Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Friday, February 03, 2006

Media Fixated With the Iraq Newspaper Story

There was another story tonight on CBS News about the military paying for news coverage in Iraq. The reporter, whose name I don't remember, acted the questioning father role as he questioned a dignified officer about whether this amounted to "planting" stories. As I've written before, this is just a case of the media giving undue weight to an issue that is close to them. It shows they gravitate towards the issues they understand most and treat them with too much coverage.

On the same broadcast, ironically, CBS News ran a report about how the media is changing. They quoted stats from a NY Times/CBS poll in a way that made them sound positive. They even seemed to believe that the fact two out of three people said the media are accurate was a good thing. Can you imagine any other profession that got things right only two out of three times?

Then Helen Thomas was interviewed and said a "problem" is everyone who has a computer thinks they're a journalist. I'm not so sure that is a bad thing. At least now those who know something about something besides journalism can have a voice and help us analyze and understand the events of the world. Perhaps Ms. Thomas was saying it was a bad thing for the profession. That may be true, but whether it's bad for the public is yet to be seen. It's quite strange how journalists love free speech only when it serves them well.

We have great journalists out there, but they do not have a monopoly on telling stories. Putting a printing press into the hands of millions of intelligent people who have specific knowledge about topics of expertise much deeper than journalists is not a "problem," as Helen Thomas describes it.


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