1) Selection of journalists (to be like everyone else)
2) Lack of personal leadership (by media bosses)
3) No appreciation of history (see #11)
4) Textbook reality (books, especially Marxist ones, have all the answers)
5) Disdain for wealth (Israel=rich, Arabs=poor)
6) Disdain for personal achievement (Leninist-Stalinist thinking)
7) Disdain for Christianity (too many values shared with Judaism)
8) Revival of paganism and tribalism (like Greens' enviro-worship)
9) Hidden admiration of violence (I didn't know it was hidden!)
10) Contempt for democracy (lefties want to RULE others, not be ruled by them)
11) Post-modernism (only opinions, not facts, count)
That's just my summary list. Read it all. (Hat tip: my namesake)
I think the list is incomplete, and a partial diversion from true core issues:
No one is scared that Israelis might deliberately target journalists for their opinions. But everyone knows that starting at least with the 70s civil war in Lebanon, terrorists started doing exactly that. At first, journalists acknowledged they were writing under-the-gun. Then they stopped doing that, arguing that they didn't need to repeat this in every story.
Nowadays such acknowledgements don't happen at all, or very rarely. At CNN the media boss who admitted kowtowing to Saddam (after Saddam's overthrow) was contradicted by one of his reporters who claimed"
"my station was intimidated by the Administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."
Bull! What reporter has ever felt intimidated by the Bush Administration? Rather than believe the reporter, we should stop and think a moment: the reporter still works in dangerous places, the boss does not. Is it not more likely, then, that the reporter is making this patently false claim to shield herself from the thugs she still deals with?
These are not the days of World War II; death is comparitively rare, and reporters can choose to stay out of danger or not, as they wish. The bravest reporters, those willing to freely report without the protection of the American security umbrella - Atlantic Monthly's Michael Kelly, The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl, and independent art critic Steven Vincent come to mind - are dead. They have not been replaced, and with their departure the last vestige of honest and straightforward reporting has nearly vanished from the terror zones of this world.
There is an exception: Michael Yon comes close, but he consciously considers himself an author, not a reporter, and he concentrates on individual units of the American military. Tellingly, Yon did not rise to his position as America's chief war correspondent through the mainstream media, but through his blog -- and until he appealed to his readership for funds, he could hardly afford it.
Why won't the MSM hire Yon as a war correspondent? Mr. Yon might sniff that he would never want to, but he has bills to pay, and I guess that he wouldn't turn down a good offer. But no one has stepped forward to hire him, although the media have snapped up his photographs eagerly.
Why haven't any of the big networks or major newspapers or wire services offerred to employ Yon?
Because Yon is the real thing, as much as Murrow and Cronkite were in World War II, and by hiring him, the MSM would be putting everyone else - including their defeatist Vietnam-shaped editors - to shame. Who has ever met a modest big media reporter or editor? [12/13/05 Update: Just look at this narcissistic Washington Post article!] And that is the key cultural weakness of the MSM. One has to be endowed with modesty to swallow one's pride and admit or yield to superior talent and courage.
Out of suppressed fear and shame, violent feelings ensue and emerge to lash out as targets that can not or do not strike back. As the Talmud says, "Those who start out kind to the cruel, end up being cruel to the kind". Thus Israel - and the United States - are prime targets of the MSM's secret shame.
It is the fears of the MSM that have lead to its misleading reporting and slow extinction as a credible source of truth. May the rest of us take a different course, and thus avoid our extinction - physical or spiritual - as well.
I was wrong - at least partially. Michael Totten is one brave guy. Just read this.