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Chomsky here mocks the editorials as "comic strip", and yet they have carried out their function in the manufacture of an ultra-liberal common wisdom.

Chomsky is quite capable of mocking something for its extremism AND understanding all-too-well how it functions to "manufacture ... the common wisdom" - he did write, with Herman: "Manufacturing Consent":


Now the elite media are sort of the agenda-setting media. That means The New York Times, The Washington Post, the major television channels, and so on (WSJ. TW). They set the general framework. Local media more or less adapt to their structure.

http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/1992----02.htm

I'm quite prepared to accept that Murdoch's takeover will have had some negative effect on the news reporting of the WSJ; but I'm OFTEN sceptical about claims which use words like "always",  "all", "nothing" etc. So I think this is an exagerration:

"Nothing is trustworthy on its pages anymore."

A more reasonable critique, from the Columbia Journalism Review, based on some indicative stats regarding decline in length of stories, includes this:


Certainly, the Journal still does lots of top-flight work, and most stories don't need 2,500 words. But many do, and how does going short as a policy help readers understand the really important stuff like systemic problems, corporate misbehavior, business innovation, or sweeping economic change?

http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/the_shorter-form_journal.php

There is a quite reasonable reply:

http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/charts_of_the_day_wsj_story-le.php

which is not to say that it is entirely correct :-)

But I think that, as Chomsky says, and as Jerome says of the Economist, they need to be reasonably accurate because their audience needs to have at least a reasonable approximation to the facts since they're making important decisions partly on the basis of such information. If they really provide "nothing" that can be trusted they will lose an important part of their readership. Murdoch's a shrewd enough businessman to understand that.

 

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:04:37 PM EST
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