Friday, September 18, 2009

Time Magazine Deems Racist Idiot Worthy of Fawning Cover Story

Not only does Time magazine give it's cover to Glenn Beck, but it's an article so comically bad that it could be used as a case study to examine the idiocy of modern day political journalism. The first paragraph:
On Sept. 12, a large crowd gathered in Washington to protest ... what? The goals of Congress and the Obama Administration, mainly — the cost, the scale, the perceived leftist intent. The crowd's agenda was wide-ranging, so it's hard to be more specific. "End the Fed," a sign read. A schoolboy's placard denounced "Obama's Nazi Youth Militia." Another poster declared, "We the People for Capitalism Not Socialism." If you get your information from liberal sources, the crowd numbered about 70,000, many of them greedy racists. If you get your information from conservative sources, the crowd was hundreds of thousands strong, perhaps as many as a million, and the tenor was peaceful and patriotic. Either way, you may not be inclined to believe what we say about numbers, according to a recent poll that found record-low levels of public trust of the mainstream media.
Crazy conservatives say one thing, crazy liberals say another, and the truth lies somewhere at a mysterious point in between where David Broader and Joe Lieberman feel comfortable. Who cares that you're equating completely fabricated numbers with the estimates of reliable sources? In today's political reporting, you give two sides of the story without informing to the reader that one is telling them the truth and while the other is attempting to deceive them. Media Matters:

Progressive media critics often point out that the media too frequently take a "he-said/she-said" approach to politics that boils down to, "Is the Earth flat or spherical? Opinions differ." That may seem like an exaggeration, but Time's handling of the crowd size dispute is virtually indistinguishable from that caricature.

Actually, in some ways, it's less honest than the caricature. See, the 70,000 estimate didn't come from "liberal sources"; it came from sane sources, such as the Washington, D.C., Fire Department. Time portrayed the disparate estimates as equally-likely-to-be-true products of ideological observers. In fact, the large estimates from conservatives were clearly false, and the lower, accurate estimates came from official, nonpartisan observers -- and even from some conservatives like Beck's colleagues at Fox News.

And the estimates of "as many as a million"? True, they came from conservatives (actually, some conservatives put the crowd size at the 2 million mark. Time has downplayed the dishonesty displayed by one of the very conservatives it later references.) But, more accurately, they came from dishonest conservatives who were lying, lying about how many people were there, lying about where the estimates came from. Lying.

Look: The difference between 70,000 people on the National Mall for a protest and 2 million is huge. Seventy thousand people is a good-sized crowd. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's almost as many as the 85,000 people who attended last Saturday's college football game in Lincoln, Nebraska. But 2 million people? There probably weren't 2 million people in the entire state of Nebraska (population: 1.8 million) last Saturday.

Houston, Texas, is the fourth-largest city in America, with just over 2 million residents. Do you know what happens when you drop the population of Houston, Texas, in the middle of Washington, D.C.? Hotels for miles and miles around are booked far in advance. The Metro system is stretched to the breaking point. Thousands of people get trapped in tunnels. It is, in short, unmistakably different from what happens when Missouri plays Bowling Green.

I dwell on this because the difference between 70,000 and 2 million people is simply not something about which reasonable people of honest motives can disagree. It is not something that can be an innocent mistake. Dishonest people who wanted to misinform you told lies in order to exaggerate the crowd size. There really can be no doubt about that.

But Time not only won't make clear that they are lying, it won't even tell you that they were wrong. Thus, the magazine makes clear right up front that this article is not "journalism"; it is a pathetic attempt to pander to malicious liars.

And this is all before they start talking about Beck. So if they didn't point out the difference between the park service and Michelle Malkin's crowd estimates, you can probably guess they didn't point out that Glenn Beck lies constantly about literally everything he covers. Jamison Foser:

See, Glenn Beck's defining characteristic is that he's deeply dishonest. He claimed that 1.7 million people stormed the National Mall last week to protest Obama. And that's just one example; Beck tells lies of such size and obviousness, and with such frequency, that to fail to make his dishonesty clear right up front is, itself, dishonest. But Time didn't even hint at it in its introduction of Beck:

Glenn Beck: the pudgy, buzz-cut, weeping phenomenon of radio, TV and books. ... Beck is 45, tireless, funny, self-deprecating, a recovering alcoholic, a convert to Mormonism, a libertarian and living with ADHD.

Indeed, the closest the Time article ever came -- ever -- to indicating that Beck tells lies and spreads falsehoods is this whopper of an understatement: "[H]e also spins yarns of less substance." Oh, snap! That really exposes him for the fraud that he is!

Charles Kaiser of the Hillman Foundation interviewed the author, David von Drehle, who chose the "let me show you how clueless I am about the subject of the article I just wrote" defense:
“I do not want to give every single person a score card,” Von Drehle told FCP. There has obviously been no “shortage of rants against Glenn Beck,” so rather than give an intelligent appraisal of what Beck actually says each night, von Drehele wrote a story which focuses on the fact that “this is is a big business and a lot of people are making a lot of money.”
This is about his business, and money apparently. I'm not sure how anyone reading the article would have gotten that impression, but whatever. Since it's all about his business I'm sure he had a good explanation for why he didn't give a bit more coverage to the boycott of his show that's already cost him half his sponsors:
Von Drehle does mention in passing that Beck is currently the object of one of the most successful advertizer boycotts in history, sparked by Beck’s assertion that Obama is a racist who harbors "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

Von Drehle identified the boycott as “a boon” to Beck’s ratings; but he didn’t say that it now includes more than sixty corporations, including Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Procter & Gamble.

FCP asked Von Dehele if sixty wasn’t a rather large number–one perhaps worth mentioning in his piece. “Well,” he replied. “There are millions of companies.”

Yep, there are millions of companies. This is a factual statement that clearly explains why you shouldn't mention that a boycott has cost Beck HALF of his advertisers. You'd think that would have been an important addition for an in depth glowing profile article about Glenn Beck's business empire, but apparently not. Instead we get this:

Thanks Time magazine, I needed to see that!

1 comment:

  1. i like how time calls him a "mad man" equating him to a fictitious show about people who in the 50/60s lie to and manipulate the American public. nice.