Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dishwater Media

Dean Barnett has it exactly right:

[T]he fetishization of unbiased reporting is a historic anomaly. Ernie Pyle wasn’t unbiased. Neither was the New York Times for most of its existence. Unlike today. Giggle. Writing that unapologetically takes a stand has always been a lot more bracing than the day-old dishwater that currently drenches a modern daily. (Metaphors getting better!)

During the early republic and antebellum eras, virtually all newspapers were rabidly partisan. The reader knew exactly what he was getting. Was the newspaper pro or anti Jefferson? Did the editor support Andy Jackson or Henry Clay's Whigs? If the paper's name didn't tell you, the headline did.

That model seems far preferable to the current one, in which media outlets publish slanted but insipid articles while loudly proclaiming their objectivity. Give me a well-argued piece of advocacy anytime. Meanwhile, we can all watch the New York Times go belly up.

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