Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Contempt of Imperial Journalism

Salon's Glen Greenwald does a bang-up job of following his Moyers' interview on the station of journalists within the power system with a blog post underscoring a recent example as well as ways that he is catching fire from the guild for daring to question it.

Writes Greenwald:
[Journalists] don't merely expect that political officials will ignore and violate their own campaign commitments once they get into office. They think that political officials should do that, that it's naive and foolish if political officials actually take seriously the commitments they make to citizens during a campaign.

Those with rewarding positions inside an imperial court ... naturally view the masses outside of the court with condescension and contempt -- as ignorant, dirty, irritating rubes who need to be pacified with empty, deceitful words ... in order to keep them placated and believing (at least enough to enable hope) that the imperial court actually cares what they think. But all serious, savvy, sophisticated royal court members know that none of that is supposed to matter. Not only do political elites have the right to ignore the claims they make to pacify the masses, they have the affirmative obligation to do that. That's how the worst nightmare of the political establishment is avoided: namely, having mass sentiment affect and infect what they do.
I agree with Greenwald.  Many of the journalists whom I see gathering around government centers of power at any level tend to act like Swiss Guards defending the church of power, the Holy See of the arcane and dogmatic political system.

In "Politics as a Vocation," that old sociological lion Max Weber wrote that even as political action generates results contradictory to original intentions, it still requires a cause that appears a matter of faith. And it appears to me that as every populist expectation gets shorn from current political action by the system, journalists act the guardians of the faith in the power that coheres.

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