Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fire for Effect 
Fully engaged in the comments to this thread over at PressThink.

Scroll down a ways.

Background: Someone mentioned the "no WMDs were found in Iraq" meme. I objected, saying that assertion has long been falsified - we have found a number of chemical weapons in Iraq, for instance, and the CIA reports that we uncovered a stash of "seed stocks" for biological weapons.

Now, I might be missing something that contradicts those findings, but the usual PressThink gaggle of intrepid reporters doesn't seem up to the task.

I think I have them pinned down in the kill zone, though - particularly on the seed stocks issue, and I think they must concede the point - the statement "No WMDs were found" can be shown to be false.

What amazes me, though, is the slovenly thinking that passes for argument over there. The casualness with regard to facts, the poor research, logical fallacies and poor or nonexistent critical reasoning skills, the preference for arguing from authority rather than from the evidence itself, the disdain for the rules of evidence, and the inability to discern fact from opinion.

The lack of intellectual discipline and rigorousness there is startling (Jay Rosen is staying out of that particular dogpile, to his credit. He's much stronger on media issues, anyway, natch. Steve Lovelady is firing from the flanks. Ann Kolson, I gather, is Lovelady's wife, and she's waded in up to her hips.)

If this is the quality of journos we're creating, it's time to scrap the whole journalist education and recruiting system and start over. It's gone the way of teacher education.

And that's pretty bad.

Splash, out


The quality of "Journos" has been in the toilet for a while. Basically since the 1980's.
Perhaps it's more an aspect of liberals in general (and no, it doesn't apply to ALL liberals), than of journalists in specific. I've been arguing the facts, in a logical manner, against several liberal thinkers on a couple message boards for several years now. I've come to the reluctant realization that in many cases, the facts simply aren't as important to them as how an issue makes them FEEL.

I can throw facts directly in their faces, but they simply ignore or sidestep them entirely, quitting the discussion. Then, two week later, they're back on the same topic again, making the same emotion-based arguments totally lacking in factual basis yet again.
Dear Lord in Heaven, why would a "journalist" use the "rearrange the deck chairs" cliche.

Is there no hack phrase too worn to be reused? That alone ought to render their worth as a writer moot.
Don't forget the centrifuges buried in the back yard of an Iraqi scientist.
Winner of the Completely Missing the Point Award goes to the one who wrote:
As a correspondent of mine observed, "If he found a broken arrow at the site of the Little Big Horn, he'd wave it around in the air, declaring that it's proof that Custer won.
"Next repetition of this point--no matter who it comes from--will be killed."

and i see he finally played the "pick up my marbles and go home" card (yes, i too can mix metaphors).

bravo, jason.
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