Thursday, October 30, 2008

Journalism No More

Posted by Teresa at 12:17 PM
Newspaper ad revenues are plummeting. Television news stations are having
to cut their resources dramatically. New technologies are making way for "citizen
journalism." The mainstream news media is grasping on to what little credibility
they have left. One would think it be in their best interest to be extra cautious in
order to save what's left of their credibility and inevitably their audience. But that
premise is wrong.

Instead this election year they've thrown caution to the wind and have been a cheer
leader for Barack Obama. They've gotten a tingle up their leg. They've hired a
photographer who smeared Sen. McCain. They've sent their hounds to Alaska to
investigate every bit of Gov. Palin's history but refuse to put the same resources into
looking into Barack Obama's legislative history in the Illinois State Senate. They've
scrutinized "Joe the Plumber" but they can't even use Google to find out if the people
asking questions at a Republican debate are avid supporters of Democrats. The public
editor of the New York Times admitted it was a mistake for them to run a poorly
sourced article about McCain and a lobbyist. They've trolled around Facebook to get
dirt on Cindy McCain. The L.A. Times has refused to release tapes that might be
detrimental to Barack Obama.

I ask you this my liberals friends: What if the shoe was in the other foot and your
political party was the one being scrutinized with such aggressiveness by the
mainstream media while mistakes on the other side of the aisle were being
shielded? Would you wouldn't so easily dismiss the bias claims?

However, the most egregious error committed by the mainstream media recently
is not political at all. They were incredibly slow in reporting in progress in Iraq. As
soon as causalities went down they left. If you are going to continually report the
bad then why not the good? If a news organizations' political reporting is lackluster
then it should be able to survive. However, when the war reporting of a news
organization is lacking then I think it's safe to say it's an utter disaster. I don't
think anyone could seriously claim that they are satisfied with the way Iraq and
Afghanistan have been covered by American media. And our news outlets can't
excuse themselves by say 'the American people don't want to hear about Iraq
anymore." From a study from last year:

While public interest in the Iraq war has declined since the beginning of
the year, a growing number of Americans say news organizations are
devoting too little, rather than too much, coverage to the war. A third
of Americans say news organizations are undercovering the war, a
10-point increase since June (23%). In particular, the public
that the challenges and experiences of U.S. soldiers
both while serving
in Iraq and after returning to the United
States are receiving too little
news coverage.

Obviously, there are stories still to tell in Iraq and Afghanistan but it hardly makes
it on the evening news.

I'm a firm believer that journalism is a public service. News organizations
serve the public by reporting current events and important information. They are
not suppose to serve their political ideology. They are suppose to prioritize news
stories and allocate resources accordingly.

Our current news media is embarrassing and extremely superficial. While conservatives
might complain about political reporting being biased, it's not the only problem that exists
within mainstream American journalism. Big news outlets are losing their power
with the onset of new media and I think we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief. It's
about time!
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