Now, if placement rates were low, then we would at least have some information about how often J-school grads get turned down, but the data here is just not sufficient to support any conclusions.
Journalism school acceptance rates are not going to tell you anything interesting about what sort of journalists rise to the top of major media outlets in the US.
The argument you offer is entirely speculative; there’s no evidence to support it.
No, it’s not speculative. Manufacturing Consent presents a series of case studies and meticulously documents their handling in the US media. There is more than ample evidence for the Propaganda Model. Matt Taibbi (a fantastic journalist in his own right) is working on a spiritual sequel which updates the analysis for 21st century media.
I’ll counter Mr. Chomsky’s speculation with one of my own. Let’s speculate on the kind of person who would be motivated to enter journalism school. I would speculate that the people attracted to that kind of career are motivated by a desire to right the injustices of the world, to fight truth to power. This speculation suggests that journalism school students are probably more leftist in their attitudes than the average American.
Sure, that might be the case. Chomsky would probably even agree with this. Chomsky even mentions in that interview he is close friends with crusading investigative journalists doing important work. The point is that these bright-eyed journalists are confronted with the reality of what sort of journalism is acceptable to the interests of owners and sponsors of media enterprise, and those that conform to that narrative succeed.
I’ll also point out that conservatives have long complained of “the liberal media”, so they’re pushing a conspiracy theory, only it’s the opposite of what you’re pushing. A Martian trying to make sense of this would probably poll lots of people and come to the conclusion that more conservatives than progressives complain about bias in the media, ergo the media is probably more biased towards the left.
No, it’s not the ‘opposite’ of Chomsky’s thesis. It’s not even related. Conservatives have no analysis of the structural incentives and constraints of mass media. Their position is “the media does not confirm my pre-existing beliefs and therefore the media has a liberal bias”. Chomsky and Herman provide a robust description of the history of media in the US and the effects of major changes in the mode of ownership and production of media, particularly in the 19th and 20th century. That’s in addition to the series of case studies laid out in the work.
I would prefer if you actually read the text before making off-hand critiques based on what you ‘think’ Chomsky and Herman are saying so all of these misconceptions could be avoided.