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Huffington Post’s success is weakening the Left’s resolve to maintain “objective” news 3/25/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Objectivity.
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Something must be up when the sacred idea that news ought to be objective is questioned by Eric Alterman, a man whose far-left credentials include a political column for The Nation and a book called What Liberal Media? (yes, he actually believes there is right-wing bias in media). Alterman had no problem with the fake and now-failing objectivity model when the mainstream media’s authority was secure, attacked only by right-wingers he deplored on talk radio and cable TV. But conveniently, now that the Left is having some success with its own partisan news sites like the Huffington Post and the Talking Points Memo, perhaps objectivity is not such a great idea after all.

Now, it’s an overstatement to say that Alterman is on the road to Damascus — he has always been blind to the desirability of our emerging new era of partisan news. He still defends modern journalism. He speaks of its founding fathers, Walter Lippmann and John Dewey, as if they held polar opposite views that define the full spectrum of ways to think about journalism — failing to recognize that both were anal-retentive leftists seeking ways to control a hopelessly ignorant public so they would make “sound” public policy decisions. Lippmann wanted to control the public’s decision-making by putting truth-generation in the hands of journalists, then quasi-governmental think tanks. Dewey at least wanted to maintain the pretense of democracy by using the schools to teach us how to think like liberals.

Hey, I got a crazy idea. Why not give every citizen the right to free speech and expression, respect their dignity and their equality to elites, let them sort things out for themselves, then recognize and value their consensus opinions as the consent of the governed? No, Mr. Alterman, you’re right — that can never work. The dead-white-guys who came up with that cockamamie scheme founded our nation, which bears little resemblance to “The Nation.”

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