Giving us an opportunity to update an earlier energetic bias-in-media discussion of which we were the head-banging beneficiary, Jay Rosen quotes a review of his recent conversation with Christopher Hitchens on the BBC about the Newsweek Koran story. Hitchens too wonders about the scatter of data along the line.
Without directly endorsing the comment, Hitchens also noted that the American right was convinced that this case was evidence of “a propagandistic agenda on the part of the liberal media” to undermine the American war effort.
But when Rosen interrupted to reject this as part of “an ideologicial agenda to discredit and decertify the press” by the American right, Hitchens replied this way:
I think that a story with such — as we now know — scant basis to it would be much less likely to appear if it made the adminstration look good. I do think that. I can’t tell you how I know it; I read the press with great attention, I think I know when a reporter is slightly nudging me in one direction or another.
Jay declines to share the wonder. However, his genuinely Fine Mind at Work visible in almost every post at PressThink does frame the framing this way:
[The issue] involves the punctuation of events: when do you start the story, and what are the effects of beginning it where you do?
Unfortunately, this "scope/frame" can as easily, consciously or unconsciously, be manipulated or distorted to edit a predetermined plausibility of effect. But at least a real effort to contextualize could move the discussion to debating the appropriate scope, and surface a lot of relevant, weighable data in the process.
And that's a Good Thing. BTW, thanks, Martha. The strawberry cake in the current issue turned out great, accurate proportions, evidence of careful testing and editing. Though we could cut back on the sugar.