Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Crap It Comes From Both Sides Now

Caption: The first printing press of the Tombstone Epitaph, Tombstone, Arizona.

Image credit: Cujo359

Another in a long line of examples of why our press can't do a good job of reporting on the things it should be reporting on comes from Politico:

On Wednesday [Politico reporter Ben] White tweeted to his 8,500 followers, “Yesterday the right screamed at me. Today it’s the left. Must be doing it right.”

‘Vapidity’: Guardian‘s Greenwald Sics Rabid Followers on Politico‘s White

Of course, the latin-speaking philosophers among us will recognize this as a sort of perverse, double-edge argumentum ad populum. After all, if these folks don't like you, you must have something going for you, right? Why don't people who are confronted with such a phenomenon ever think that there might be another explanation that's, shall we say, less flattering? From that same article, they quote press critic and SnS blogrollee Glenn Greenwald:

Many people would read White’s message and carry on. Not the Guardian‘s perpetually self-serious Glenn Greenwald. “Here’s the motto for journalistic vapidity,” he wrote, linking to White’s tweet for his near 100K followers to have a look at.


In a sassy email, Greenwald told FBDC we didn’t understand the point he was trying to make. “There is nothing wrong with criticizing both left and right. I do that all the time.” He continued, “The problem is journalists who believe that receiving criticisms from both sides is proof that they are doing something right- as though centrism is the inherently superior position. It isn’t. Sometimes one is criticized by both sides because the centrist view is wrong, or becaude [sic] both sides recognize your error.”

‘Vapidity’: Guardian‘s Greenwald Sics Rabid Followers on Politico‘s White

For that matter, why don't they wonder if maybe they've just screwed up differently on different days?

Just thinking out loud here, but maybe it's time that some folks stopped considering the character of people who are criticizing them, and more time checking whether the criticism is right or not.

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