Peter Kann, chairman of Dow Jones, has pinned an excellent commentary on The Media Is In Need of Some Mending. While he says “Some”, I believe the appropriate word is more along the lines of “Dire”. Read the whole thing.
You’ll be relieved to know that [Thomas] Jefferson did remain true to his primary principle: “The press,” he concluded, “is an evil for which there is no remedy. Liberty depends upon freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.” He was right then, and we are right now, to prefer a free press, however flawed, to any controlled alternative. Still, as we watched CNN flashing its pre-election logos each day — “Broken Borders,” “Broken Government,” “Broken Politics,” Broken Everything — I can’t help thinking the media, too, is in need of some mending.
He goes on to list 10 current media trends that should disturb anyone’s sensibilities:
- The blurring of the lines between journalism and entertainment.
- The blurring of lines between news and opinion.
- The blending of news and advertising, sponsorships or other commercial relationships.
- The problems and pitfalls inherent in pack journalism.
- The issue of conflict and context.
- The exaggerated tendency toward pessimism.
- The growing media fascination with the bizarre, the perverse and the pathological — John Mark Karr journalism.
- Social orthodoxy, or political correctness.
- The media’s short attention span.
- The matter of power.
At its best news informs and enlightens the citizens of a free society and thereby safeguards and strengthens our democracy. At its worst — dishonest, unfair, irresponsible — the media has potential to erode the public trust on which its own success depends and to corrode the democratic system of which it is so indispensably a part.
I wonder if anyone at AP will bother to read it. The Anchoress’ excellent round-up has all the links fit to print on APGate’s “Dammit, it’s right because we said so”…
Finally, the AP is still insisting that its “six men burned alive, four mosques torched” story is true, – just because they say it is, dammit, even though no one can be found to substantiate it. Confederate Yankee notes that most bloggers on the left seem okay with the press going “Truthy” as long as it’s a truthiness they like. Dangerous game, that. Grow a monster like that, and eventually it is gonna bite you, too. CY and Flopping Aces are responding to the AP an organization which is taking umbrage at daring to be questioned by mere bloggers, but still not willing to look too deeply into its own sources. MIchelle Malkin has a good roundup on that story. And more here. Doug Ross has some fun at the press’ expense, too.
Thomas Jefferson once described the press this way (after seven years of severe criticism): “I deplore the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed, and the malignity, the vulgarity and the mendacious spirit of those who write them.”
Seems nothing much has changed.