Monday, January 21, 2008

THE NEWS BUSINESS. Michael Yon gets a very friendly profile in the New York Times. Conservative bloggers for the most part treat it as a further opportunity to hammer the Times. (Tigerhawk is among the few noble exceptions.)

"I guess it’s that time of the year again, for the broken down clock at the NYTimes," sneers Flopping Aces. "The NY Slimes," says Ray Robison. Jammie Wearing Fool complains "they carefully avoid saying too much about his coverage other then giving his web site and the obligatory nod to the now famous picture he took of a soldier cradling a wounded little girl" as if that weren't something most journalists, citizen or otherwise, would kill for. "Pigs were recently seen flying over Central Park," hyuks the Ace of Spades correspondent. Neptunus Lex sees it as a "through the looking glass" event, and his commenters pile on the "chronically lying and serially leaking of defense secrets scumbags at the NY Times!"

RedState, trying hard to huff up some outrage of its own, gets oh-so-close to reality:
The article wasn't negative at all; however, to me it just seems like you could substitute any topic, and any individual, that you wanted to, and the story would read the same way, no tweaking necessary -- like it was a prefab piece.
Of course. The New York Times is a very large newspaper with plenty of room, resources, and motivation to maintain a consensus reality that will accommodate enough readers to keep it viable. When it feels it has to shore up its right flank, it hires a William Kristol or employs freelancers like Glenn Harlan Reynolds and Ann Althouse to write for them, or covers someone like Michael Yon, albeit in a "pre-fab" manner.

The paper is "liberal" only to the extent that it does not, in its institutional voice, full-throatedly endorse the views of its most rightwing constituents. If it did, it would gain nothing, least of all the respect of folks like the ones quoted above. But why should the Times strive for their respect, so long as it clearly retains their attention? Scan the conservative blogs and note all the references and links to the Times. In these days of newspaper attrition, such bloggers are among its most reliable readers.

As for Yon, as I have noted before, he has been far from unnoticed or even underemployed by the "mainstream media," and his insistence that he is being ignored has built his following and enhanced his profile, as the current article amply demonstrates. I applaud this old punk-rock trick of loudly announcing you're too hot for The Man until The Man comes calling with coverage lauding your independence; David Peel couldn't done it better.

As for the rest, I wonder if it ever crosses their minds that all this journalism stuff has something to do with money.

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