Thursday, August 04, 2005

Why my profession is in deep doo-doo

And no, I'm not referring to the Robert Novak meltdown today, though that shows in a nutshell why cable "news" is a vast wasteland.

I'm referring to an NYT piece by Richard Posner explaining what's wrong with the media today. He stumbles in a couple of areas -- The Wall Street Journal, editorial page aside, isn't really "conservative," and he's wrong in saying that CNN is somehow more "liberal" today than it was. The latter claim is getting ripped in blogs such as DC Media Girl (one of the rare bloggers I know and like in real life), where I left the following comment:

One problem with the blogosphere and the general media climate today NOT mentioned by Posner is that bloggers usually focus on some minute part of a story in an effort to discredit the whole thing. (Case in point: OK, the 60 Minutes thing was shoddily reported; therefore, the entire question of Bush’s service or non-service disappeared.) So in an effort to counter this, I’ll focus on three things Posner got exactly right:

1. "Journalists minimize offense, preserve an aura of objectivity and cater to the popular taste for conflict and contests by - in the name of ’’balance’’ - reporting both sides of an issue, even when there aren’t two sides."

2. "The legitimate gripe of the conventional media is not that bloggers undermine the overall accuracy of news reporting, but that they are free riders who may in the long run undermine the ability of the conventional media to finance the very reporting on which bloggers depend."

3. "Another is that competition by the blogs, as well as by the other new media, has pushed the established media to get their stories out faster, which has placed pressure on them to cut corners. So while the blogosphere is a marvelous system for prompt error correction, it is not clear whether its net effect is to reduce the amount of error in the media as a whole."

Well said.

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