Fox News Ticker

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bad week for the mainstream media

It really has not been a good week for the mainstream media.

First, CNN host Rick Sanchez got himself fired for calling Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart a bigot on a radio interview and then compounded the problem by then implying that CNN and the media in general were run by the Jews.

Possibly not the most intelligent thing to say live on the air, but then Sanchez has always been noted more for his looks than his brains.

Like a lot of the TV talking heads he has a tendency to say stupid stuff, but hey, he sure looks good doing it!

I’ve been in the media most of my adult life and I’m here to tell you, there is no great conspiracy by anyone to run things. I kinda wish there were — maybe things would run a bit smoother.

Then a little later last week, one of CBS Radio’s top reporters, Howard Arenstein, was arrested with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell. Arenstein is such a bright bulb that he and his wife had mature, eight-foot pot plants growing in their back yard in Washington D.C.

That might have something to do with why various outlets are trying to say the “One Nation” rally on the mall in Washington Saturday had twice the participants of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally back in August. I’ve seen the pictures. You’d have to be smoking something in order to come to that conclusion. A good friend of mine analyzed photos from both rallies and came to the conclusion the “One Nation” rally had about 10 or 15 percent of the participants Beck did. Maybe.

Overall, the MSM has been melting down for years. It has reached the point the National Enquirer has a better record of accuracy than the New York Times.

If you doubt me, consider this — it was the Enquirer which broke the John Edwards affair story, the Tiger Woods story and the Al Gore affair story.

I have some issues with the nature of the stories the Enquirer runs, but I have to give them credit for having a top-notch investigative staff.

You would think, given all this the MSM would wake up and look around.

They’re losing top staff left and right to two places — new media outlets like the blogs — and, well, papers like this one.

I like to nose around job boards from time to time, not because I'm looking for a job, but just to see what’s out there and to check trends.

What I find is the action these days is in new media and community papers. Rarely, if ever, do you see openings at major metro papers.

It’s sad, really, when I was a young reporter I dreamed of someday finding my way to one of the big city newsrooms.

Now? I wouldn’t take one of those jobs if it was offered to me on a silver platter. Those big papers are dying.

What’s interesting, is that while small community papers face challenges of their own, they remain fairly trusted outlets for news and information.

We are far from perfect, of course, but generally small papers at least try to get it right. The majors? Not so much.

The New York Times was once the “Paper of Record” with “All the News that’s Fit to Print.”

Now? More like “All the News that’s Printed to Fit.”

Journalism is a noble profession. One which reporters in other countries have found themselves jailed or murdered for. War correspondents like Daniel Pearl put their lives on the line for no better reason than it’s their job and go to combat zones armed only with pen and camera.

Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues have forgotten what it is they are supposed to do. They’ve forgotten why we are called to be objective. To try to leave personal bias at the door. To try to find all sides to a story. Worse, many of them think they are objective, even as they spout talking points and fail to even consider there may be another point of view.

We’ve lost credibility — and it’s going to be very difficult to get back.

Perhaps that’s why people are increasingly turning to the blogosphere for their national news. Bloggers on the left and right have their biases, and they are obvious. However, they generally make no bones about which side they are on — and you know that going in.

If you read the Huffington Post you know you’re going to get a liberal slant — Breitbart a conservative one.

And perhaps that’s OK.

There was a time when you knew exactly what you were going to get from various papers in a town.

Perhaps the national media should stop pretending to an objectivity which does not exist. If they came out and admitted they are in the tank for the left or the right at least we would be able to evaluate their stories from that angle.

All IMHO, of course.

1 comment:

  1. Good column. I canceled my subscription to a 'big' city newspaper because I was tired of reading articles and opinion columns that would not have passed muster in my high school writing courses and the tortured attempts by reporters and editors to angle the news through an obviously biased lens.

    I like my small community rag because it has information I like to keep up on - community events, business, local (high school and small college) sports. Trouble is, getting it consistently. You'd think they'd be happy to have paying customers!