Modern Journalism A Bankrupt Institution

I suspect that many of you have at least heard of the whole rathergate issue. If not, Corante has an exhaustive timeline of the whole issue. Long story short, the documents calling into question Bushes national guard service are fake, and CBS is stonewalling and calling it partisan. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Bush. But this kind of thing is reprehensible.

Dave Winer noted during this Trade Secrets audio show with Adam Curry, that he was noticing a decidedly anti-bush note on CNN and thought it was perhaps a reaction to fierce competition from Fox News. Fox is unabashedly conservative as everyone knows, and hold at best a tentative moniker of journalism. Yet in the same way that professional wrestling is wildly popular, Fox News has a big following. It’s entertainment journalism, but not in the vein of Entertainment tonight, which is journalism (heh) about entertainment, but instead, entertainment in the guise of journalism.

The sad reality that the private agendas of people like Rupert Murdoch can poison the well of the public media has yet to really take hold in the public mind, and many feel that reporters and news outlets are still holding together some semblance of journalistic integrity. Unfortunately this is not the case. Lousy fact checking, no due-diligence, misleading rhetoric and opinion paraded as fact are the order of the day.

It is a well known fact to anyone who cares to bother that the big media outlets are notoriously editorial on what they consider news, and that these editorial decisions often fall along political or financial lines. But traditionally the news that was reported was of a certain reputable quality.

I find it pleasingly ironic that during the DNC major media outlets, scared out of their wits by bloggers, began running petty news stories dismissing blogs as relevant sources of reputable information, citing chiefly journalistic integrity. Now to have something of this nature exposed and drug into the light by bloggers is just beautiful.

What’s the difference between big media and blogging? We don’t have a built in trust of bloggers. We know they are just like us. Maybe they screwed up, we should as much as possible verify this information ourselves. Big Media does have an investment in trust from the public, a trust built on journalistic integrity. When the public sees something on the news, they tend to trust that the reporter has done his due diligence and is presenting a well researched and reasonably objective story. Too often this is no longer the case, and big media are pumping out “news” which is either thinly veiled entertainment, or partisan smear jobs. They are quickly squandering the good faith of the public on political agendas and ratings.