Downgrading the Fourth Estate
April 20, 2006 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Rollback. Media critic Jay Rosen rises above the McClellan/"shake-up" foofaraw to put several pieces of the puzzle together and show how the Bush administration has significantly altered the long-standing relationship of the press to the White House. (More from Rosen here.) Another piece that fits: Donald Rumsfeld's bold, frequent, and rarely-challenged assertions that the American press is being expertly "manipulated" by Al Qaeda "media committees" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by digaman (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Hey, a least I didn't say "fustian."
posted by digaman at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2006

Michelle Malkin's torrents of disdain for the MSM is another piece of that puzzle, making the press seem late, biased, and ridiculous on every issue. All of which, of course, it can be -- with some worthy exceptions.
posted by digaman at 1:01 PM on April 20, 2006

This blog posting takes a look specifically at the DoD's relationship with the press in light of recent revelations. The last paragraph nails it on the head.
posted by jellicle at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2006

MSM - Main Stream Media

Audio Link of Rummy
posted by RufusW at 1:38 PM on April 20, 2006

posted by MrMoonPie at 1:47 PM on April 20, 2006

There was a great interview on "On the Media" this week with Juan Cole about the playing up of Zarqawi by all sides in Iraq. The audio is here and the transcript is here.

One of the best quotes from it, "It's impossible that he's running around the country setting off 25 bombs a day. I mean, he would have to have tens of thousands of followers for the logistics of it. It makes no sense."
posted by octothorpe at 1:48 PM on April 20, 2006

Interesting stuff. "Press nullification" is a good phrase for what's being done. However, the phrase "I learned it from you dad" is running through my mind--i.e., Clinton's press operation definitely provided the template for Rove & co. They've run away with it, to say the least.
posted by bardic at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2006

foofaraw = free for all?

Probably from Spanish
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:56 PM on April 20, 2006

This bit from the After Matters section of the first link is particularly funny galling. Funny because it is blatantly absurd. Galling because unfortunately it is not satire. Thanks for the links. I wish I had read the rollback story last June when it came out. At least I would have had an organized explanation for the weird dread i get from listening to press conferences.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:13 PM on April 20, 2006

bardic: Rosen links to this Dick Polman piece which also notes the similarity between the Clinton White House press operation and the current one. That said, he agrees with Rosen that this White House has not just run with the Clinton model, but departed from the longstanding model used by White House communications machines since the 60s. Rather than just lying and stonewalling, being a punching bag for the press corps, this White House employs its press operation in the name of delegitimizing the role of the media in American government.
posted by leecifer at 2:17 PM on April 20, 2006

Understood leecifer. I still think it's easy to forget just how twisted the Clinton PR operation became, especially, during the second term, but point(s) taken.
posted by bardic at 2:27 PM on April 20, 2006

Dear Mr. Rumsfeld,

Regarding your allegations that the press is being manipulated by Al Qaeda, I would have to say you...

/is “shit head” hyphenated?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:10 PM on April 20, 2006

Use of the acronym MSM = the person using it is probably batshit insane.
posted by Artw at 5:12 PM on April 20, 2006

Radio Rmalkin
posted by homunculus at 5:30 PM on April 20, 2006

I think after Clinton and the Gore candidacy they might have been right in concluding that the press was both stupid and dangerous.
posted by fleacircus at 4:39 PM on April 20, 2006

Henny Penny
posted by homunculus at 7:26 PM on April 20, 2006

One thing that amazes me is, Rumsfeld has been making this charge for years to discredit the press and blunt the impact of criticism against his Shock-and-Awe Democracy strategy. Yet, for all his hammering on the notion that the Al Qaeda, Zarqawi, and bin Laden run specialized "media committees" whose task it is to bend the American media to trash the war, where's the evidence that these committees exist? Has one single member of one of these apparently outrageously successful committees ever been captured and questioned? Has one single American news story ever been traced to this source? Or were these "committees" also relocated to Syria, along with the WMDs?

Note to fellow journalists: Will someone please ask Bush or Rumsfeld to back up this claim? As the link in the FPP shows, Rumsfeld has made this claim over and over and over in press conferences.
posted by digaman at 8:41 AM on April 21, 2006

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