Thursday, August 26, 2004

Press failures

Via Atrios from the Columbia Journalism Review:

[. . .]

There have been dozens of press failures during this presidential campaign. But this one, even given the Times' and the Post's belated efforts to get to the bottom of things, has to rank as a low point.

In the end, the whole ball of wax certainly did nothing to help the mainstream press' credibility with what is an increasingly dubious audience.

The most telling comment on that front may well have come from the unlikely duo of Jon Stewart and Ted Koppel, who shared a telecast during the Democratic convention. Koppel, by way of introducing his own viewers to Stewart, complained that "a lot of television viewers -- more, quite frankly, than I'm comfortable with" -- get their news from Stewart's "Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Stewart, almost as if trying to reassure Koppel, responded that his fans were watching him not for news per se, but rather for a "comedic interpretation" of the news. Koppel was unmoved. People watch Stewart "to be informed," Koppel insisted gloomily. "They actually think they're coming closer to the truth with your show."

With that, Stewart pounced. "Now that's a different thing, that's credibility; that's a different animal."

Yes, it is.

Go read the whole thing.

Problem is, the press is lazy, and they've been cowered by the VRWC slinging the 'liberal media bias' phrase around. They let themselves be marginalized, their credibility brought into question, and instead of standing up to it, the news media caved. Big time.

And another thought. The press is part of our national security in a way. The news media protects us (or is supposed to anyway) from threats to our system from within, such as the one who managed to slither under the door of the Oval Office in 2000. If Bush would have received the same press scrutiny Clinton and Monica's DNA received, he would have lost to Gore in a landslide.

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