Recently on the “O’Reilly Factor”, Bernard Goldberg used an interesting phrase for what is going on in the media today: he called it “Media Activism.”
The big problem, of course, is that “activism” is the exact opposite of what journalists should be doing.
Back in the day, fledgling journalists were taught to report the “5 Ws”: Who, what, why, where, and when. (“How” was apparently optional at that time.) Now they are taught that it is the job of a journalist to “change the world” or to “make a difference” or something else equally silly. But what this actually means is that the new journalist does not believe in actually reporting events but rather in influencing them.
In other words, activism.
That’s just the “news” side of the house. On the editorial or “op-ed” side we see a slightly different phenomenon. Because the editorial staffs, including those who select new writers, are overwhelmingly leftists, they select writers who tend to agree with them philosophically…even when they’re selecting a “conservative” viewpoint. So we end up with a David Brooks (the token “conservative” at the New York Times)—who is not really a conservative at all. You can count the number of actual conservatives that write regular op-eds for the major media on one hand: Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and Cal Thomas are the only ones that leap to my mind. (My apologies if I have forgotten anyone.)
Instead, representing a purportedly conservative viewpoint, we have to read RINO drivel like that from Brooks, who told us that Obama would be a good President because Brooks liked the crease in his pants. (I assume and hope that he actually meant trousers…)
The problem with the whole “media activism” thing is that it is costing media outlets dearly. Most importantly, as I pointed out in my last media bias post, it’s losing them revenue as conservative readers flock to outlets that are friendlier to their ideas. But, as Mr. Goldberg points out, it’s also costing them in another way: “There’s a price the media pays for this kind of thing…with their most valuable commodity, their credibility.”
And that is really the point. Who can possibly take a journalist seriously who, like Dan Rather, twists the presentation of news based on his own ideology? (For those who may not remember, Mr. Rather rushed a story to air that alleged that George W. Bush had shirked his duties while in the Texas Air National Guard. But it turned out that the documents on which the story was based were forged. As far as I know, Mr. Rather has still not acknowledged that the documents were forged. Such is his hatred for former President Bush.)
As I said in a previous post, I also would not favor journalism biased in the opposite way.
A 2010 Rasmussen poll found that two thirds of American voters are at least somewhat angry at the media, including one third who said that they are “very angry.” As Brent Bozell, the chairman of the conservative Media Research Center said about the study: “The liberal media lost touch with the public and fair reporting long ago, and Americans are sick of their lavish praise for a President that is leading our country and economy into a disastrous state. The American people are abandoning the old media by the millions because they are simply fed up.”
The part that astonishes me is that the “old media” seem to be willing to watch their businesses go down the tubes rather than treat their customers fairly. On the other hand, perhaps it should not surprise me, since that would be totally consistent with their anti-capitalist views.