Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Rhetorical Bullying Triumphant, or If It Makes Andrew Sullivan Happy, It Must Be Bad For You And Me

Sully says:
"The BBC's governors have decided they now need to monitorthe national radio and television service each quarter to detect and keep an eye on bias. That may well be a result of the protests that this blog and many, many others helped frame and coordinate. Three cheers for the "second superpower" of the web."
Like anyone else who has read Eric Alterman's book without being an utterly blind ideologue, I agree that the Right's obsession with "liberal bias" is an effort to work the refs of the media in order to actually move the press to the Right and discredit any coverage that is not kind to the Right and its views.

Consequently, the apparent decision on the part of BBC officials to "focus on whether viewers and listeners believe the BBC is biased" is a terrible turn of events. You'll notice that the focus is on viewers' beliefs about bias, something that is easily manipulated by sources outside the actual content of the BBC- like, say, one of Murdoch's rags, or people like Sullivan.

It's bad enough that the Right has succeeded in intimidating most major media sources here in the US, something that was made painfully obvious during the war when a good chunk of the population turned to the BBC for their war coverage. If people who think like Sullivan succeed in muzzling the BBC as well, it will be a dark day indeed.

So yeah. Three cheers for...well, nothing. There is no cheer here today.

Update: Via SullyWatch, who does on a daily basis what I only have the stomach to do every once in a while, we find this wonderful quote from Sullivan on journalistic objectivity: "But a certain amount of B.S. is necessary for any vaguely successful retrenchment of government power in an insatiable entitlement state ... a rhetorical smoke screen is sometimes necessary."

Now, perhaps my reading comprehension skills have atrophied during my long semi-hiatus from VVH, but isn't that just a way of saying "We need to lie to get what we want" using an extra twenty words?

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