March 28th, 2015
The Special Interest Group Who Writes Your Daily Newspaper
Imagine if a special interest group controlled the news, particularly the news that was about the issues near and dear to them and their lobbying interests. Imagine if only the NRA wrote all the stories having to do with guns, or if only Planned Parenthood had a say in stories about abortion and choice, or if every story about the NFL had to be written, vetted and approved by the NFL’s management?
We face this situation in the real world all the time with journalists and issues affecting the news media. It isn’t that I don’t believe that the story of the Department of Justice investigating leaks isn’t important or worth coverage. But the media has focused on the story with all the intensity of a life and death struggle for the future of the free press (it isn’t) often giving other, more important stories the short shrift. In the daily White House briefing, Jay Carney is peppered with questions about James Rosen, Fox News, hysteria about wiretaps and the like because this is an issue that directly affects the press class.
By comparison, for instance, how much of the mainstream reporting around sequestration’s effects has been as pronounced? The exception was probably the hullabaloo over air travel, not coincidentally another set of circumstances that did directly affect journalists.
Combine this with the obsession among political journalists for “centrist” solutions that neither party nor the movements surrounding those parties is remotely interested in. For the journalism crowd who will likely never feel the effect of those cuts in the social safety net they often push for in order to achieve “balance” with some small concession to the progressive economic view, there’s no downside. They have no skin in the game, not really, so unlike harrumphing about an investigation into the leak of classified material, they feel justified.
It would be great if journalists could report as if they live in the real world. They could report on how policy affects actual people, and not just be intense when their own special interest group is affected.
And pigs could fly.
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March 28th, 2015