Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Why everyone hates the media

It appears to be a combination of rabid partisanship, people's fundamental misunderstanding of the value of objectivity and watchdog journalism, and a real sense that reporters don't really relate to everyday Americans. Oh, and mindless television talking heads, but you already knew that.

Whatever the answer is, it's likely in this very long and very good New Yorker piece that reveals a growing discontent with the media among both conservatives and liberals. Below are a few illustrative highlights to induce you to read more of the story.

Bill Keller, executive editor, The New York Times: "In a more concerted way than liberal critics, conservative critics have castigated major newspapers, especially ours, and network news broadcasts. ... I'm far from being a conspiracy theorist, but I think this has been deliberate and I think it has some effect, especially on people who don't actually read The New York Times."

Ann Marie Lipinski, editor-in-chief, Chicago Tribune: "[Everything] is seen through a political lens, rather than as, 'Here's somebody with a different experience from me.'"

Keller: "Conservatives feel estranged because they feel excluded. They do not always see themselves portrayed in the mainstream press as three-dimensional humans, and they don't see their ideas taken seriously or treated respectfully."

James Warren, deputy managing editor for features, Chicago Tribune: "[People] see what we do as no different from 'Could this pastrami sandwich kill you? Could this screen door harm your child? Tune in at 10!' They don’t see any difference between an investigative reporter and a blow-dried idiot."

This story is spot-on and worth your time. Read it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can avow that the article is awesome. I love the sentiment that opposing political parties should try to understand one another (i.e., not demonize or caricature each other).

Trying to understand conservatives is something I do a lot. It's hard, however, when many conservatives believe that gay marriage, evolutionary theory, and titties---things which have arguably never hurt anybody---are undermining American "values." Even more puzzling is the belief widely held by conservative Christians that, although they're a majority in most states and although many states' most powerful politicians are theocrats, they're being culturally persecuted. Help me understand, Red State Diaries!

8:44 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

The article addresses that conservative persecution complex pretty well. It's largely a product of repetition of the ideas that the "liberal media" refuse to play fair and that some undefined "them" is out there looking to subjugate them. Hear anything enough times and you'll often start to believe it.

I think the answer -- or at least a good start -- is to do a better job of presenting both sides' positions honestly and explaining why they feel that way, even if it may at times seem difficult to understand either side's reasons from a logical standpoint.

1:00 AM  

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