My comment on Jay Rosen's blog yesterday actually got a response from Jay himself.
Here's what I wrote:
The value of Jay's post to me is the way it reframes many of our practical choices. I've believed for some time now that (for most of us) politics is a vague proxy for a deeper set of responses to the world. Now I can add bias claims to my list of cultural proxies.
Here's part of the disconnect: Bias means one thing to right-wing critics, another thing to left-wing critics, but only ONE thing to journalists. Consequently, we don't quite understand what people are telling us, and our responses tend to fall flat. We are literally speaking a different language.
Jay's earlier post on "Decertifying the Press" made the case that the current ruling party has taken this discontent with the media and turned it into a means of extending its power. Combine that post with this one and one can see how the anger against our profession may not be rooted in political-bias arguments, but political interests are actively and callously fueling that discontent.
Is the answer to our problem, therefore, turning press coverage to the right so as to find some nebulous center? Nope. Grassroots conservative critics dislike the media on a level that goes deeper than politics, and the political campaign against the press isn't about policy but about control.
I'm not sure where that leaves us, but at least we're defining the subject in more meaningful terms.
Posted by: Daniel Conover at March 16, 2005 02:08 PM | Permalink
Here's what Jay wrote back:
Daniel: Thank you especially for putting those pieces together, and your comments generally. I love your phrase, "a vague proxy for a deeper set of responses to the world." And yes, add bias to the list of cultural proxies. My sense is these things are all related, but I have to admit I don't know exactly how.
In this respect, I thought it was significant that David Shaw--a liberal journalist--called de-certifying the press a paranoid line of thought.
Equally interesting to me (maybe only me...) is that the LATimes.com once again--it's happened before--was unable, unwilling, uninterested in having a simple link to Pressthink when Shaw, a columnist, is writing for the purpose of arguing with a PressThink post. I find that a fascinating statement about where that newspaper is in its evolution (which seems to be a decision not to evolve.)