Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

A horse chestnut or a newspaper or a news show?

Jerry Stratton, September 12, 2008

Someone accidentally put down my address when they subscribed to the Los Angeles Times; I’ve let the Times know, and in the meantime when it arrives I just put it in my bicycle and take it to be recycled. In a few months my television will no longer be able to receive broadcast news. I have no plans to bother getting a converter. Why? The only thing I used the television for in the past other than DVDs is watching the news. But if I can only trust it to be wrong, what’s the point? All that watching the news will do is make me stupider.

Nobody is stupid enough, for example, to think that “I hope we’re doing the right thing” is the same as “We’re doing the right thing.” And if they are that stupid, I don’t want to get my news from them. Charlie Gibson’s defense would probably be that he read it in the Associated Press, but that’s my point: following these news sources makes you stupider than if you didn’t follow them.

I’ve tried very hard to maintain an increasingly unreasonable belief that mainstream media “bias” is really just a bias towards “selling papers”, but since the nomination of Sarah Palin that has been an impossible illusion. If I read Anne Kornblut in the Washington Post without filtering it through blog postings, I might actually think that Sarah Palin linked 9/11 with Saddam Hussein. I’d be stupider for reading the Post than for not reading it.

Just like if I watched Charlie Gibson on ABC News, I’d be stupider for watching him than for not watching him, or reading the Associated Press I’d be stupider for reading it than for not reading it. Or reading or watching any news source that relies on the Associated Press. It has come to the point that following the news from mainstream news sources makes you stupider than not following the news.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln in one of his lower moments, the news media in either its bias or its stupidity is no more than “a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a horse chestnut to be a chestnut horse.”

Nowadays they’re not even bothering to switch the words around; they’re just chopping out the ones they don’t like and adding new ones that they feel ought to be in there.

Update: holy crap. You’ve got to read the unedited version of the ABC interview. Anyone watching the edited version of the interview on ABC is stupider for having watched it than if they hadn’t watched. It’s amazing.

  1. <- Telecom Immunity
  2. Blaming the Messenger ->