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The mainstream media

November 16, 2021

Jonathan Last makes a key point about the mainstream media:

The “mainstream media” .. is probably made up of several thousand individuals and then a three-figure number of institutions. At any given moment, on any given story, some number of these people and institutions will communicate facts that are eventually understood to be misleading or incorrect. Some of these people and institutions are better at their jobs than others. The point is that the MSM universe is so large that you’re always going to be able to cherry-pick examples to support the notion that “they” are feeding “us” false narratives.

That article peeks at some of the larger errors by the mainstream media in decades past.

But it also describes how there is considerable misreading. Both by those who are misled by their own error, and by those who imagine some intentional wrongdoing. As easy example, it stuns me that anyone reading the mainstream media would have thought that Jussie Smollet’s alleged assault was iron fact. Really? If so, what you need to question is not the mainstream reporting on that, but your own reading ability. Reporting should expose its sources and methods. The MSM articles on that mostly were straight up on where the information originated. Why did you not see how thin that was? What more would you have them do, on initial coverage of a reported crime? Not report it? Jump ahead of the facts about its denouement?

As another example, one Reuters reporter some weeks back, relying on unnamed sources, wrote that the FBI found scant evidence of an organized plot behind the storming of the Capitol on 1/6.  The reporter made that unreliable basis clear in the original article. That was the only dive down that particular rabbit hole I have seen in the mainstream media. (Alas, I have seen it repeatedly amplified in the right-wing media, even after its debunking.)

Was Reuters wrong to publish that? Not necessarily. It is the nature of the news media that everyone working in it is dealing with both limited information and time constraints. I have no reason to doubt that the reporter had what seemed believable sources. As Last notes;

The MSM is like a giant peer-review system, but where the peer-reviewing takes place after publication.

Don’t blame reporters merely for being wrong at the time. That is the nature of the beast. Save your ire for those who intentionally lie. Alas, there are plenty of those. Typically, the very ones who cast the most stones at the mainstream media.

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