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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Interesting Question

SC&A asks his readers the following question:
If public officials are subject to scrutiny because they are in a position to influence public policy, then why aren't journalists subject to the same scrutiny? They too, are in a powerful position to influence the public and public opinion. Should not they too, be subject to the same scrutiny as others that can have so much influence?
At first I thought it was silly, but then on second thought I decided it wasn't. Probably politicians crave the type of attention and exposure that editors and newsreaders have. There is one difference, which is that politicians directly affect laws. But do the top media types have less effect on our society? SC&A follows up with this post.

The only answer I can come up with is that it is speech, after all, and the market and the public decide by not viewing, reading or revenging themselves with millions of blogs. Still, the TV and print press do control the agenda, and they often control politicians by controlling a particular politician's coverage. If you look at the Katrina coverage, I think they have affected matters a lot by not reporting about all the communities wiped out by the storm.

They keep pushing the idea that it was only poor black people in NO who were affected. Has this diminished relief efforts for these other communities along the Gulf Coast? I don't know. But I do know that the political pressure isn't there on their behalf.

Clearly, the media have a profound impact on influencing society. As we have noted, the vicious back and forth between CNN and Fox News, for example, exists purely because of the influence each is perceived- and realistically- exerts.

If the question were about media impact on culture, we would not be questioning the assumption.

Well, media does impact culture- and that in turn, impacts politics.
Even if the media managed to report stories without bias, the mere selection process of what does and does not get reported is a huge influence. That probably has more impact than the spin that goes into a story.
Perhaps, Tommy- but with wall to wall news coverage, I'm still more concerned with the actual coverage and spin.
Well, it's six of one and half a dozen of another, isn't it? I would think that not reporting some stories and spinning others has the same potential influence.

As for political influence, I think a spot on one of those Sunday news shows is worth a lot to a potential presidential candidate.

I can't comment on the FOX/CNN thing because I don't really watch TV. I don't have the time. I'd rather read my news. I can comment about spin. When someone like Sheehan gets as much attention as she did (before going after Clinton and promptly getting arrested), the question is what is not being covered? When half a story is covered, that obviously frames the debate.

The whole global warming thing is an facade created by an activist media which believes it is doing the right thing. They may believe it, but we don't have the scientific evidence to support the idea that CO2 is driving temperatures. We also don't have the scientific evidence to show that adopting Kyoto would noticeably affect global temperatures over the next century, even if the hypothesis that CO2 is a climate driver turns out to be correct. But you will never see that truth discussed.
You make some good points- and then some.

An appearance on a Sunday AM show, questions pitched can be hardball or softball.

Global warming coverage is a political agenda run amuck, with white hats and blacks hats clearly defined.

All I'm saying is that the MSM is comprised of individuals- and we have the right to know who they are.
Well, we do really know who they are.

What they don't get is the same type of scrutiny that political figures get, which is what you pointed out in your posts.
My take is that political leaders have distinct influence on the our laws and government and their character counts, because it factors in on their leadership value.

In report and media, etc. there is always weight given expertise, but the value factor is in the truth of what is reported, not in the cahracter or lifestyle of the reporter... I base this on the concept of ad hominem. It is who says it, but what is said that makes a difference in the force of logic.

So I don't know why one would call for public demands on anonymity. What about the idea of Nom de Plume? Did that ever take away from the quality of the written product?
It is not who says it, but what is said that makes a difference
Ilona - but what happens when falsities are reported as facts? I think this was SC&A's worry.

It is the job of the media to report information as well as analysis and background. It seems to me that they did this quite poorly for Katrina.

What happens when a person has an agenda that drives not just spin and not just partial reporting, but actual lies?
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