Press Corp ‘Dean’ Preaches ‘Purposeful Ignorance’

Quoting John Dewey’s warning about “the proper role of the press in a democracy”–“a class of experts is inevitably so removed from common interests as to become a class with private interests and private knowledge”–Eric Alterman finds it (Nation, 5/6/09) “difficult to imagine a more telling–and disturbing–manifestation of Dewey’s prediction than the current torture debate in Washington”: Even after the disgraceful performance of so many armchair warriors during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, who would have dared predict the willingness, nay, eagerness, of respected journalists and pundits to argue in favor of purposeful ignorance? Sadly, many of them […]


Cable Grows, News Shrinks

Despite the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism’s new “State of the Media” report likening the current U.S. media condition to “someone about to begin physical therapy following a stroke suddenly contracting a debilitating secondary illness,” Eric Alterman and Danielle Ivory spot (Center for American Progress, 3/26/09) “one sunny area in the news business, according to the report”: “Cable ‘shined‘ in 2008. Its audience grew by 38 percent. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC gained viewers and expected to see record profits.” While “unlike their paper-based compadres, they actually had money to burn on things like newsgathering and international bureaus,” Alterman […]