18 May 2010

There might be signal in the noise ...

If Gwen Ifill interprets Jay Rosen's critique as desiring "more noise, not less; more cacophony and less understanding" I would recommend Ms. Ifill consider James Carey's description of how we should value the press:

Carey thinks we should “value the press in the precise degree that it sustains public life, that it helps keep the conversation going among us.” We should “devalue the press” in the degree that it seeks only to inform us or, worse, “turn us into silent spectators.” [ed: also see The People Formerly Known as the Audience]
I've watched Washington Week and the segments I appreciate the least are the "reasoned, focused, in-depth reporting and analysis" of "the game of professional politics, also called the permanent campaign." I do appreciate reasoned, focused, in-depth reporting and analysis of policy issues and their complexities or ambiguities.
Even if the participants themselves do not frame their activities as a political contest, media figures—the new intermediaries in politics—can show that they are too savvy to be taken in. Unmasking the "real" meaning of events, reporters reveal the attempts of one side or another to gain political advantage over its rivals in the governing process. Translating the campaign "spin" and finding the "hidden agenda" can be Everyman’s badge of political sophistication in the modern media culture.
Related:
An Anthology of Journalism's Decline