Journalism has provided more examples of epic errors this year. While trying to get as much new information on air as possible, networks from Fox to NPR broadcast incorrect information, most prominently about the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act and the Newtown shootings.
Is it really better to get it first than it is to get it right? It seems whatever value a brand receives by being first would be negated by developing a track record of sharing incorrect information. Or are we being silly to believe that media workers want to get at the “truth” and not present some well-funded worldview that will generate support for policies espoused by their donors?
FAIR’s annual P.U.-litzer Award list is here, and it’s startling to see veterans on the list. One would hope accountability either would have urged them to be better or gotten them fired. And Salon offered its annual Hack List, from The New York Times to Politico.
But we all make mistakes, right? Even Offbeat, whose focus is “Louisiana Music, Food & Culture,” published a review of “Pascal Manale’s” (51, January 2012, although it’s partially corrected online). The name is Pascal’s Manale—at least according to the internet, the restaurant’s ad on page 46 of the 2013 Mardi Gras Guide, and the building itself. Nitpicking, I know, but if you’re going to claim to be about something, you’d better be pretty fucking perfect about that something.
More interesting is a response in Jacobin to Thomas Frank’s critique in The Baffler of Occupy Wall Street’s losing itself in academic jargon. I tend to agree more with the latter article than the former, but each makes worthy points (doesn’t it suck to be in the X/Y cusp, generationless, too young for the Gen X people supposedly at The Baffler and too old for the millennials or whatever staffing Jacobin?). I just want to point out two insufferable elements of the Jacobin piece. One: Because someone disagrees with one essay in one issue of The Baffler, we get the preposterous subtitle “On the rise and fall of the Baffler.” Yes, it’s fallen because of one disagreement. Two: I could only scan the Jacobin piece, and when I stumbled on this paragraph
“Meanwhile, the Left is showing some hints of regeneration, with Occupy a symbol for broader developments, and Marxism is creeping back into the fringes of polite intellectual discussion. The trajectory of Jacobin itself is evidence of the increasing permeability of the media to leftist ideas. Despite frequently avowing solidly Marxist politics that place us well to the left of the Baffler, over our brief existence our content has been discussed or republished by mainstream media companies like the Washington Post and the Boston Globe and newer online outlets like Salon and Gawker. The Baffler’s best known mainstream media hit, meanwhile, was their role in hilariously trolling the New York Times and other outlets for printing a made-up list of ‘Grunge slang.’”
I was glad I only scanned it. For a journal that seems to pride itself on its leftness, the author of this piece sure makes pains to say his magazine beats the other one because the mainstream media referenced it more recently. Is it a point of pride that The Washington Post, which publishes Charles Krauthammer and Jennifer Rubin, gives you a shout-out? Or, for God’s sake, Gawker? Is a sign of success acceptance by those from which you claim to be separate? Radical!!!