By passing judgment on new items, news concedes to previous items’ righteousness

The media has an incredible power to assist people in sliding along to an extreme. It doesn’t come from its bias, either. It’s just the nature of news media that includes judgments with its reports. (The British don’t have this problem since their news doesn’t decide for you. They just report.) To judge a newly reported item, it must be put into perspective and judged according to what’s around it. And to judge something by its context, you must pretend the context is a constant and the item of topic is a variable. If news keeps coming about an unjust war, for example, the news must eventually “give up” and just report what’s new. If it passes judgment on these new items, it has given a slight nod of acceptance to the previous circumstances that got it there. It’s like being drawn onto someone’s turf in an argument.

This one probably needs a few examples. If the news talks about Saddam’s capture, no big deal. If the news attempts to pass judgment on it or query experts for whether he should be executed or detained, it’s acknowledged that everything leading up to his capture was just. We’re placated seeing these anchors and experts discuss the topic at hand as if everything that came before was nothing to get excited about. It’d get pretty old if every expert brought on the news answered, “We shouldn’t even be here in the first place. This President shouldn’t even be in office!” after every question about American troops being “ambushed” or Guantanamo Bay. They really should, though. We’ve slid pretty damn far.

5 thoughts on “By passing judgment on new items, news concedes to previous items’ righteousness

  1. in re “(The British don’t have this problem since their news doesn’t decide for you. They just report.)”

    Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges 3rd Ed., Charles Hauss.
    p. 93, par 5, ll 9-16:
    “Although British networks tend to be impartial, that is not necessarily true of individual journalists. Interviewers are known for the grillings they give politicians, especially those thought to be arrogant or to be withholding information. Some interviewers, including John Snow – the most popular anchor – make no attempt to hide their political beliefs”

  2. If you like the ‘impartiality’ of British TV be aware that its under threat prestegious big name (sorry for lack of referance)inside the Beeb said last week that the lack of solid opposition to Blair was tempting comentators into a basically political position

  3. By passing judgment on new items, news concedes to previous items’ righteousness

    Think this a special case of ‘sharpening and levallling’

  4. Furtheron this:
    Its bad but it grows out of a wish to build on what has already been said i.e. I’d want to go on from saying Bush is a dick-head and his admin economic policy is a disaster. To Why has USA allowed itself to elect a dick head and follow socially divisive policies. To do that I must ignore the segment of the population that thinks Bush is peachy -keen

  5. I don’t quite understand this argument. Whether or not the Iraq war was a good idea, how to deal with the insurgency and Saddam are real issues that need to be dealt with. Discussing them doesn’t concede the righteousness of the actions that caused them. How could it?

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