Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Don't Question the Media

I sent the following letter to the Seattle Times. I doubt they will run it, but we will see.

After reading William Raspberry’s column “Fox News Channel: journalism as battlefield”, I am just stunned at what modern journalism has become. Apparently Fox’s greatest sin is not whether it reports the news factually or not, but that it may cause people to question and criticize the news that they watch and read. Raspberry is concerned that because of Fox, readers can no longer trust the New York Times without question. Funny, I thought Jayson Blair was more responsible for that. Wasn’t there a time when a critical analysis of information sources was considered a good thing? Now apparently it is a threat to the mainstream media.

The column to which I am responding follows.


So why would I consider Fox such a generalized threat? It is because I think the plan is not so much to persuade the public that its particular view is correct but rather to sell the notion that what Fox News Channel presents is just another set of biases, no worse (and for some, a good deal better) than the biases that routinely drive the presentation of the news on ABC, CBS or NBC — and, by extension, the major newspapers.

For the Foxidation process to work, it isn't necessary to convince Americans that the verbal ruffians who give FNC its crackle have a corner on the truth — only that all of us in the news business are grinding our partisan axes all the time and that none of us deserves to be taken as serious seekers of truth.

This is huge. As a friend remarked recently, time was when if you found it in The New York Times, that settled the bar bet and the other guy paid off. But if The Times and The Washington Post or any other mainstream news outlet — including the major networks — come to be seen as the left-of-center counterparts of Fox News Channel, why would anyone accept them as authoritative sources of truth?

No comments: