Setting The Agenda

Via the Crack Den, here’s one for all the passive-aggro lazy-ass journobots talking shit about how they’re helpless in the face of consumers’ desires and can’t possibly be anything other than mental vacuums waiting to suck up an ideaas it drifts past them like a dust bunny:

TheNew York Daily Newsnoted this morning, “Thanks in large part to relentless television advocacy by Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show,’ the 9/11 bill has risen up the agenda.”

It’d be an exaggeration to say Stewart wassolely responsible. Other voices in media (including, ahem, the one you’re reading now) were reporting on the importance of the bill several weeks ago, and as soon as the tax deal was settled, Republicans who were at least open to the Zadroga bill were willing to start talking again.

But asChristopher Beam noted last night, Stewart “shined a light on the issue at the right moment,” which in turn generated some momentum where none existed. With that in mind, the White House shout-out is entirely warranted, and if this manages to somehow pass, “The Daily Show” will have played a key role in making that happen.

With the stories you choose to cover, with the attention you choose to give them, you are setting the public agenda. Pursuing a story you know to be importantdespite the lack of everybody else doing so, despite voices within and without the newsroom telling you to stop being such a pain in the ass on this subject, despite “story fatigue” and all the other ways you can give yourself an out from doing work, that’s making an argument.

Or what we used to call journalism, back in the days when people did that sort of thing.


4 thoughts on “Setting The Agenda

  1. Sometimes I wonder if a single report, buried in the back pages, is worse than nothing at all, because it provides a veneer of cover to publishers, i.e., “see, we reported it.”
    Meanwhile, the front page is never ending barrage of GOP talking points…

  2. Well said, Athenae.
    I think, Michael, that it is. In fact, I wonder sometimes if it isn’t a deliberate CYA maneuver.

  3. But shouldn’t the credit go to the four men who appeared on Stewart’s program? Yes, he gave them a forum that they needed. But they are the one’s whose words and reality reached out to the people of this country, and set a stage that made a no vote almost impossible to survive for the R party.

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