I agree with Matt Yglesias that blogs are particularly well suited to complaining about media coverage, and would add that this contributes greatly to MSM resentment — especially among sports writers — of the blogosphere. Anyway, there isn’t anything particularly revelatory about this; indeed, at this point, griping about the media is pretty hackneyed — but I can’t resist. Here’s Kevin Drum discussing how the media will cover Iraqi PM Maliki’s weak tea backtrack of his endorsement of Obama’s withdrawal plan:
So does the press decide that this means Obama has shown good judgment and good instincts in foreign affairs? That seems like it would be the most reasonable interpretation, but alternatively the press could decide that what this really means is that there are now very few differences between Obama and McCain on foreign policy — without implying any judgment about who was right and who was wrong. That’s a stretch, but it would be nice and faux-neutral, something that appeals to reporters.
Or, who knows? Maybe something entirely different will bubble up from the press corps. This ought to be a pretty good foreign policy moment for Obama, but we won’t know for sure until the media narrative takes shape. Stay tuned.
I’m not a reporter, so I can’t speak to whether producing a “faux-neutral” narrative appeals to them or not, but Kevin Drum was, so I imagine there’s some truth to it. But what’s really exasperating is that the media could self-consciously structure a narrative. It’s one thing for a narrative to evolve — that’s a passive process informed by the aggregation of facts — but to actually contrive a narrative?
Maybe I’m naive, but this isn’t fiction: this is the real world we’re talking about here with real implications. If there’s not enough fantasy for you in that, I’d suggest writing fiction.