Carol Platt Liebau: The MSM <i>Should</i> Blush

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The MSM Should Blush

Here's a piece from The Washington Times titled "Media, Blushing, Takes a Second Look at Katrina."

A couple of thoughts to accompany the piece:

(1) If some other entity had so readily believed and publicized apparently inaccurate reports of murder and mayhem in a predominantly black city, wouldn't the press be using the "R" word ("racist")?

(2) Some deep thinkers in the old world media universe have raised the issue of whether a "blog's typically individualistic voice and unfiltered attitude place it outside the journalist's palette." Presumably that's because there is no "institutional voice" and no editors to "filter" the information and check for bias (as happens to such stellar journalistic effect at The New York Times or on CBS News).

If all that's true, one shudders to think of what newspapers would look like without all the filtering and mediation . . . . Because even with all the big-time accoutrements of editors, etc., there exist some fairly egregious lapses in what would seem to be elementary journalistic standards. See Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post ("The media have done a poor job of describing who was behind Saturday's big antiwar demo in D.C. . . .I wonder if the media would have resorted to such shorthand in covering a group as far to the right as ANSWER is to the left.").

Hmmm. With the ongoing behavior of the MSM, it's harder and harder to figure out just why we should presume that it is a more responsible and trustworthy souce of information than the multitude of well-written and intelligent blogs.


Blogger wile e coyote said...

The article overlooks the fact that a necessary precursor to blushing is a sense of shame.

9:26 AM  
Blogger HouseOfSin said...

This is not a defense of the MSM -- whom I will admit did report recklessly (substantially aided and abetted by that loser-mayor) -- but I respectfully encourage us to look at history.

Katrina was the equivalent of a mini-war -- loss of life, tremendous loss of property, much chaos and anarchy. Historically, reports coming out of events such as those are unreliable.

Moreover, Katrina's effect on N.O. really was unprecedented in US history, and certainly televised history.

I'm willing to cut the MSM some slack and chalk their false reports up to panic of the unknown.

Where I cut zero slack is their reliance on the mayor. Anyone who worked for me, who acted like that, would be fired immediately. I would dress him down for making the sensational and outrageous public statements that he made even if they were true. We now know of course that they were false. I would also dress him down for not having a plan to evacuate the poorest citizens.

I also cut zero slack to the MSM for at once assuming and demanding public deference when it has been clear before Katrina that it is not always owed.

But that said, if the media really isn't sure how bad things are, and they underreport the danger, and N.O. citizens prematurely return to the city and suffer a bad fate, and their return was based on underreported dangers -- wouldn't that be on the media as well? All things considered, I'd rather have a more gloomy report and be pleasantly surprised than the reverse. Maybe that's me.

So the MSM in my book gets a pass (for now) for panicking and overreacting and a fail for attitudes of owed deference. Mayor just flat-out fails.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be more willing to give them a pass if they at least acted in an intelligent manner. Every school child should know how our government works fom the bottom up not the top down. By the way aren't these the same group complaining about the Patriot Act? We need "truth in reporting" just as badley as we need "truth in advertizing"

12:01 PM  

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