It’s the laziness, Stupid

Though my students typically come into class convinced that it is the liberal bias of the media steering them wrong, the truth quite clearly lies elsewhere.  Al Franken has my absolute favorite quote on this:

make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a
or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda
is do they use too much oil in their hummus. And sometimes they do
use too much oil, and sometimes they don't use enough. But the real
problem with Al-Qaeda is they want to kill us.

The problem, as much as anything, is that journalists are too lazy to get the story right.  There's a fascinating case study in this as Glenn Greenwald has absolutely handed Time's Joe Klein his head in reference to complete fabrications (smearing Democrats as terrorist-loving) that Klein had printed in Time magazine.  In response to being called on his unthinking repetition of Republican spin (i.e., lies), Klein replies:

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right.

In other words, Klein's job is to sit back in his pundit chair and just say stuff about politics that sounds good.  If he's writing about FISA, well, his time is too important to actually try and understand the legislation or figure out if the Republican staffer feeding him lines is telling the truth.  Heck, that might require actual work. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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