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The Year in Review for MSM.

Thursday, December 29, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Yesterday I noted the front-page pratfall from Monday’s Los Angeles Times:

But now, as the Fish and Wildlife Service ponders a delisting plan that would turn over management of the wolves to the states, federal officials are balking at plans they fear would allow hunters to exterminate whole packs.

In Wyoming, for example, Gov. Dave Freudenthal last April decreed that the Endangered Species Act is no longer in force and that the state “now considers the wolf as a federal dog,” unworthy of protection. The governor’s declaration reflects the views of hunters and ranchers that the wolves are decimating elk herds and devouring cattle and sheep. Some rural residents say they fear that wolves may prey on children.Idaho, home to the largest population of wolves in the West, has been the least welcoming. Officials say hundreds of wolves have been shot, in violation of federal law. A recent spate of poisonings has not only killed wolves, but dozens of ranch dogs and family pets that ingested pesticide-laced meatballs left along wildlife trails, state wildlife managers say.

I did not reproduce the paper’s “correction” from Tuesday, which read:

Gray wolves ‘” An article in Tuesday’s Section A about tensions over the federal effort to reintroduce wolves into parts of the West wrongly attributed to Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal a statement that Wyoming considered the Endangered Species Act no longer in force and “now considers the wolf as a federal dog.” The statement, which was circulated on the Internet, was purportedly from Freudenthal but was in fact a hoax

You be the judge. Did the Los Angeles Times correct its embarassing and deeply misleading story, or repair the reputation of the Wyoming governor, and did it take any steps to protect the paper, its readers, or future targets of its reporters? Of course not.

On October 10, 1999, the Times devoted its Sunday magazine to the opening of the Staples Center, and did so because it had agreed with the center to split the revenues from the advertising in that magazine with the Center. Oh the agony within the newsroom! How the tubas of journalism sounded deep notes. The exercise in self-flagellation amused outsiders as it so clearly framed the cluelessness of the newspaper’s insiders as to what mattered to outsiders. Outsiders –especially readers– just want to be able to trust the stuff they read. The content of the magazine wasn’t flawed, but the self-perception of the delusional reporters was.

I doubt that even one of those insiders shocked and horrified by the Staples Center flap even raised an eyebrow at the fact that a front page story could casually absorb and pivot off of an internet hoax, and that the “correction” would be the small and buried aside published above.

Which is why the New Year’s Resolution you ought to make and keep is to cancel a MSM subscription today. The papers won’t change until they are made to.

Still nothing, btw, in the Washington Post about its slagging of Bill Roggio. But in searching for updates on the story, I found James Joyner at OutsideThe Beltway’s comment on the practices of MSM:

For reasons I have yet to fathom, a substantial number of professional journalists seem unable to mine the Internet for easily accessible information.

Combine Joyner’s wonder with the Los Angeles Times’ quick embrace of an internet fraud/joke, and you begin to get the picture: The MSM uses the internet to find what it wants to find, and ignores what it wants to ignore.

Here’s a test: The MSM wants to flay the president over the NSA’s surveillance of al Qaeda aboriad communicating with its agents inside the United States.

But the best arguments are that the president has the authority and indeed the duty to do just that.

So does the MSM reference liberal law professor and scholar Cass Sunstein agreeing with those arguments, note the vigorous discussion about Sunstein’s views on blogs both right and hard left, or the Rasmussen polling solidly behind the president’s executive order?

Of course not. Those are data bursts that don’t fit with where the MSM wants the story to go. Instead, the anti-Bush Ahabs of the MSM bend every bit of data to their purpose. And the result is not that public opinion changes, but that the public grows even more distrustful of the MSM, and circulation and credibility drops again.

“Fake but accurate” quotes in the Los Angeles Times, drive-by slagging of accurate correspondents in the Washington Post, the selective use of scholarship and the Ahab-like obsession with Valerie Plame and complete disinterest with anti-Bush leakers of seriously-damaging-to-the national-security intelligence gathering secrets in the New York Times and elsewhere –the MSM is ending 2005 in a state of utter panic over its future and cluelessness as to why the public hates it so.

There are truly none so blind as those who will not see.

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