Sunday, November 13, 2005

The comeback of the news media

Check out today's discussion group topic at The Carpetbagger Report:

"Is the national media making a comeback? Are the days of passivity and stenography officially over? Or, conversely, is even the coverage we're now getting too timid?"

"Has the news media turned a corner? Will it last? What prompted the change?"

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It seems to me that Katrina was the turning point. It's one thing to mismanage a foreign war or to engage in disastrous fiscal irresponsibility, quite another to botch recovery efforts in a major American city. Do you remember those first few days after Katrina hit? There were stirrings of change in how the media cover the Bush Administration well before those horrible images came out of New Orleans -- think back to the coverage of Abu Ghraib -- but Katrina was the event that finally woke the news media up from their long slumber.

(There are deeper reasons why the media were in that slumber in the first place. Read David Brock's The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy for more. Highly recommended.)

I think Steve is right on this: "Perceptions differ, but a reasonable argument could be made that the kind of fact-checking that was common in the wake of the Veterans' Day speech was sorely lacking throughout Bush's first term and the presidential campaign. Now, major dailies seem to have no qualms telling readers, point by point, when the president is selling a bill of goods."

And it's about time.

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