Monday, May 16, 2005

Media Meltdown

In the shadow of the Newsweek debacle, two stories highlight the mainstream media meltdown.

The first finds a growing discrepancy between what the public thinks and what journalists think:

Six in ten among the public feel the media show bias in reporting the news, and 22% say the government should be allowed to censor the press. More than 7 in 10 journalists believe the media does a good or excellent job on accuracy -- but only 4 in 10 among the public feel that way. And a solid 53% of the public thinks stories with unnamed sources should not be published at all.

Read it all; then read about NPR, who is upset that they could be monitored for bias.

Is anyone else out sick of NPR? After 40 years of listening, I have monitored its descent into a reprehensible mouthpiece for the academic Left. I can barely stand to listen to the holier-than-thou reporters on the news shows, and find myself continually outraged at the relentless harping on their political agenda. Not to mention the tacit assumptions they make about the orientation of their listeners--both in the type of stories they cover; and the pathetic manner in which they cover them. I used to think their might be a role for such programming and even supported it in the past. Not any more.

Glenn Reynolds gets it exactly right in his MSNBC column:

In light of these events, people may be forgiven for doubting the patriotism of many folks in Big Media. And there's evidence that they should. In his book Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy, James Fallows describes an episode of PBS's program, "Ethics in America," in which host Charles Ogletree asked leading journalists if they would allow American troops to be killed in order to get a story. CBS correspondent Mike Wallace said yes, he'd go for the story, and denied any ethical conflict: "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!" After some hemming and hawing, Peter Jennings agreed. Should American reporters worry about the death of American troops? No -- their only loyalty is to the story.

This seems to be the spirit that's alive at Newsweek, with the added caveat that it doesn't even matter that much if the story is true. And with this kind of pattern established, journalists shouldn't be surprised that so many Americans are questioning their patriotism -- to the extent that they feel there's any question left.

What is so amazing to me is that the journalists in the MSM seem completely unaware of how appalling their priorities are to other Americans. Don't they understand that by "not worrying about American troops" and only having a loyalty "to the story" (as Jennings and Wallace stated above) that they have already established a bias toward those who would kill American troops? And what do you suppose will happen if truth gets in the way of "the story"?

So far, first at CBS and now at Newsweek, we have seen which priority will be chosen and which will be sacrificed with this philosophy.

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