Monday, November 15, 2004

Media Abdication

I think we have to understand that reporters, editors, and publishers have personal opinions and biases. They're human, after all, and it wouldn't be reasonable to expect them to be completely value-neutral in reporting the news, despite their claims to the contrary.

I suspect most people fall into two categories: Those who read (and watch) only media sources they agree with, and those who make an effort to get views from various sources. The latter approach is the only way to approximate getting balanced information and the only way to make individual rational decisions. Given the blatant bias evident recently in some of the mainstream media, it has become more important than ever to search for information that may run counter to your personal beliefs.

As quoted by Greg Pierce in the Washington Times:

"It is often said that the only sure winner in American politics is the media. Amid GOP victory parties or the ruined dreams of the Kerry candidacy, the one constant is that the media marches on," The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger writes.

"Maybe not this time. Big Media lost big. But it was more than a loss. It was an abdication of authority," Mr. Henninger said.

"Large media institutions, such as CBS or the New York Times, have been regarded as nothing if not authoritative. In the Information Age, authority is a priceless franchise. But it is this franchise that Big Media, incredibly, has just thrown away. It did so by choosing to go into overt opposition to one party's candidate, a sitting president. It stooped to conquer.

"The prominent case studies here are Dan Rather's failed National Guard story on CBS and the front page the past year of the New York Times (a proxy for many large dailies). Add in as well Big Media's handling of Abu Ghraib, a real story that got blown into a monthlong bonfire that obviously was intended to burn down the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. I think many people thought the over-the-top Abu Ghraib coverage, amid a war, was the media shouting fire in a crowded theater."


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