Comments: I'll Be Damned

Well, you've certain demonstrated a shocking inability to recognize your own biases. And you're a journalist-- so I can see why this piece would resonate with you.

(Yes, nice to be back. Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.)

Posted by Joshua at October 11, 2006 03:49 PM

Yes, nice to see you're back.

When have I not admitted my own biases? I think I've been pretty straightforward about them, actually:

http://ramblingrhodes.mu.nu/archives/066279.html

I also think the whole idea of an un-biased media is some impossible fantasy ideal dreamt up by those in my profession who want to feel all important and transcendental. It's a circle-jerk idea for writers who want to feel good about themselves at the expense of common sense.

Posted by Ryan at October 11, 2006 04:15 PM

I was more talking about the level of bias where you have nothing but contempt for people who believe W stole Florida but you're game to believe Saddam Hussein was working with bin Laden because of a mural in the desert showing Hussein next to the burning Towers (I can't find the link, but you actually offered that as evidence once when we were debating). That kind of thing-- where your evidentiary standards are kind of-- what's the word? --relative? Something like that.

Otherhow, I think there's bias and there's bias. There's the kind of bias where you're using provocative terms. And then there's the kind of bias where you're pretty much just making shit up.

'Cause you know, another reading of this-- and I know you have nothing but contempt for journalists, but I'll just put this out there for comment --another reading of this is that people who actually know what's going on (reporters) tend not to vote Republican because the Republican platform (their actual platform, not the one they talk about in press conferences) is bad for America. Just like FOX "News".

Like I said-- just a suggestion. But it's something for you to consider.

Posted by Joshua at October 11, 2006 04:31 PM

believe Saddam Hussein was working with bin Laden because of a mural in the desert showing Hussein next to the burning Towers

Yeah, I hope you find that link, because I'm pretty sure you'll find that I made no such claim. Rather, I held it up as an example of Hussein propaganda, which it quite blatantly was; a de facto "BRAVO! WISH I WOULD HAVE DONE THAT!" But you go ahead with your reading it as me believing Saddam and bin Laden "working" together. You pick up a nasty case of selective reading over there in France?

I know you have nothing but contempt for journalists

Oh, look, Joshua's making shit up again! How I've missed that. I don't have contempt for journalists, you obtuse dickhole. I have contempt for the journalistic idea that you can somehow contain your biases and keep them out of your written work. It's bullshit, self-important nonsense.

another reading of this is that people who actually know what's going on (reporters)

HA! That's cute, that thing where you think reporters actually know what's going on. Oh, there are a few out there, I'm sure, but most journalists aren't in the profession because they're a particularly intellectually-gifted lot. Usually, not always but usually, they're writers first and thinkers second, and you'll find a fascinating trend towards laziness (I'm guilty!). Oh, and another thing you'll find with a lot of journalists? If you ask why they went for a journalism degree, probably 80 percent will tell you that one reason was because there was no math requirement. There's a reason they're called "reporters," and it's NOT because they "know what's going on," Nick Coleman being the exception, because he "knows stuff."

Posted by Ryan at October 11, 2006 05:43 PM

Okay-- that part where you said I was "making shit up" about you having nothing but contempt for journalists in one paragraph, then following it up with another paragraph about how journalists are all idiots; that was meant to be ironic. Right? Please tell me it was.

I've looked for the mural thing. I'm not going to spend anymore time chasing it around.

Posted by Joshua at October 11, 2006 06:06 PM

Contempt is a bit strong, Joshua, and I think you know that. I don't hold journalists in contempt, but my experiences in school and in newsrooms (to say nothing of being an everyday consumer of their "product"), has led to my, you know, not buying the sanctimonious line so many journalists yammer on about. And, there are good journalists in the field, but there's a lot more out there who aren't.

Posted by Ryan at October 11, 2006 08:25 PM

Unless, of course, you--the Joshua of all things incredulous--take all journalistic reporting at face value. There I go, being all contemptuous again.

Posted by Ryan at October 11, 2006 09:13 PM

Contempt is a bit strong, Joshua, and I think you know that.

No, I actually think "contempt" is just about perfect.

Posted by Joshua at October 12, 2006 03:36 AM

Oh, well, if you think it's perfect, I guess there's no room for dispute. I hold journalists in contempt, then. Guess we've settled that.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 08:35 AM

Ah yes, the increasingly famous Ryan Rhodes Discussion Cycle:

RYAN: Two plus two.

JOSHUA: You mean four.

RYAN: I NEVER SAID THAT!

Posted by Joshua at October 12, 2006 10:09 AM

Right alongside:

JOSHUA: Blah, two, blah blah, novella, blah blah blah, plus, War & Peace, blah blah. . .

RYAN: That interesting. I don't agree with you, but it's interesting.

JOSHUA: Then you're wrong, Ryan. And let me emphasize how wrong you are by calling you a fucking idiot, followed by a shithead, followed by moronic fucktard, because a long litany of amusing name-calling augments my argument by a factor of 10. In summation, you're wrong because you disagree with me, you fucking fuckass.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 10:28 AM

Sorry, I hurt myself laughing at the statement about how FOX News provides much-needed balance to the liberal media (such as CNN, whose hard-hitting airing of pentagon produced smart-bomb cam shots was such a bastion of the first Gulf War anti-war movement.) Ha! Good one!

The whole "liberal media" thing is hilarious, but suggesting that FOX is fullfilling an important journalistic role by providing balance is the piéce de resistance! Actually, calling FOX "journalism" is pretty funny in and of itself.

I'm trying to think of another example of a network commentator going directly from his job on-air to being the White House Press Secretary, but I'm not coming up with anything. Has that ever happened before?

I'm sure he was chosen for his "objectivity."

Nice to see you two back to loving to hate each other, or hating to love each other, or whatever it is that you do so well.

Posted by flamingbanjo at October 12, 2006 10:53 AM

I should note that I didn't agree with the FOX news angle of that column, just to be clear.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 11:10 AM

You know, Ryan, you're accusing me of filling out my arguments with insults. And I do loves me some insulting and cursing. But I haven't done that in this comment string. Also? My comments in this string have pretty much all been shorter than yours. But whatever.

Try coming up with a relevant argument.

Posted by Joshua at October 12, 2006 11:12 AM

I was simply returning the favor after your IRRELEVANT 2 + 2 comment. What? It's no longer fair to respond to your flacid zingers?

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 11:51 AM

Ryan, you said reporters are mostly ill-informed, not particularly intelligent, and that 80% of them got into journalism because there was no math.

To me-- and, I think, to most reasonable people --that amounts to "contempt".

You insist it does not.

So you see, I made the 2+2 comment in response to a specific pattern I noticed in the exchange. Therefore, relevant.

You know, debating with you is starting to feel an awful lot like arguing with Mitch Berg.

Posted by Joshua at October 12, 2006 12:36 PM

Yeah, you've made the Mitch Berg comment about me many times in the past, probably starting around the time you started reading Mitch Berg. I take such comments to mean: "you're disagreeing with me, so you're like Mitch Berg."

I said: but most journalists aren't in the profession because they're a particularly intellectually-gifted lot. I don't think that's a contemptuous statement. I know, for example, if I were good at math, or better-understood physics, or more politically astute, or skilled at fiction writing, I probably wouldn't have gone into journalism. It's a profession for good writers, not necessarily good thinkers. Is that contempt?

You characterized reporters as people who actually know what's going on. You're entitled to your opinion, but in my experience dealing with reporters and, you know, BEING one, I know they know about half of what's actually going on. I get on the local newspaper's case all the time, because when they report on new IBM technology, they get everything wrong but the name "IBM." I've filed news articles in the past about breaking news that were very incomplete. As an example, I wrote a breaking news piece back in 1998 about a partial city blackout. My understanding of the electical nuances that led to the blackout was porous, to be generous in the extreme. The only thing I ACTUALLY knew that was going on was that there was an electrical malfunction somewhere that led to a blackout.

So, what's my long-winded point? Reporters often don't ACTUALLY know what they're talking about. Is that contempt? I don't think so. You do. Therefore, I'm Mitch Berg.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 12:58 PM

Gobble gobble.

Posted by Joshua at October 12, 2006 01:40 PM

Besides, I save all my contempt for you, Josh.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 01:42 PM

"but in my experience dealing with reporters and, you know, BEING one"

And here, ladies and germs, is the phony baloney street cred we all know and love.

Posted by DG at October 12, 2006 04:17 PM

Yes, DG, I know how actual work experience translates into phony baloney street cred in your book. Next time you write about some wedding you photographed, I'll be sure to roll my eyes and think about what a phony tool you are. It's only fair.

I worked in newspapers for two years. If you think that's phony, well, you can just go blow me.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 04:26 PM

If it makes you feel any better, I noticed that when you mock reporters you are deliberately implicating yourself in your mockery. So I assume that it's at least partially tongue-in-cheek (but the question is whose tongue? And whose cheek?)

Posted by flamingbanjo at October 12, 2006 04:34 PM

Frankly, I've been surprised more people don't jump on that, Flaming. I hang it out there like a car door.

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2006 07:04 PM