Comments on: Why Geithner went on background http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/03/10/why-geithner-went-on-background/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: deLafayette http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/03/10/why-geithner-went-on-background/comment-page-1/#comment-12615 Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:59:56 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=2905#comment-12615 {Salmon: Going offline allows the public official to relax a little and even have something approaching a real conversation, as opposed to simply reciting talking points.}

I think you may have missed several factors regarding the different media outlets:
* The TV is the mainstay media by which most American obtain their information.
* We can argue about how “free” those outlets are in terms of their journalistic outlook – but we, the people, are largely powerless to reshape it.
* The blogosphere is a parallel but very unprofessional means of affecting public opinion. Much of it is populated by individual who prefer to polemicize rather than participate in the political process. Why? Because Americans are largely disaffected with that process. Besides, polemicizing is comparably effortless.
* American TV is so saturated with sensationalism, that any balanced reporting is relegated to the Dustbin of Boredom — the proverbial Black Hole of journalism. So, politicians go on TV with “sound-bites” because the American public cannot assimilate more than (often tendentious) trite statements. This is particularly the case when a debate — such as Health Care — must go into some very dreary details for a more comprehensive understanding.
* The blogosphere is a reflection of the above point. Bloggers generally can neither go into detail nor articulate well a point-of-view, so one is left with Mindless Vituperation at worst and Simplistic Reasoning at best.
* Which means that Adversarial Exchange, according to the best rules of Formal Debate, is too easily reduced to blathering. Adversarial Debate is typically well reasoned, dispassionate, concise and polite. All the above combined are a rarity on the blogosphere — which is employed far too much as a means of Individual Catharsis.

My point: One must have faith nonetheless in a natural attribute of most people — called Common Sense. Which is the objective, I submit, that should be addressed by journalists regardless of the subject or the context of forum debate.

It would also help if journalists were more willing to enter the cauldron of debate. Yes, the exchange of adversarial opinion is a Hot Place. But it is also a formative one — one can learn a lot …

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By: JeffEllerbee http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/03/10/why-geithner-went-on-background/comment-page-1/#comment-12568 Wed, 10 Mar 2010 15:58:10 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=2905#comment-12568 Felix, with all due respect, I think you missed Kevin’s point. You didn’t analyze your basic premise: why did you “basically just want[] to talk to the guy”–the guy being Tim Geithner? This raises the question of why is what they’re saying or what they’re thinking of any value when you can analyze what they are doing and what the impact of those actions are? These briefing sessions make reporters more sympathetic to the treasury officials at a personal level and has, in the past with many other reporters (esp. in cases in the past administration), made those reporters pull punches (and not “call it like it is”) when they shouldn’t have–for example, sitting on the Abu Ghraib torture photos. What about this session made it any different?

Thanks,

Jeff

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