Monday, February 20, 2006

The Feedback Loop

I talk a lot about the feedback loop, the closed circuit of bullshit that people create to prevent the hard work of critical evaluation. The most powerful feedback loop in the country right now is of course the one running the country; conservatives dismiss objective reporting as "liberal bias" in favor of highly self-selected media that confirms for them the righteousness of their ways. If you want a sterling example of the feedback loop, look no further then this paragraph from a new MSNBC story on the e-mails generated during the Katrina fiasco. To think that this happened nine whole days after the hurricane hit:

By the following Tuesday, Sept. 6, the post-Katrina backlash was in full frenzy. Brown realized his job was in jeopardy. At 8:32 a.m., Clay Johnson III, a longtime Bush aide, e-mailed Brown. "What a great opportunity for every cheap-shot artist in the world to take a free swing at you and the president." Brown replied, "Yes ... And if [Bush] doesn't have confidence in me, which is understandable considering the circumstances, let me know. I will readily step aside." Johnson's reply: "I've not heard one person here disparage you [sic] work. I'll keep you informed."


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