It’s important for journalists to set their biases aside, but as media mogul Ted Turner showed recently, it’s possible to take it too far. More outlets need to realize they are in a capitalist competition for an audience — and that criticizing broadcasters’ use of American flag backdrops, or saying you yourself can’t make up your mind as to who should win the War on Terror (which goes beyond saying that media coverage shouldn’t take sides) will hurt them in this competition.
Notions like these aren’t restricted to upper-echelon media billionaires. In a journalism class I took, a professor-reporter who’d covered poverty said something to the effect that “we need to say, listen, John Q. Public, this is what we’re covering, and if you don’t like it, tough.” This readers-don’t-deserve-respect attitude is far too prevalent among journalists everywhere, and it will only hasten the demise of mainstream journalism as we know it.
Robert VerBruggen blogs at http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com.