Concerning "supine news media:" Is the United States becoming a gong-show version of Greater Tinpotistan?
In yesterday's column, Paul Krugman said the answer is yes. "America is rapidly turning into a stan," he wrote, using a nickname for tinpot feudal states.
"Everything we know suggests that we’re entering an era of epic corruption and contempt for the rule of law," Krugman said. At this point, he failed to mention the gong-show intellectual practices which are a key part of the decline.
That said, he only gets 800 words.
Eventually, Krugman reviewed the history of this decline, and he mentioned the press. In this passage, he's making two different key points:
KRUGMAN (1/2/17): How could this happen in a nation that has long prided itself as a role model for democracies everywhere? In a direct sense, Mr. Trump’s elevation was made possible by the F.B.I.’s blatant intervention in the election, Russian subversion, and the supine news media that obligingly played up fake scandals while burying real ones on the back pages.Krugman makes two key points in that passage:
But this debacle didn’t come out of nowhere. We’ve been on the road to stan-ism for a long time: an increasingly radical G.O.P., willing to do anything to gain and hold power, has been undermining our political culture for decades.
People tend to forget how much of the 2016 playbook had already been used in earlier years. Remember, the Clinton administration was besieged by constant accusations of corruption, dutifully hyped as major stories by the news media; not one of these alleged scandals turned out to involve any actual wrongdoing. Not incidentally, James Comey, the F.B.I. director whose intervention almost surely swung the election, had previously worked for the Whitewater committee, which spent seven years obsessively investigating a failed land deal.
First, the gong show within we live has been underway for decades. It dates at least to the pseudo-scandals of the 1990s.
(Whitewater began on the front page of Krugman's own paper—in early 1992, long before he got there.)
Second, a "supine news media" has been a key player every step of the way. Krugman says this was true in the 1990s, the age of the Clinton pseudo-scandals. He says it was true this past year.
Krugman only gets 800 words. You can't expect him, or anyone else, to provide a detailed discussion of this cultural breakdown when writing at that length.
That said, we'll offer a few observations as we prepare to use his column as a framework over the next several days:
This column provides no specifics concerning that supine news media. Only one "fake scandal" is cited by name.
No individual journalist or news org is named. No specific performance is mentioned.
Krugman only gets 800 words. That said, let's ponder this:
According to Krugman, the "supine news media" has been pimping "fake scandals" for more than twenty years. If we start our clock with the one fake scandal he names, the supine media has been playing this role for the past 25 years!
With that in mind, this is the question we ask:
Krugman gets only 800 words. That said, people like Matthews, Maddow, O'Donnell and Hayes get a full hour each night.
Twenty-five years into this descent, can you name a single high-profile journalist who has addressed the state of affairs Krugman describes? Do our journalists ever critique their own guild? Or do they avoid such discussions?
Moving right along:
Have you ever seen anyone on MSNBC address the state of affairs Krugman describes? Do "corporate liberal" journalists avoid these discussions too?
Krugman is right, of course. The press corps has played a leading role in the disintegration he described. And the corps has been playing this leading role for at least 25 years.
In the next few days, we'll look at some recent work to show you the way the press corps avoids addressing these facts. We'll focus on leading liberal journalists, the people our team hails and trusts.