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Friday, April 14, 2006

Distortion Is Their Credo

Blogs are very different from newspaper articles. I see blogs as fitting somewhere between the reports and the editorials, though much closer to the editorial side. I try to add some independent research to explain, support or refute the MSM article(s) I may be analyzing. I open myself up to similar analysis.

Think Tanker Mike Taylor provides this commentary regarding the MSM misrepresentation of a charitable gift made by T. Boone Pickens, the famous oil investor. (BTW Pickens told the world that oil prices would continue beyong $60 per barrel 6 months ago on Kudlow and Company. So he gave us a fair chance at risk and reward.)

From Mike:

Seems that I'm always confessing something to members of this blog.

In the past, I have confessed to being a Hoosier, a Hoosier basketball fan, an atheist and that I voted for John Anderson instead of Ronaldus Magnus the first time around.

I am deeply ashamed of that last one.

My latest revelation is that I was once a Journalism major at university.

Yes, yes my friends, it's true!

Although I never pursued a career in the communicative arts, I do remember my training. Part of being a journalist is "digging" for the story. A good journalist does not write an article based on a cursory examination of the facts because the last thing a paper (or TV station) wants to do is admit that it "got the story wrong" when subsequent facts conflict with the original story.

You can see how credibility, reliability and perserverance are desirable traits. These virtues are the bedrock of a good journalist. A good journalist talks to everyone at the scene of the crime, interviews investigators, asks probing questions and above all... TRIES to understand what really happened so that an accurate representation can be conveyed to the public.

"Never underestimate the intelligence of your readers and never overestimate their information" was a credo I heard repeated over and over.

Apparently, this philosophy is no longer necessary in big-time journalism. If it sounds good, run it. If it sounds especially damaging to wealthy Republicans, run it into the ground.

If you read this Bozell piece, (Character assassination, media-style) you can see that IF ONLY someone at the NY Times did a little follow up, IF ONLY someone at CNN asked a few questions, IF ONLY the news presenters at ABC looked for more facts... the story would have come out that the mean, old, filthy stinking rich Republican Texas Oilman actually did something incredibly generous for students at Oklahoma State University.

Lack of follow-up and follow-through aside... what's really sickening is that these news outlets have become just plain sloppy in the way they're doing their job.

They should be deeply ashamed of that last one.

-- MTT

I too was a journalism major. I did some radio news work early in my life before law school. It was practiced no differently then than now. However, now it cannot smugly avoid remonstrance. Neal

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