First, the entries in this blog are mostly coming out daily, sometimes with updates. Second, journalism is sadly, but to a very high degree, and in multiple and insidious ways, bullshit. If we are to be informed, we have no choice but to succumb; but I hope to often offer yet another—and it is very important that it should be yet another—somewhat critical view.
At heart, this will remain what it has been from the beginning, yet another “what I’m reading” list, even originally and not so originally named What I’m Reading. Sometimes, I’ll pass stories on without comment. Whether I comment or not, I’m thinking about these stories. But it is also crucial to remember that in doing so, I reproduce many of the forms of aforementioned bullshit. I’m not pretending to be objective, but I’m selecting stories that catch my eye, culled from stories that other editors have decided, for whatever reason, to publish. In this, I’m vulnerable to the emphasis that other editors assign. This is mitigated only by the number and variety of sources I rely upon, which is some help, but not enough—publishers are often elites, sharing common interests that are not so much in common with the rest of us. They face pressure to conform, enforced only in part with “flak,” and generally end up reproducing the governing ideology even when not the ruling ideology or rulers’ preferred narratives. And so there are many important stories that I may never see. But also, there will be stories I choose not to follow for reasons that you, the reader, might as well put down to whimsy: Sometimes, I’m tired; sometimes, I don’t immediately recognize the importance of a story; very often, I see many stories as distractions, offering more heat than light; and very often, I’m just not interested.
- J. Herbert Altschull, Agents of Power: The Media and Public Policy, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: Longman, 1995); David Croteau and William Hoynes, Media/Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences, 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2003); David Halberstam, The Powers That Be (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2000); Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 2002); Susan D. Moeller, Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War and Death (Routledge: New York, 1999); George Seldes, 1000 Americans: The Real Rulers of the U.S.A. (New York: Boni and Gaer, 1948; Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive, 2009)↩
- C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956; repr., New York: Oxford University, 2000); C. Wright Mills, “The Structure of Power in American Society,” in Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality in the United States, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005).↩
- Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 2002).↩
- J. Herbert Altschull, Agents of Power: The Media and Public Policy, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: Longman, 1995).↩