Posted by Rob on 27 April, 2006 at 7:48 pm. 1 comment.


By Robert Farrow

Jefferson said was that “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Jefferson might be disappointed, for it appears the former is more likely. For journalism as an unbiased, professional institution is already dead. The noble profession of journalism has been replaced by arrogant liberal editorialists more concerned with political spin then facts. And because of this the institution has suffered in prestige and profits. The Philadelphia Enquirer points out that?

Paperless news is doing just fine Newspapers are dying. This isn?t an ideological statement or a heartfelt wish, just a simple observation. Horse-drawn carriages yielded to cars, and steamships and ocean liners yielded to airplanes. Consumers prefer efficiency, and the market cannot be denied.

The news business, on the other hand, has never been healthier. At one level, everything is just text, to quote blogger and newspaper columnist James Lileks. Whether written or spoken, it is all just text. A lot of that text, though not nearly as much as a decade ago, still appears in the print of a newspaper. But in the last two decades, much, much more of that text was spoken over the airwaves of talk radio and cable news.
In the last half-dozen years, a huge portion of that text was made available exclusively over the Internet, much of it via the online editions of newspapers, but far more via the more than 25 million blogs that have sprung up since 1999.

So how does the media responding to this decline? By denying any bias and attacking the new media. Newsbusters quoted a counterattack by one of the queens of bias, the NYT, which by now has all the integrity of used car sales.

MSM on Bloggers: They Just Don?t Get It

New York Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson gave a lecture last week called ?The Future of the New York Times.? In it she drops this bomb:

She distinguished the Times from many bloggers, saying, ?We believe in a journalism of verification rather than assertion.?

Oh really, do you? Would that be anything like the verification done on Jayson Blair when he fabricated his own fabrications while the Times socially promoted him up through the ranks based on skin color? Or would that be like the verification done in the attribution of Rick Bragg?s bylines? Or perhaps she?s talking about the verification done on Nik Cohn?s fabrications. Because I?m sure she?s not talking about Michael Finkel?s fabrications or A.J. Lieblings fabrications, or even when Jesse McKinley accepted a $50,000 ?Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? makeover. Maybe she?s talking about the verification done on Bernard Weinraub?s plagiarism, I just don?t know.

Or the verification done by CBS on Rather-Gate, for that matter. And just to further illustrate the death of journalism, Newsbusters also poster an article stating that on Fox News Sunday, liberal commentator and NPR correspondent Juan Williams praised fired CIA officer Mary McCarthy, claiming that what she did was an ?an act of honor.?

And what is the result of this bias? Well, as already stated, the profession as a whole has had a tremendous drop in integrity. Second, it has allowed the growth of alternative media , such as cable, talk radio, and the internet. Sadly, it appears the old media seems quite unwilling to reform itself in the face of these challenges. Even worse, in some cases their bias and spin has not only endangered their profession, but has crossed the lines to treason.

The Winds of Change points out that years ago there was an excellent PBS series, “The Constitution, That Delicate Balance”, in which public figures debated constitutional issues based on hypothetical situations. On one of the shows, Peter Jennings was given a hypothetical situation where he was accompanying US troops in wartime, and he received information that an enemy force was about to attack. Should he warn the US troops? Jennings said that he would.

Mike Wallace then lectured Jennings, telling him that he’d just thrown all of his “objectivity” and “journalistic credibility” out of the window. An honest journalist never interferes in the events he is covering, and he sets aside all of his personal and national feelings. Jennings was totally cowed by this and reversed himself. However, it gets worse. Random Probabilities reports that:

last week the U.S. military wounded a CBS credentialed photographer in Mosul. The initial statements by the military said that troops mistook his video camcorder for a shoulder-based weapon. A flurry of criticism ensued, including demands by Reporters Without Borders for a major investigation. Late on Friday, after WoC’s Good News Saturday began, I read a new info release from the command in Iraq. The cameraman is being held as a security risk.

Officials reported today multinational forces detained an individual who was injured April 6 when coalition forces returned fire after receiving enemy small-arms fire.

The detained individual was carrying press credentials from CBS News and was standing next to an armed insurgent who was killed during the firefight.

The U.S. military is conducting an investigation into the detained individual?s previous activities as well as his alleged support of anti-Iraqi government activities.

?There is probable cause to believe that (the detainee) poses an imperative threat to coalition forces,? a U.S. military statement said. ?He is currently detained ? and will be processed as any other security detainee.?

CNN reports some of the evidence that links the CBS stringer in Mosul to the insurgency:

U.S. military officials said the man?s camera held footage of a number of roadside bomb attacks against American troops, and they believe he was tipped off to those attacks?

One official said at least four videos in the man?s camera show roadside bomb attacks on U.S. troops. All had been shot in a manner that suggested the cameraman had prior knowledge of the attacks and had scouted a shooting location in sight of the target.

And just how did CBS come to credential this man? They are now suggesting it isn?t really THEIR fault:
In a written statement, the network said the man was referred to the network by a ?fixer? in Tikrit ?who has had a trusted relationship with CBS News for two years.?

Let?s see ? two years ago ? that would be right about the time the Coalition entered Iraq. How ?. convenient.

Situations like this are few and far between. What happens more often is the media ignoring the threat enemies of this country pose to our security. Notice the utter silence our media has for all the abuses, especially of women, under Islam. The media is less quiet regarding any criticism of our troops, or our country, or of Christianity. How does this not empower terrorists?

And now they have given a Pulitzer prizes for treason to a ?journalist? for leaking secret CIA programs.Truthfully it is more then just bias that is causing their decline, Consumers want instant access to information and no longer want to wait for the daily newspaper. And now there is a variety of choices, and individuals are growing increasingly diversified need no longer only settle for one viewpoint. But it cannot be denied that bias is the major contributor to the decline of a once noble profession.

Gone are the days of Ernie Pyle. And those days will probably never return. But the old media will survive, but will never again be dominant as it once was. For this they have only themselves to blame. Perhaps the final irony that those most dependant on the right of free speech seem to be those least willing to defend it. The press, liberal groups, women?s groups, gay rights groups, the groups that would suffer most seem to be in a race to roll over first in front of the enemy.

Such is the decline of a noble profession.

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