Speaking of Miller, Armando's post on him, which led Atrios to award Miller "wanker of the day", seems wrongheaded to me. Armando flays Miller for being so faux-naive as to lament that Americans are no longer persuadable by facts without laying all blame on a spineless, whiny media. As evidence, he brings up Okrent, references Miller's tic of crucifying the Republicans and giving Democrats a token criticism for good measure, and so on.

To me, this all seems pretty wrongheaded. When, exactly, was the media a truth-seeking missile? When were they honest and wholly aware of policy specifics? And did we agree with them then? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that the media we desire wouldn't be much closer to a media we like. When the left, myself included, imagines this platonic press corps, I think they've got something like themselves in mind, a nationwide operation that'll point out the right's lies and inconsistencies and apply the cynical interpretation that Bush so richly deserves. But that wouldn't cover it.

Problem is, Truth isn't necessarily lying on a stone tablet somewhere, just waiting to be reported on by newly-credible journalists. The right still has a few honest denizens left, and while they're quick to criticize Bush, they're just as quick to disagree with us. That doesn't make us wrong, but it means that this media we're imagining is really going to have a tough job separating truth from, well, not truth. Dan Drezner really does think Bush contributed to democracy in the Middle East, Social Security really does have solvency issues a responsible government would solve but that we have to downplay because this is a malicious administration, Medicare really is a fiscal mess, this country really does need to either spend less or tax more and Republicans won't do the former and Democrats won't admit to the latter, NCLB really is a good bill plagued by bad administrators, etc.

So when liberals go on this tear, I'd like to see them paint a picture of a media that doesn't offend. Is it us? Is is a fairer O'Reilly? Is it Duncan with a TV show? What? And how will it be able to navigate between what we think to be the truth and what the right thinks to be the truth when Republicans rediscover honesty and begin arguing their case coherently?

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