Monday, April 27, 2009

The assumptions here are idiotic. The argument is that the press as a whole should be better than it is.
What a shame. Although it is tragic that we must be talking about something like torture in the United States of America in 2009, this issue does offer modern journalism a chance to do something we have not done in at least a generation -- and that is to provide this nation, our readers and viewers, with moral clarity and leadership.
I wonder what I.F. Stone would say to that? The press is ruled by cheap cynicism. It always has been and always will be. A few people will consider it their responsibility to try to be better, but lecturing the others on their mediocrity is no better than their presumption of seriousness. The best way to teach adults or children is by example. This has something to do with the American mythology of consensus: always trying to drag people up or down to your own level. But the point is you never know what 'level' you're on absent being tested by others. Without that context you're just floating in a sea of assumption. Bunch is as self-regarding as the people he's attacking. It's not the attack that I disagree with just the self-regard. Adversarialism is not founded on an assumption of our capacity for reason but on an assumption of the opposite. But of course exceptionalism trumps adversarialism in the imagination of our technocratic intellectual class.

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