Monday, July 01, 2002

Damn.. I take the weekend off, and all of a sudden Atrios starts a blizzard of great entries. Many are notable, but this one really struck me, because of how well it encapsulates a typical media problem:

I really hate this kind of journalism, which is incredibly common. Take a "liberal" position. Find "some" (or "many") minority voters who take a different position. Frame it in such a way to imply that white liberals and the minority leadership are on the wrong side of the issue and conservatives are actually on the side of the minorities. Don't provide any poll data (even though in this case there is some) to support that you are talking about anything other than a minority of minority voters. Rinse. Repeat.
This isn't exactly an uncommon thing, of course, and it does tap into something that American media culture finds endlessly fascinating: the contrarian minority member that doesn't "fit in" and takes stances on issues that seem to contradict the "mainstream" in that minority. I don't even necessarily credit or blame the right for this (despite their often being the beneficiaries of variations from percieved minority leftism and identity politics); it's just something that often seems to pop up, as intrinsic to American idolization of the "free" contrarian individual as, say, the Japanese veneration of conformity. I don't necessarily buy that American culture (and America in general) is as individualistic as these things seem to imply, but it values conspicuous individualism; the results of those values are, IMO, worth exploration and study.

(Then again, maybe it's already been done. It's a pity that the field of cultural study always seems immersed in a thin soup of Marxian political economy, because I like the idea of studying the interaction between culture, society, and politics.)

No comments:

Post a Comment