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News Flash: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On June 17, 2011 @ 7:15 am In Financial Press,UnScience | Comments Disabled

Fareed Zakaria [1] has reached the terribly obvious and long overdue conclusion that the right wing in the US is a fantasy-based denier of reality.

Whoopee.

After years of globally embarrassing foolishness, a cowed and cowardly media is belatedly showing signs of speaking Truth to Power.

For his observation that the earth is round, serious people are showering Zakaria with effusive praise. While the reality based observations are long overdue, it is embarrassing that we feel so compelled to applaud it. People seem to be forgetting: This is what media is supposed to do. The role of the press is to point out the absurdities of the powerful, afflict the comfortable, reveal what those in Power want to keep hidden.

Of course, that has taken a back seat to much more important events, such as Anthony Weiner’s junk shot, Michael Jackson’s untimely death, and an especially close American Idol final.

Bread & Circuses, anyone?

What does it say about our damaged US democracy and its wounded 4th Estate (aka corporate media) that merely making an obvious assertion is news? Is it an event when an essential element of a functional democracy actually has the bravado to tell a significant political movement that “No, the earth is not flat.”

The right wing has long embraced magical thinking. You can see it across a spectrum of thought: It is a short hop from believing that  Supply Side Tax Cuts are self funding to all other manner of nonsense. From denying Evolution to managing Health Care costs to Global Warming, it is a continuum. Making no-plan invasions of other countries is the natural progression of such magical thinking. If your beliefs are righteousness enough, then the outcome is assured by a munificent deity.

As a personal belief system, that may be fine, but as government philosophy, it makes for horrific policy decisions.

The Retreat from Empiricism [2] has been detailed over the years, but not by the mainstream media. It has been the alternative press — websites, blogs, critics outside of the mainstream — who have stated the obvious for many, many years. Somehow, the Media missed nearly all of it. It wasn’t until after the Katrina disaster that the scales fell from Press’ eyes. Suddenly, in the middle of George W. Bush’ second term, the Press found their voice. Years after 9/11, after the national terror alert was manipulated for political purposes, long after the Nation was lied into a war of choice through dishonest and deceptive means at great cost in blood and treasure, did the Media found its voice.

Heckuva job there, Press corps . . .

>

Previously:
Attack of the Dumb Journalists [3] (October 29th, 2005)

Journalists, Heal Thyselves [4] (December 26th, 2006)

Seeking the Truth — Or Obscuring It? [5] (August 20th, 2010)

Marion Maneker on Zakaria’s Truth Telling [6] (June 16th, 2011)

Sources:
How Today’s Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality [1]
Fareed Zakaria
Newsweek June 16, 2011
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2077943,00.html

Retreat from Empiricism [2]
Jay Rosen
Press Think, December 18, 2006
http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/12/18/suskind_empiricism.html


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/06/news-flash-the-emperor-has-no-clothes/

URLs in this post:

[1] Fareed Zakaria: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2077943,00.html

[2] Retreat from Empiricism: http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/12/18/suskind_empiricism.html

[3] Attack of the Dumb Journalists: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2005/10/attack-of-the-blogs-dumb-journalists/

[4] Journalists, Heal Thyselves: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog../2006/12/journalists-heal-thyselves/

[5] Seeking the Truth — Or Obscuring It?: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/08/seeking-the-truth-or-obscuring-it/

[6] Marion Maneker on Zakaria’s Truth Telling: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/06/maybe-government-is-the-solution/

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