This is one of these shills in action up at Swampland, in an important lobby-busting post from Karen Tumulty on a Times article on corporate influence called "Our Chatty Cathy Congress" (the hyperlink to the post is given the helpful URL "swampland.blogs.time.com/2009/11/15/drug-industry-pulls-the-strings-in-congress"):
Why is the headline linking to this story entitled "How the Drug Industry Pulls Congress's Strings? Once you review the actual article it becomes a discussion of the standard operating procedure of lobbyists and elected congressional representatives. Nothing in the story raises even a hint of an industry wide scheme of manipulation, never mind anything untoward at all.
The industry isn't perfect, but then I challenge you to find one that is, and I'd ask you to start with the profession of journalism. I long for someone to merely present me with the relevant facts so I may make my own judgments and conclusions, and weary of a focus on the sensational to the complete absence of presenting all sides of the issue.
Why has the Times chosen to denigrate an industry? Can I trust media if they don't present all sides of a story? You are supposed to present information, not simply tar industries, groups, individuals, with a brush and a label such as the one leading into this article. Don't you understand, I can't tell the difference between you and Fox; neither of you will give me the facts without bias or even give me all the facts.
Time, prove yourself journalists, and write an article about the good in this industry and the people who labor in it, rather than just focus on the negative aspects. The costs of prescription medications gets loads of press, but have any of you ever stopped to calculate and compare the annual costs of blood pressure medication vs the cost of treating a stroke. If you don't write this story, please change your tabloid, sensational tactics.
Give me Joe Friday and just the facts please.
Posted by: mdfstx
November 15, 2009
at 5:30 pm
Wow...What naked propaganda. How fucking stupid do these jackals think we, the politically engaged public, are?
This was my response:
The industry isn't perfect, but then I challenge you to find one that is...
If by "perfect" one means "unwilling to subvert through material influence the democratic processes our nation has preserved with the blood of patriots", then no, there doesn't seem to be a "perfect" industry in sight.
The challenge isn't to find an industry that's "perfect", but to find and implement the system through which industry influence is minimized, and public influence is raised to its proper level. To do so necessarily means to weaken the power of corporations.
...and all the yelling of "Bias! Bias!" is so much cheap working of the refs. The press should be biased --biased toward the public interest where it conflicts with industry's. Dutifully presenting "all sides of the story" has no public value whatsoever when one side is the public interest, and the other is industry interest. Only a shill or a fool would demand that the tobacco companies' point of view be given equal time and emphasis along side lung surgeons' in a piece on the dangers of smoking.
Time, prove yourself journalists, and write an article about the good in this industry and the people who labor in it, rather than just focus on the negative aspects.
That's a truly ridiculous demand, completely at odds with what the problems of journalism actually are. Balance for balance's sake (or to satisfy the criticisms of industry PR shills) isn't synonymous with presentation of the truth. Real journalists don't "balance" negative aspects of a story for the sake of deflecting criticism. There either is significant equivalence, or there isn't. The industries themselves are more than capable of buying advertising time and public relations expertise testifying as to "the good in this industry and the people who labor in it", something of which ordinary folks are well aware.
Luckily for the institution of journalism, this kind of bogus criticism can now be countered by so many more engaged news consumers demanding an end to He Said-She Said. Luckily for us, most of us see this kind of demand for fake balance for what it is, and can tell journalists directly to reject it on our behalf --which they are starting to do.
I've always thought that this sort of sock-puppetry was more urban mythology than everyday reality, but I'm starting to reconsider.
Here's some video of mdfstx expressing another honest opinion at an "Americans For Prosperity" rally (he's the man in the top hat passing out fliers):
If you see bogus calls for "balance" and silly invective involving "bias" that doesn't emanate from the rightist "liberal media"-bashing crowd, it might make some sense to take thirty seconds to add your two cents about how journalism that seeks refuge from criticism in balance is useful to public relations shills --and nobody else.