Monday, May 16, 2005

Another (Civilian) Intelligence Failure

Too much salt can be bad for you. Having had a check up this morning, where the doctor told me it is time to start monitoring my blood pressure, lends me a fresh insight on that. Lately, the metaphorical grains of salt are taking their BP tolls as well.

The credibility of mass media has been taking a pounding over the past year in particular. Between Dan Rather and now Newsweek, many people are taking anything reported with large grains of salt. Eventually, those same people are going to get sick of it and cut both out all together.

I would like to think of the mainstream media as the intelligence service for the people in keeping its eye on the government. With professional standards and reliable procedure, the people it serves could then fulfill their duty to approve or disapprove. Sadly, it has become clear that the MSM has a definite favorite faction and that its reports have become more about the goal rather than the method. While it is nowhere near as bad of a scenario as the CIA theoretically trying to sway US policy in a particular direction via biased intel filtering, the bias of the MSM is just as cynical. How is one to think anything other than the majority of those in media wish the electorate to put candidates they agree with into office? It is almost to the point where the only difference between the MSM today and government propaganda is that the ones putting out the propaganda today aren't drawing government paychecks.

Here's what I see as the greatest danger of the apparently willfully poor reporting going on: What happens when the government does try something beyond the pale? The capital of credibility the media earned in Watergate has long been spent. The next Deep Throat revealing conservative misdeeds is going to be laughed right out into the street.

Update: The whole "Fake but Accurate" concept is utter bunk. The conclusion is never proof of itself. If there were to be conflicting sets of data, for instance two studies that show different measures of airborn pollutants, one can not be prefered over the other because they fit the conclusion, such as saying that air pollution always gets worse therefore the study with higher pollution counts must be correct. The world is what is correct, not the reports of it.

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