Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Journalism Is Hard

We all know that Faux News has it easy. All they do is check their fax machines every morning for the GOP Daily Talking Points. Oh, and I suppose they also like to spice it up a bit with whatever white girl is either missing or dead that day (funny how the media never get up in arms about missing black or Latina girls, isn't it?).

But what's the rest of the media world's excuse? I read a quote by a journalist the other day stating that her job was to not have her own thoughts, but rather to convey each side's arguments to her readers. Huh?? Excuse me, but I thought journalism, be it print or broadcast, was about something bigger than that- namely TRUTH.

By her tortured "logic", a story about the earth ought to present the arguments of the folks over at the Flat Earth Society, as well as the normal folks who realize the earth is round. I guess this explains why we keep getting equal presentations of intelligent design and evolution. There is a scientific consensus about evolution. So shouldn't responsible journalists point that out?

The same thing can be said for any other policy debate. Today's journalists contort themselves so much to appear "unbiased", lest they endure complaints to the FCC or frothing protests from the wingnuts. Obviously journalists are not expert in every area they may have to cover. Yet, instead of seeking out independent analysis, they turn to flaks for each side of the story. For an education piece, they will get some Bush administration talking head and then counter it with the flak from NEA or AFT. But, there are any number of education policy professors out there who are far more qualified to discuss the topic. Maybe the media is simply lazy.

And, please, don't bother with that tired old canard about the "liberal" media. The media, print and broadcast, are owned by huge multinational corporations. Journalism is, now more than ever, a business. And we all know who controls the strings. During the Clinton administration, the media pounced all over any alleged scandal. Yet, where is the media now when we have no bid contracts going to the Vice President's old firm? Where are the journalists detailing administration lies about WMD? Why does 60 Minutes air an interview with Louis Freeh, in which he criticizes Clinton, without any rebuttal from the Clinton camp when in a similar situation of a book critical of Bush they allowed the Undersecretary of State to appear and rebut the entire book?

Right now, there are about two people in the major media that cover the news with anything resembling objectivity- Jack Cafferty at CNN and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC. The rest bend over backwards, put their heads in the sand (or someplace else) or do whatever else is necessary to avoid truthfully reporting the news. Heck, we even have journalists who knowingly help to expose CIA operatives in order to discredit an administration critic. Good going guys!! I am sure that Edward R. Murrow and Joseph Pulitzer are very proud.


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