Post-Journalism Propaganda

The estimable Mark Bowden describes bloggers whose only purpose is to score political points:

I would describe their approach as post-journalistic. It sees democracy, by definition, as perpetual political battle. The blogger’s role is to help his side. Distortions and inaccuracies, lapses of judgment, the absence of context, all of these things matter only a little, because they are committed by both sides, and tend to come out a wash. Nobody is actually right about anything, no matter how certain they pretend to be. The truth is something that emerges from the cauldron of debate. No, not the truth: victory, because winning is way more important than being right. Power is the highest achievement. There is nothing new about this. But we never used to mistake it for journalism. Today it is rapidly replacing journalism, leading us toward a world where all information is spun, and where all “news” is unapologetically propaganda.


These mendacious propagandists, also found on cable TV and radio, conduct themselves as though the end justifies the means, though few are actually willing to defend that proposition. Their approach to discourse has the effect of turning some folks who despise demagoguery away from all political conversation, which perversely increases their audience share.

They ought to be fought. And scorned. I am not all all sure that the blog Mr. Bowden discusses in his article has all the general characteristics he describes — I’ve never read it — but I can think of political commentators who do.

(Crosspost at The American Scene)

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