It seems the more advanced media becomes the more it regresses. With internet and blog sites, citizens are presenting the news and doing a pretty good job of it. At the same time newspapers and network news are downsizing. As jobs like copy boy and typesetter have gone to the wayside, can we soon expect journalists to follow? Seems the more I read and listen to media sources the more I come to realize they are nothing more than partisan arms of one of two already long armed political parties. Sure network news had its slant but I'm convinced more each day the stories are planned to sway a reader or listener to the sources a particular political point of view.
Just an easy comparison of two grass movements sheds light on my critique, the TEA Party Movement and the Coffee Party Movement. As I watch the tweets pass and the blogs roll I see more stories related to the TEA Party, a grass roots movement of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people showing up in the internet and on television news media each day. Looking back on their beginnings there was little to no press coverage or news coverage of the TEA Party outside of Fox Cable News. Now, nearly 2 years after its start, and its ability to actually make a real difference in politics; I find more and more information about the TEA Party movement in the media.
Recently an opponent to the TEA Party Movement the Coffee Party Movement, a like group of liberal activists has sprung up portraying the progressive retort to the TEA Party Movement. While still in its early beginnings a number of newspapers have been running stories about the group. Recently CNN had an interview with the founder of the Coffee Party Movement Annabel Parks. This seemed innocent enough other than it took CNN quite a bit longer than a few weeks to run a story on the TEA Party. Then after reading more about Annabel, it turns out that CNN failed to make mention during the 10 minute spot that Annabel Parks was also a volunteer and campaign organizer for the Obama campaign; she was also employed by the New York Times as a strategy analyst. So it would appear that Miss Parks is using her experience for more than just a simple bipartisan grass roots movement as she indicated. CNN failed to mention any of that during the interview.
Recently I read a Raleigh newspaper which I don't do very often since the internet offers me a variety of opinions and stories. While I glanced over the letters to the editor section I couldn't help but notice a prevailing pattern, most of the letters were expressing the opinion that the paper was very liberal in their portrayal of political stories. While certainly every newspaper and network newscast has a producer and editor that controls their content, but from a business perspective it would seem that the people reading or listening to the publication want the ability to form their own opinion. I guess back in the days of copy boys and typesetters they actually had producers and editors that tried to present a story as the truth first and the bias second. If you don't remember that was the day when everyone on your street got home delivery of the paper and you had to adjust the rabbit ears on your TV to change the channel. There was no internet or blogs, reporters were there to get a scoop not a slant and editors did their best to provide news worthy stories rather than the ones they wanted people to know.
Perhaps we've lost more than just copy boys and typesetters, perhaps we've just created a couple of partisan divides in a business where they really don't belong. So maybe it really isn't the internet killing newspapers or cable news killing network news after all.
March 9, 2010