The Wall Street Journal recently reported how a liberal sect of journalists conspired to “reroute” the media’s coverage of President Obama during the 2008 election. This journalist group consisted of 300 liberal journalists who discussed and plotted in an off-the-record e-mail group called JournoList. These findings led to the resignation of Washington Post writer David Weigel last month The Wall Street Journal claimed. Several times during 2008, reporters from news agencies like Time, Politico and the Huffington Post were angered by Obama’s media coverage and tried to “fix” the damage by tearing down his critics.
This story is just the tip of a rather large iceberg involving the media and reporting practices. White House Communications Director Anita Dunn recently called Fox News out as being a talking piece for the Republican Party, reported Think Progress. She may be on to something. The report further argues that House Republicans criticized the stimulus bill by repeatedly asking “where jobs were” and why they had not been created. Later in the week, Fox News, Think Progress alleged, uses the same mantra in their coverage of the story. This is problematic reporting. Many constituents follow the news media as their source for information. If the information given is biased or misleading, then what follows is a biased and misled populace. Nothing is more damaging to a democracy than an ill-informed mass of people. Individuals are led blindly to follow their ideals and taunting, name-calling, and continued media discrepancies abound. (See this content piece, by C. L. Collins on Associated Content.)
Michael Burton of Media Monitor reports most news stations came to Fox News’ rescue. However, he contends that this “saving” of Fox news is problematic to journalism. Burton states in the Media Monitor report, “saving Fox News is like the angst ridden teenager taking up for his crazy aunt- no matter how cooky she is she is still family.” He also claims that the facts point to Fox as actually being the voice of opposition against the Obama Administration. Thus, Ms. Dunn’s claims are not unfounded.
As stated above, the revelations of JournoList will be quite damaging to the political climate of this country, not necessarily to journalism. Political opinions are what permeate this society. No matter how hard anyone tries to deny the claim that they are not politically motivated in some fashion, individuals are always driven by their ideals. Thus, while true journalists who believe in reporting balanced media coverage will be deeply disturbed by these actions, they are within the minority of the country. People will continue to follow the sides of the media- unquestioned- who report the news that they wish to hear.
As for me, I make a fraction of the small minority who questions the media’s intentions in general. I will continue to take what I hear, inspect the reporting and find my own conclusions. As a contributor to an online news network, I have an obligation to uphold journalistic integrity, and report as unbiased and balanced as possible. While I won’t deny my own political motivations, as the Media Monitor makes an excellent claim against Fox for doing, I will work doubly hard to overcome them.
Burton, Michael C. “Is FoxNews a legitimate news organization?” Media Monitor.
Collin, C. L. “Memo to Fox News: Paper Please”. Associated Content.
Garofalo, Pat. “FoxNews adopts the GOP mantra: ‘˜Where are the jobs?’. Think Progress.
The Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal. “The Rev. Wright Media Cover- Up”. The Wall Street Journal.