The faux outrage about Churnalist neutrality

The ongoing Garner v. Edwards saga has the pinkos all upset about churnalistic ethics. It is hogwash of course unless we have the BBC model here in New Zealand and even that is a tedious comparison.

There will always be bias in any repeater’s or churnalist’s repeating because, well they are human and humans have brains that enable them to think. This preciousness that somehow all churnalists are supposed to be neutral is pinko horse-piss.

Andrew Sullivan looks at this very issue as well;

Mainstream Media not Getting itThe appropriateness of the Weigel’s comments about Drudge aside, I’m much more horrified by the suggestion, on Goldblog and elsewhere, that this is somehow the Washington Post’s fault for hiring journalists who, you know, have opinions about stuff.  When will news outlets give up on the charade of neutrality in reporting?

In an era of monopolistic news reporting, if you are the only newspaper in town, or one of three channels on the tube, you are you going to be a lot less concerned with providing a superior product and a lot more concerned with not saying anything that might alienate a member of your captive audience.  It’s not important to have the smartest reporters or the sharpest analysis – after all, people are pretty much forced read the news you give them.  Instead, it’s just important to have reporters that are careful (or dense) enough to stop thinking about a subject before they risk suggesting that one interpretation of events might be superior to others.

End result: a perverse culture that values manufactured or feigned neutrality above all else, endless “he said/she said” reporting, and a mainstream media that is afraid to actually let its own reporters use their brains.

People, consumers, aren’t stupid, they know and recognise bias when they see it. I for one know that Duncan Garner gives no one any favours. He is almost an anarchist in his thinking. He just wants a story and presents it how he sees it. If you think there is bias in the story then that is your problem not his. He climbed in boots and all and ran the secret tapes provided from Labour and The Standard operatives in the lead up to the election, now he is smacking troughing former ministers including the biggest trougher of the lot, Chris Carter. The left makes the mistake in thinking that it is personal, it almost never is. Even when I am putting a hit on it still isn’t personal. The left however likes to see a reason for something, so for Carter it is latent homo-phobia, except they are the ones who see it and no-one else, for Len Brown it is a right wing conspiracy except no-one forced Len Brown to spend the money, no-one forced him to slap himself silly on TV and no-one foreced him to break his own council’s rules. Labour and the rest of the left do themselves no favours by crying conspiracy everytime something goes wrong in the press for them. They almost never look in the mirror.

Likewise with drug bust of Phil Goff’s daughter. Personally I couldn’t give a tinkers cuss whether she or any other MPs kids was taking ecstasy, and that isn’t the issue, the issue is how the MP handles it when the tough questions come, and that is where the pinkos are falling over. For nine long years they had a media cowed by Helen Clark and Heather Simpson. They would bully, black-list and cajole repeaters who didn’t play nicely. They are still doing it. Right now both Duncan Garner and Patrick Gowwer are on Labour’s blacklist. With petulant reciprocation of supposed sleights against MPs it is little wonder that Labour is constantly getting bad press.

Phil Goff handled the response to Jonathan Marshall’s questions poorly. It isn’t a smear, it is fact that his daughter was arrested, charged and found guilty. Goff pretends that he wants to lead this nation, yet when presented with prima facie evidence that his daughter is a drug user, he starts with denial, the politicians default position. That won’t cut it. Only the most stupid of people would think that his denial helps. It doesn’t it now portrays his daughter as a drug mule, a courier or a dealer, none of which are a better position than a drug taker. People want their leaders to be able to deal with tough issues, not run for cover or deny the existence of reality.

She is 25 and so should be big enough to look after herself, Goff should have said that. He didn’t. Is Jonathan Marshall biased for reporting it? Of course not. He told a story. Labour don’t like it of course. In their minds they will be thinking if the story had landed on the gallery’s desks then nothing would have happened. That is as it may be, but it didn’t and Jonathan Marshall isn’t in the gallery. The only thing he is thinking about is whether or not his story is going to make the front page or not. There isn’t a smear or a conspiracy, there just is. And the sooner that Labour and MSM bosses realise that people actually want bias then the sooner we can all get on and enjoy the news.

Thankfully, the internet is ripping the heart out of our mid-20th century media culture.  We’re going back to old-old-school reporting, way back to the era of when newspapers had open party affiliations.  If I want to learn about an issue, I don’t watch cable news debate theater, designed to ensure both sides go in endless circles.  And I certainly don’t read a David Broder column.  I go read an honest, intelligent partisan, an Yglesias or Klein or a Frum or a Salam, and then I go read a response from the other side.  Even if there isn’t a response, at least I know what I’m getting — I have a sense of the worldview I’m hearing and the assumptions that are going into the argument.  I don’t have to worry that the writer is burying some secret conclusion out of sight.  Full disclosure beats selective omission, every time.

Good reporting requires honesty, integrity, and analytical rigor.  Good reporting is not editorializing.  But a good reporter should not be neutral.  A good reporter should tell me what he thinks, why he thinks it, and why it’s relevant.

Blogging has added a newer dimension, a more raw and visceral dimension to the news. We are unashamedly biased, we know we are, our reader know we are and that is why we retain audiences. If you don’t like that then take a hike, because we and the world doesn’t care.

62%