Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh, what chutzpah!

A great post at Davids Medienkritik, which takes a critical look at an article that recently appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, reminded me of an utterly absurd idea I often hear from the people around me:
Hard to believe but true: Many in Germany's media "elite" believe that George W. Bush has intimidated the US media into docile submission. They believe that, for the most part, the American "mainstream media" has become a willing servant to the Republican agenda.
Do read the whole thing. All over Europe one comes across people who - either out of ignorance or out of indifference - have never had more than passing exposure to US media and still have the incredible gall to go around saying that it has no backbone etc. No doubt the SZ article (and the others quoted by DM in his post) are part of the reason why many people here feel this way.
The fact of the matter is, however, that the media in the US are among the most independent, powerful and inquisitive in the world. My parents, who are both journalists in Italy, were simply flabbergasted by the incredibly lively, healthy and dynamic media culture they found in the States, when they lived there for two years (1998 - 2000). In the decade I have been assiduously following US media (among others), I can confirm that all these things have only gotten better, particularly since the blogosphere came of age.
This is not to say that the media can't improve or that all the harping that goes on in the blogosphere about the MSM is unjustified. However it has little to do with these intentional misrepresentations of the US media (and I assume intentional because it takes an open-minded and informed person of average intelligence - who has no political agenda - about five seconds to realize the absurdity of these claims). This sophism is particularly galling coming from the European media. Media here (and particularly in Italy) are often inaccurate - and I mean total falsehoods/mistakes and no corrections, very biased and rarely independent - in the sense that the political and business ties of many media in Europe would make Americans blanch.
Oh, the chutzpah is simply infuriating!

1 comment:

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