The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Resting Place For Mainstream Media

Posted on | October 13, 2012 | 12 Comments

by Smitty

Slashdot links the MOMA announcing an exhibit: ‘Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

…the first major exhibition devoted to the history of manipulated photography before the digital age. Featuring some 200 visually captivating photographs created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce, the exhibition offers a provocative new perspective on the history of photography as it traces the medium’s complex and changing relationship to visual truth.

After this election, I expect to see a serious book or three in the specifics of how media has been manipulated, first in TV Age, and now in the Internet Age. [Aside: aren’t these Ages getting younger as we go?]

I don’t see much value in getting angry about this. The real feedback loop that will minimize the shenanigans, and drive people toward honesty is laughter. You can’t make dishonesty illegal through a court of law. You can only minimize dishonesty through the court of public opinion. The likely penalty in lost power has got to exceed whatever transient value gained by, for example, claiming some random pile of trip on YouTube triggered a demonstration that led to the death of an Ambassador and three others.

But that’s just the extreme example. Far less overt examples of spinning in the media, like the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin, or the infamous edit of a man carrying a rifle at a Tea Party event, beckon. As we forge a post-Progressive future in the United States, I think the realization will dawn that escaping total collapse was a near-run thing. It’s certainly too early to rule out a partial collapse.

Stacy McCain really should set about compiling a hefty list of examples of media bias.