The Free But Unfair Press
Freedom of the press is a first amendment right. We talked about it on the Morning News today. I spent 20+ years in TV News and another 20 on radio. I have deep feelings about the important role fair and balanced journalism needs to play in our society.
The founding fathers felt strongly about it too. In the late 1780's, when Thomas Jefferson was in Paris, he wrote
"The people are the only censors of their governors...the way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs through the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people."
Jefferson was assuming that the papers would be providing unbiased reporting. To borrow a line from FOX News "we report-you decide". That's not what's happening today and we are the worse for it for sure.
In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
It's the people, not political elites who are supposed call the shots. The Government works for the People and should only have the powers to which we consent. Does it seem to be working that way? Jefferson set us on the right path when he wrote:
"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and 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. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them."
Great thoughts, so how's it working out 240 years later?
Time magazine reported on an interview with Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University and co-editor of the recently released an anthology of essays on the First Amendment.
"In democracies, the idea is that sovereignty rests with the citizens. In order for that sovereignty to be exercised effectively, citizens have to be able to discuss things and do so freely without interference of the government. I think press freedom is intimately associated with that, and that’s very easy to understand if you start with that premise. The citizens can’t know everything they need to know about the government and you need institutions that are dedicated to trying to inform the people."
Sounds very Jeffersonian doesn't it But the " institutions that are dedicated to trying to inform the people" have blown it. They have dropped the ball on the fairness and thus relevance of their coverage. They have abdicated their role as watch dogs for all of the public to participate as ideological laps dogs and attack dogs for democrats.
I can't urge you enough to check out this article about media distrusts and bias. Here are some highlights.
A new poll released on Tuesday shows Americans have a growing distrust of the media, with an overwhelming majority saying,"the press have a political bias and nearly half saying news outlets display a "great deal" of bias"
How is it that average Americans have reached these extreme level conclusions about mistrust? Simple. They watched the news and they read the papers and this, from the Media Research Center(MRC), explains what they found when they did - The Most Biased Campaign Coverage In History.
A new MRC analysis of all evening news coverage of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in June and July found these networks chose to aim most of their attention and nearly all of their negative coverage on Trump, so Biden escaped any scrutiny of his left-wing policy positions, past job performance or character.
... ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts focused 512 minutes of airtime on the President, or nine times more than the 58 minutes allotted to Biden....The extra airtime devoted to Trump consisted almost entirely of anchors and reporters criticizing the President..... our analysts documented 668 evaluative statements about the President, 95 percent of which (634) were negative, vs. a mere five percent (34) that were positive. Using the same methodology, we found very few evaluative statements about Joe Biden — just a dozen, two-thirds of which (67%) were positive.
As Biden himself might say Come On Man! That's a load of Malarkey!!! Here's what author Rich Noyes concludes - "Do the math... viewers heard 150 TIMES more negative comments about Trump than Biden. That’s not news reporting — that’s a negative advertising campaign in action."
SO ratings and readership are as low as the lack of trust they engender and that carries a financial consequence. Unfortunately failing papers, budget cuts and layoffs are not enough consequence to get the media to change their self destructive ways-- but it is enough to get them to beg the government and the public for a financial bail out!
It's called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, introduced on July 16, is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Arizona, and Dan Newhouse, R-Washington. In brief, the legislation provides for tax credits for subscribing to a local newspaper, payroll credit for paying journalists who provide local news and credit for advertising in local newspapers and local media.
The "Journalism" community claims the Caronavirus pandemic is to blame for thei financial difficulties but their own journalistic malpractice is what has them in their current jeopardy.
This act responds to the insidious way the pandemic has deeply damaged American communities in a malevolent cycle. It forced the shuttering of many local businesses that stopped advertising in their local paper. Newspapers, which have seen their revenues plummet, responded by laying off the people who bring the news or dropping the days they publish. That threatens access to vital news by people in the community who themselves may be out of a job temporarily or permanently and can no longer afford newspaper subscriptions
COME ON MAN! Your sellout coverage to support progressive democrats and liberalism has cost you -- and now you should get tax breaks to insure your survival? That's a lot more than Malarkey and the Tax Policy Center agrees with me!
When it comes to getting news, the market is speaking—rather loudly. It wants blogs, web-based and cable news, and even direct access to government documents. (Read the bill!!) Increasingly, it doesn’t want daily newspapers, weekly news magazines, or local broadcast news.
There is no doubt that much of what consumers are getting is rubbish....(we should have) serious concerns about the effect of trash news on democracy. Opinion, lies, and comedy are not news, even though they masquerade as such these days
Why do you think half the Country doesn't see the bias? It's because its slanted their way!. The evidence is out there and easily found. Keep that in mind when you next pick up a paper of turn on the tube.