Friday, August 05, 2005

Shafer Aims For The Bottom

Slate's Jack Shafer, usually a little hot-tempered but occasionally lucid, seems to be competing with Jon Friedman for the "worst media critic" title in his column today.

Shafer's rambling item is about media credibility, as he feigns bewilderment that polls keep showing the public has a declining opinion of the media. He hits bottom with this:
The larger point that the boneheads who so despise the media need to appreciate is that the mainstream American press is better than it's ever been. If you don't believe me, visit your local library and roll through a couple of miles of microfilm of the papers you're currently familiarly with. By any comparison, today's press is more accurate, ethical, reliable, independent, transparent, and trustworthy than ever.
Uh, Jack, the measure for that would be the polls upon which you are unloading. Recommended reading: The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. Yes, people often like their Daily Bugle better than they like the New York Times or maybe, God forbid, Slate. Why? Ever hear of the word "Internet," Jack?

Stand in the corner, Jack Shafer. Also, work on your writing--you're really droning on nowadays. (Everything OK at home?) Remember, brevity. Remember, clarity. Oh, and coherence is not a bad idea either.

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