Saturday, August 15, 2009

A tale of two headlines

Krugman muses on the state of journalism and the media's failure to inform.
Two contrasting headlines from two very different news outlets.
New York Times: “False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots

Politico: “Sarah Palin and “death panels” - is she helping or hurting her political future?”
This gets at one of my biggest gripes: reporting that focuses on the political game without ever informing readers or viewers about the actual facts. Back in 2004 I did a survey of news coverage on the rival Kerry and Bush health plans; on TV, at least, there were a number of reports on how the plans were playing politically, but none — none at all — on what was actually in the plans.
Thus it was then, and thus it has been ever since. At least when Democrats are in power. But I think the media really went off the rails in the last election. They started to seriously compete with the immediacy of the blogs and became addicted to hit counts, without understanding or perhaps even caring that hits don't necessarily equal reach. But for whatever reason, their descent into horserace coverage and sensationalized tabloid headlines that don't at all reflect the actual content of the articles became widepread and completely entrenched throughout even the "serious" media.

The NYT piece is a good start and I actually have links to a couple of other pieces that are starting to resemble real journalism again. But as Dr. Krugman points out, in this NYT article he cites, they still fail to make an important connection between Grassley's every changing rhetoric. We still have a long way to go before the media fulfills its given mission to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]


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