo that ended the career of Dan Rather.

      Delete
    4. Right. Can't point out any accomplishments of the new media, so point out the blemishes of the old one.

      Dislike the old media all you want. Blogs are no replacement for journalism. They are merely rebroadcasters, not news outlets.

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      [Climategate] was first broken by climate change critics on their blogs

      Delete
    6. Climategate is a great example of superficial sensationalism of the blogosphere.

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
    7. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      That must be why the global press carried the story. :-)

      Delete
    8. Debunked, rather than carried.

      "But the climate establishment -- including the U.S. government's top scientists on the subject -- say that nothing in the e-mails disproves their bedrock ideas. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are still gathering in the atmosphere and trapping more of the sun's heat, and the consequences of that will still be dire in the long run, they say."

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      "Debunked"???

      BWAHAHAHAHAHA

      Delete
    10. Deranged laughter isn't a substitute for a reasoned argument.

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
    11. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      What "reasoned argument"?

      Delete
    12. Exactly my point.

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
    13. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      Cognitive vaporlock? So soon?

      Here, let me give you a shot of ether in the intakes...

      debunk: show something to be false

      The emails are undebunkable, Bunko. The CRU admitted to their authenticity.

      Delete
    14. Not the emails, old pal. The breathless reports in the blogosphere.

      Your biggest fan

      Delete
  3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 18, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    OT: "Serious consequences" update-

    The Russians responded to Sec "Lurch" Kerry's "serious consequences" with... laughter:

    Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.
    --- ABC News

    :-D

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  4. From a Thomist perspective, no less.

    I'm sure St Thomas would have been a big champion of a "free press", seeing as he recommended that "heretics" be tortured to death.

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  5. To these right-wingers the press can’t possibly be free until they accept the warped alternate reality that is nessisary to support mainstream conservative ideology.

    -KW

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    Replies
    1. It cuts both ways.

      Curio

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