In the breezes swirling around the media campfires this week, a few items caught my eye as I, like the old linotypers, began assembling a few thoughts. All related to the declining standing of trust of two key institutions: universities & the news media, where US obsessions with image and “pseudo events” are having real effects. Items:
- Jihad Johnny a Yalie: Yale’s coddling of an unrepentant fascist propagandist as a “student” is beyond belief. No wonder this is news! John Fund’s WSJ article about the Taliban propagandist turned Yalie here is chilling enough, followed up by the unbelievable stupid responses from Yalies who ought to know better. (WSJ, WSJ2) Since when does Yale reward sociopathic shape-shifters with the secret Buhla hand shake? (BG) Or is the current crop of Langley’s “slam dunkers” trying to rekindle New Haven’s OSS (Oh So Social) roots with a ham-handed recruiting of some amoral twit?
- Sixties Dead Enders: the answer to the “since when” question above, of course, is since the Sixties. Check out David Horowitz’s Q&A at NRO, and his new book: The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. The delusional Vietnam-era obsession of these academics on appearing on the side of diversity and peace and justice is giving aide and comfort to the forces of intolerance and war and slavery.
- Supremes have a clue: At least the US Supreme Court knows 8-0 that the nation has a right to defend itself. (WS) Yale and the other nation’s law schools apparently don’t want to taint themselves associating with those helping to defend military institutions. They still want US tax dollars, thought. Quillnews view: not another dime to ingrate anti-American schools! More witch-hunting Congressional demagoguery on this issue, please!
- Say good night, K-R: Knight Ridder rides off into the sunset with the McClatchy merger, as more community-based newspapers hit the dust. (WSJ) This further demise of the independent news media comes as the Project for Excellence in Journalism issues its annual report on the media detailing the “seismic transformation” underway in news and journalism. (PEJ, Report) One factoid: newsroom jobs declined 7% since 2000. (WP) Quillnews fond memories: when I was growing up, newspapers were my form and context of life. My childhood days were informed and organized by reading the Hartford Courant daily and Shore Line Times weekly. As I got older, major Boston, New York and DC dailies would organize my daily agenda, serving as a kind of civic mass to orient my thoughts and day. Today, I don’t subscribe to a newspaper, and the freebies tossed on my driveway go right to the recycle bin unread. The PEJ and CPJ have excellent summary sites on all this. Quillnews question: in the context of the universities, what eager bright graduate would choose a career in journalism anymore?
- Bush 43 speech acknowledges power of pictures: In his excellent speech Tuesday at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Bush 43 said that last December: Americans were inspired by the images of Iraqis bringing elderly relatives to the polls, holding up purple ink-stained fingers, dancing in the streets and celebrating their freedom. By their courage, the Iraqi people have spoken and made their intentions clear: they want to live in democracy -- and they are determined to shape their own destiny. The past few weeks, the world has seen very different images from Iraq -- images of violence, and anger, and despair. We have seen a great house of worship -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra -- in ruins after a brutal terrorist attack. We've seen mass protests in response to provocation. We've seen reprisal attacks by armed militias on Sunni mosques -- and random violence that has taken the lives of hundreds of Iraqi citizens. (Speech, Fact Sheet)
- Implicit in Bush 43’s assertions is the recognition that it is the images and their overriding emotional impact that we are responding to as the war in Iraq unfolds. The facts are one thing, but it’s the reflections of those facts in media that matter! Notwithstanding the horror and power of the individual destructive acts of war, should it be primarily he images that we are to respond to in deciding whether to pursue one strategy or another in the war on Islamofascists? If so, who creates the images? Facts are a factor, but as important as to facts’ effects on immediate public opinion are the editing choices, the context and content, manufactured by the media! As the demise of the Knight Ridder and the PEJ implies, the capacity to create those images is falling into smaller and a more focused (biased?) professional class whose get-go ideas today reflect the teachings learned in the Sixties.
- Peters to the rescue: Lt. Col. Ralph Peters again points out the truth to power – in this case the overwhelming image power of the MSM and its ability to distort the reality of war for the American people. His article about the media myths about the Iraq war is a tonic.
Quillnews observations: Free people are in the midst of a war against their liberty and – for reasons of market changes, technology and ideological bias – we are not getting all the facts from our established institutions of communication and education. How are free people to make informed judgments about the course of their war actions if we don’t have the issues organized in a coherent way from trusted and unbiased sources?