Monday, August 16, 2010

Did Internet Journalists instigate "slanted" stories?

CNN today includes an interesting article by Mr. Ferenstein that appears to find that slanted stories on Internet News sites are due to the pre-decided attitudes or interests of the writers. While, to the degree that he analyses the phenomenon, he makes some good points... he seriously errs in ignoring the origin of this tendency and leaves a reader with the impression that non-objective reporting sprang out of the internet of whole cloth.

It is the print media that led the way. As long as newspapers and news magazines were owned, and run by professional journalists, the public was well-served...with cautious, well-researched articles and stories that were professionally written to provide all the facts that were available absent judgment-proclaiming adjectives. The Reader was the judge, not the writer. But with ownership shifting to non-journalists, the pressure shifted from being a good source of information to being a good source of revenue. This often let to pressure from owners on editors to sensationalize both headlines and stories, utilizing and emphasizing adjectives for the sake of boosting readership. In essence, the editorial page now was the whole paper. If it were not for the internet, the public would have forced a correction of this abuse, but they could now get the facts from the internet, so they just stopped buying papers with whose editorial content they did not agree. And, of course, journalist who wished to remain employed quickly discarded their journalistic ethics in favor of the paycheck.

The internet phenomenon described in the article is just an extension of the fact that good, objective, straight news is no longer available in today's America.

No comments: