Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's the management, stupid...

John Emerson of Seeing the Forest writes this letter to Bob Somerby to clarify what is wrong with the current establishment media:
I've been arguing for some time now that the bylined reporters and commentators aren't agents. They just watch patterns of hiring and promotion and do what seems to work best. They're lackeys giving their bosses what they want.

Responsibility has to ascribed to faceless management and to the owners (Sulzberger [NYT] and Graham [WP], for example). For whatever reason, for the last ten years or more all of the media have swung consistently right.

My theory is that the reason is financial, and that the tax cuts and other goodies have caused financial management to interfere with operations. (Both Sulzberger and Graham are simultaneously business managers and operations managers of their respective publications).

This is bad news indeed. The media cannot be shamed into cleaning up their act, because bad reporting is a deliberate bottom-line policy, not an oversight or a mistake.

I have suggested that only new national media at every level (cable, TV, newspaper, radio) can improve the situation. Present players are incorrigible and inveterate. Air America was a good start, but not nearly enough. (I was horrified at the unenthusiastic reception AA got from many liberals and Democrats. Sometimes I think that Democrats are too stupid to live).

2 Comments:

Blogger Rob said...

The one thing cinged on my brain about the lead up to the Iraq war is how articles reporting reasons to doubt Bush's justifications were always around page A16. Judith Miller would get the front page. If you're a journalist trying to earn a living and get ahead, what message are you going to receive from that?

Perhaps I'm naive but I firmly believe that an innovative manager will eventually realize that the public hungers for truth. Hence, serving the public interest in reporting can be profitable.

In the meantime Democrats should insist upon restoring the "fairness doctrine" that was lifted in 1987.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Good points. That bothered me too. I sure hope you're right about the innovative manager.

10:08 PM  

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