Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Media Critics, High and Low

A. J. Liebling, the founding father, might have appreciated this. As the inventor of riding herd on journalism, the New Yorker critic would be bemused to see Barack Obama taking on Rupert Murdoch

In a speech, the President quotes the Australian-born media baron: "Immigrants have made America great as the world leader in business, science, higher education and innovation," adding about the Fox News owner, "I don't know if you're familiar with his views, but let's just say he doesn't have an Obama bumper sticker on his car."

Liebling held such as the Wall Street Journal owner in minimal high esteem, observing that "a publisher's reaction, on being told that he ought to spend money on reporting distant events, is therefore exactly that of the proprietor of a large, fat cow, who is told that he ought to enter her in a horse race."

Meanwhile, the prize heifer in Murdoch's stable, Sarah Palin, is being battered by the Right for failing to follow through on her political education and setting herself up instead as a mere media critic.

Such sideshows might have amused Liebling, who hated power brokers and worshipped good reporting, but he surely would have been galled by the rise of the "experts" he deplored at the expense of finding out what's actually happening.

It's good to have a President and a presidential wannabe getting in on his game, but A.J. would have traded them both in for a good beat reporter.

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