Sunday, January 02, 2005

You Think WE Distrust the Media?? 

So as we have our ongoing discussion of The Media, who to trust and who not to, and what to call each in our reflexive acronymic style, it is worth looking at what the Forces of Darkness have to say on the matter. The invaluable s.z. posted the following a few days ago, and how can you not trust something that comes from a place called....

(via World O' Crap)
Also annoying today is Hugh Hewitt, who is now the world's foremost expert on blogging (because he wrote a book, Blog, which says that he is). Today he's blogging about how the mainstream media has lost the public's (i.e, Hugh's and some of his blogger friends') trust, due to the fact that Hugh and his friends know more about kerning (and Jesus' hatred of Democrats) than the so-called "real journalists" do. So, to start earning that trust back, journalists need to appear before the Blog Unamerican Activities Committee and answer some questions.

Everyone brings baggage to the reporting of the news. Some of us lay that background out for the world to see --most reporters don't. A sure sign of something to hide is the hiding of something, and the unwillingness of MSM to tell us about their staffs is a giveaway that the lack of intellectual diversity in the newsroom is a scandal.

What questions would I like answered? Very simple ones: For whom did the reporter vote for president in the past five elections? Do they attend church regularly and if so, in which denomination? Do they believe that the late-term abortion procedure known as partial birth abortion should be legal? Do they believe same sex marriage ought to be legal? Did they support the invasion of Iraq? Do they support drilling in ANWR?

If I know the answers to those ten questions, I can quickly decide what degree of trust with which to approach a reporter's reporting. ?
Um, not to quibble with a blogging expert, but isn't that eleven questions?
Even "low trust" reporters can earn trust, of course, but degrees of suspicion are a fact of life. Only MSM pretends otherwise, and bloggers have exposed that pretension as the fiction it really is, even if most of MSM want to continue the charade.
Before I know how far I can trust Hugh, I will need the answers to the following ten questions:

How many times has he noted it when InstanPundit got something wrong? How many links to reviews that were critical of his books has he posted? Has he ever subjected a story put out by the Bush White House to the same scrutiny as he did to the Wash Post one about Intelligent Design? How come his bio doesn't indicate who he voted for in the last 5 presidential elections? As a devout Christian, isn't he troubled by the racism of Little Green Footballs? If not, why not? Is so, why does he link to it? What is his full name? What is his quest? What is the air speed velocity of a sparrow? And when did he quit beating James Lileks?

Like I said, once I have Hugh's answers to the above questions, I will quickly decide what degree of trust with which to approach his writing. Until then, I will consider him to be only slightly more trustworthy than Ann Coulter, and not nearly as manly.
Okay, we now throw the story back to Xan in the Corrente Studio. Having thrown a few random thoughts into comment threads on earlier posts, most of which constituted idle mental noodling, I am now willing to make a more thought-out declaration on the subject.

I want to know if a reporter belongs to the News Media or the Message Media. That's what it comes down to. Do they write in such a way to make clear the motives of the sources they're quoting? How do they handle a "he said, he said" situation?

While this Hewitt person is obviously a twit, out to institute a Journalism Taliban, the questions of individual probity for journalists are just one of the subjects in our debate here. The subject of media ownership, concentration, and interlocking with other corporate interests---not to mention governmental intervention a la the FCC-- is another thing entirely, but let's keep this post to a workable length.

Oh--and if this Hewitt uses the term "MSM," this guarantees it will never pass my typing fingers again. He and his ilk are out to convince the public that ALL media is "biased" and not to be trusted, because after all one bias is just as bad as another. We want to improve the standards, he wants to destroy them.

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