Die Presse ist gar nicht so

Nachdem Jon Stewart unter anderem den Medien am Wochenende so phänomenal die Leviten gelesen hat, fühlen sich einige Medienvertreter zu Unrecht angegriffen.

So schreibt David Carr in der New York Times:

So instead the host of “The Daily Show” took steady aim on the one American institution that everyone can agree to hate: The Media. Within the first minute of his deft, very articulate stump speech at the end of the rally, Mr. Stewart turned his gun sights on the, um, fake news, which he called, “the country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator,” which, he added, “did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.”

Dem mag sich Carr nicht ganz verschließen — er sieht die Prioritäten aber falsch gesetzt. Schließlich haben Medien doch nur einen so beschränkten Einfluss:

But here’s the problem: Most Americans don’t watch or pay attention to cable television. In even a good news night, about five million people take a seat on the cable wars, which is less than 2 percent of all Americans. People are scared of what they see in their pay envelopes and neighborhoods, not because of what Keith Olbermann said last night or how Bill O’Reilly came back at him.

Warum also hat Jon Stewart die Medien attackiert? Sie sind – so argumentiert Carr – willkommene Sündenböcke für eine Realität, die den Menschen nicht gefällt. In dem Jon Stewart die pundits beschimpfte, musste er nichts über Arbeitslosigkeit, Staatsschulden und Kriegen sagen.

His barrage against the news media Saturday stemmed from the fact that, on this day, attacking the message would have been bad manners, so he stuck with the messengers.

Ähnlich argumentiert Hamilton Nolan bei Gawker:

The media does not have the power to convince liberals or conservatives that their position is incorrect. The media does have the power to do this: draw a box, and say, „This box represents the boundaries of acceptable opinions.“ The boundaries of this box are arrived at by sampling a small range of politically acceptable pundits—say, from Arianna Huffington to Charles Krauthammer—and declaring them to represent the absolute extremes of rationality. Any opinions that fall outside of this box are dismissed as lunacy, and may be freely ignored.

Nicht Schreihälse wie Glenn Beck oder Keith Olbermann seien die Wurzel des Übels, sondern Journalisten, die Wischi-waschi-Standpunkte vertreten, um nicht aus dem Rahmen zu fallen. Der Konsens — wie auch anderswo — sei Gift.

Fuck bipartisanship. Politics is about different ideas, and many of them are irreconcilable. You have to choose one or the other. Jon Stewart is right to call for civility, but he should recognize that the real enemy is agreement, rather than disagreement. Social niceties blunt honesty, which renders our public dialogue coded and often worthless. Democracy thrives on the thesis-antithesis-synthesis process of open and uninhibited discussion and, yes, argument.

Der demonstrativ linke Talkmaster Keith Olbermann sieht sich zu Unrecht angeprangert. Stewart sei naiv — die anderen hätten schließlich angefangen. Wer zuerst aufhöre zu schreien,habe den meinungskampf verloren. Und wohin so etwas führt, wissen wir doch alle, oder?

P.S.: Olbermann will nun zumindest nicht mehr regelmäßig die „worst persons of the world“ küren — und Jon Stewarts Rede wurde autotuned:

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Facts you deserve to know

Viel wird derzeit über Staatsgeheimnisse, vermeintliche Verschwörungen und deren Aufdeckung geredet. In diesem Zusammenhang hat John F. Kennedy kurz nach seinem Amtsantritt vor der American Newspaper Publishers Association eine interessante Rede gehalten.

The very word „secrecy“ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

Edle Worte. Keine geheimniskrämerische Regierung, gegen den überbordenden Apparat der Geheimdienste! Doch es gibt da eine Ausnahme:

But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country’s peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of „clear and present danger,“ the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public’s need for national security.

Today no war has been declared–and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of „clear and present danger,“ then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

Frei übersetzt: Aber unsere Geheimnisse sind so wichtig, dass Journalisten sie stillschweigend akzeptieren sollten. Wer an unseren Geheimnissen rührt, rührt an der Sicherheit des Landes! Back off!

PS: Der historische Kontext ist auch spannend: Zehn Tage vor der Rede hatte Kennedy die Invasion der Schweinebucht befohlen, ein Angriff auf den kommunistischen Vorposten in Kuba. Um den Kriegsakt vorzubereiten, hatte der Geheimdienst CIA ein Jahr lang kubanische Exil-Kämpfer rekrutiert und ausgebildet.