For its having one of the best reputations of anything in the broadcast media, Diane Rehm’s show has got to have one of the most over-sold contents these days. The guest lineup is typically a small variation of what you hear on the cabloids. On Friday’s “Press Roundup” it’s often just about identical to it. Since those Friday guests are among those who’ve turned the media into a public hazard, they should be rounded up only to be run out of town. Having them on for fifty minutes without commercial interruption doesn’t make what they say any better, heaping up more garbage doesn’t improve its quality. Rehm’s most frequent stand ins, Mr. Cokie Roberts also heard on that other bastion of journalistic quality, Hardball, and Susan Page of USA Today and late of The Leherer Redundancy, don’t do anything to bring up the standards of the thing. They’re just more of more of the same.
Rehm’s non-press guest lists also follow that most dishonest of all practices in broadcast journalism, regularly featuring industry hacks as if they were interchangeable with what are supposed to be reporters of fact. This is clearly a violation of any real standard of journalistic honesty.
NO, AND THIS MEANS NO, INDUSTRY SPOKESMAN OR SPOKESWOMAN IS HIRED TO TELL THE UNBIASED TRUTH. THEY WON’T GIVE RELIABLE INFORMATION, THEY ALWAYS DISTORT THE TRUTH IN FAVOR OF PROFITABILITY. THAT’S THEIR JOB, THEY KNOW THEY’D LOSE IT IF THEY DIDN’T DISTORT TO SUIT THEIR BOSSES! AND THEY’RE TRAINED TO DECEIVE IN MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS.
Sorry for yelling but I’ve wanted to say that for a long time. The only acceptable place for an industry hack in the allegedly free press is lying in a commercial, and they shouldn’t even be there.
Last week, for instance, the show featured a petroleum industry shill countered, one is supposed to imagine, by their typical representative of pantomime liberalism from the Brookings Tea Time Cotillion and balanced out by a hack from the The Energy Daily* in place of their typical hack from the Wall Street Journal or The Economist.
What goes for the hired distortionists of industry goes for those they hire at one step removed, “fellows” and “scholars” of DC area talk shops.
There are certainly many hundreds of real scholars in and outside of universities who would be available to give more unbiased information than any hired talking head will. Hundreds sufficient to staff years of panels with those who are now never heard from. Real scholarship has to defend itself sometimes, which the hired hacks of the guess pools don’t have to worry as much about since they are somewhat cushioned in the same way as the “spokesmen” who are called a polite form of what they are.
You could probably find real scholars on just about any topic within driving distance of any major media studio and certainly by phone. You've been known to use the phone before, remember the famous Newt Gingrich interview? Yet the media, perhaps especially that based in the D.C. area, inevitably goes with just those people who can be counted on to distort, if not outright lie, in a predictable way. And it’s becoming more clear that those in that industry who are alleged to present opposing viewpoints are not going to rock a boat they might someday want to ride in. Talk shop liberalism being not far removed from the more polite form of talk shop conservatism.
There are moments of hilarity on Rehm’s show, however, such as the guest last week, who, as the temple of Free Markets was falling down around their heads claiming that the trouble was that deregulation hadn’t been allowed to go far enough. It’s like a Philistine guard, as the temple is collapsing, saying if only .... no, simile fails. There isn’t anything equivalently foolish. What that guy said on that show might be the stupidest thing yet said about the dark comedy that deregulation has always been. Here’s a clue, O most august organs of the free press, when someone can get away with saying something so clearly loopy on your show, on a most topical subject, it’s time someone called you on it. If you can’t see these glaring violations of your own professional responsibilities, how can you expect anyone to trust you on anything?
Whoever is in charge of putting together your guest lists, Diane, should be fired, including you if responsible. Your show is becoming a bad joke.
An important job for the blogs is to point this out to more people in the audience than seem to get it now. That anyone who listens to NPR or PBS doesn’t get it and so act to stop it is a symptom of how listening to those over-praised networks lead to the absence of real thinking.
* From their website:
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