How the media color their coverage.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread
Not surprising, yet very disturbing to know...
All the News That Fits
How the media color their coverage.
(from Today's Wall Street Journal)
BY PETE DU PONT
Wednesday, December 12, 2001 12:01 a.m. EST
What you are about to read will disturb you. It should, because it is additional evidence that the information which Americans use to form conclusions is being slanted and sometimes distorted to meet the requirements of political correctness.
Suppose you are the managing editor of a leading newspaper with regional or national coverage. Would you:
• Delete from your news story the race of a rape and sodomy suspect who was still at large, so as not to encourage stereotyping in the minds of your readers?
• Approve the continued use of inaccurate data regarding partial-birth abortions after it had been shown to be false?
• Use the news stories in your paper to advocate the defeat of a ballot proposition you disagree with, and tell your staff that "the real job of the paper is to defeat this thing?"
• Order that photos of five black police officers arrested for narcotics trafficking not be published because it would be devastating to the "commanding need" for black role models in your community?
• Require that reporters meet specific numerical goals for the number of women and minorities quoted in stories and used as sources, and pay your editors in part based on meeting these quotas?
Or would you agree with the seemingly quaint, politically incorrect view expressed in the current issue of Playboy that "reporters are bound by the truth. Journalists aren't supposed to push [an issue]. They must present all sides."
In his new book "Coloring the News," William McGowan details these (and a great many more) actual examples of "diversity" in action in the American news media, which he says are the consequences of the press' incessant support of the "transmogrification of liberalism from a race-neutral to a race-central philosophy."
The book is a disturbing account of how in the name of diversity the purpose of reporting events has changed from informing readers of the facts to advancing the newspapers' chosen causes and attempting to alter the readers perception of reality.
Two examples illustrate the point. The horrific murder of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual, by two thugs who lured him out of a bar and into the Wyoming snow, severely beat and left him tied to a fence to die was quite properly a major news story. A search of news stories about the killing the month after turned up 3,007; the New York Times alone ran 195 stories on the case. A year later a male Arkansas teenager was drugged, repeatedly raped over the course of hours and then suffocated by two gay neighbors. In the month after this murder only 46 stories were written, none by the New York Times, nor was there any coverage on the four major television networks of the case or the subsequent trial and conviction.
So strong is the national media's internal bias in favor of homosexual rights that collectively it cannot bring itself to report that there is horrific violence on both sides of the divide. To editorialize in favor of homosexual rights is any papers right; to selectively avoid reporting serious crimes that contradict the papers agenda is a policy that ill serves society.
The second example provides a panoply of media thinking about race, and makes Mr. McGowan's point that "well-intentioned efforts to make news organizations more sensitive and inclusive can also make them forbidding places to discuss the . . . morally complex aspects of ethnicity, race, and gender."
In a 1993 public forum on racism in Burlington, Vermont, a young white woman attempting to speak was cut off by a black moderator, saying that the forum had been designed for "people of color." A local reporter's next-day story on the incident brought angry charges from the moderator (an aid to the Mayor of Burlington) that the story had "inflamed racial tensions"; he threatened a minority protest march on the paper and a demand that the reporter be fired immediately. The Burlington Free Press' editor fired him that evening, in a two-minute meeting without a hearing.
The subsequent trial (and out of court settlement in the reporter's favor) was a nightmare for the Free Press and Gannett, its owner. A videotape of the forum showed it to be militantly anti-white in its rhetoric--the reporter in fact had gone easy in his story. The Free Press turned out to have all kinds of diversity quotas: "at least one column in four should be about a minority or address a diversity issue"; one op-ed in ten must be by a non-white; one of six faces in a regular photo series must be a person of color. And embarrassing quotes were discovered in which the forum moderator stated that all European-Americans were racists.
So the media's devotion to political correctness dramatically set back the cause of racial understanding in a city in which it had been pretty good to start with.
Mr. McGowan's concludes that all this focus on diversity has filled newsrooms with activists for various racial, gender and sexuality causes, leading to self-censorship of information that might contradict politically correct viewpoints. That has led to public distrust of the print and television media.
"An ideological press whose reporting and analysis is distorted by double standards, intellectual dishonesty and fashionable cant favoring certain groups over others only poisons the national well," Mr. McGowan writes. Instead of raising the quality and tone of public discussion of issues, "the diversity ethos has dumbed it down, blunting the public's faculties for reasoned argument just when the edge has never had to be sharper."
Mr. du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, is policy chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. His column appears Wednesdays.
-- Eve (email@example.com), December 12, 2001
"How the media color their coverage"
No offense Eve, but this is old news to some of us. I have known the media to be biased and withholding for years. Since the days of William Randolph Hearst the 'free press' hasn't been free, and the media will tell you only what they want you to hear. All major newspapers and major networks are owned by large corporate conglomerates, and they get "direction" from these parent companies. That is why that when I try to find out information about some topic, I use a multitude of sources in order to get as close as I can to what really happened, and then still discount the majority of the mass media content.
A saying I have used for years now I think is applicable:
"You just never know"
Doin' my business on the newspaper...
-- The Dog (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 12, 2001.
I hear ya.
Actually, I knew this stuff to some extent; my little intro just meant to convey my continuing disturbance with this, and my nausea at seeing an article like this with an anecdotal list.
I rarely read newspapers anymore (except the N. Y. Times and W. S. Journal Opinion Page Online); most of my stuff comes from a great variety of sources -- pretty much internet-based.
And as with yourself (and hopefully most others), the final take comes from my own mind.
-- Eve (email@example.com), December 12, 2001.
Here's my contribution from the Left on the same topic.
It's kindof enough to make one burst into song with, "NOBODY knows...the trouble I've seen! NOBODY knows my sorrow...."
Personally, I like that one better than the theme from Mr. Ed.
-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), December 12, 2001.
Thanks, Anita. Thanks a LOT. I'll be sure to read your article just as soon as I get that damn JINGLE out of my head. ("Stay calm, Eve. But if you're gonna start pullin' out clumps of hair, just at least make sure it's from underneath at the back -- ok?")
-- Eve (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 12, 2001.
Anita, you think the media didn't color that link you cited? Is that accurate reporting? The only accurate statement pertained to the fact that we won't know what happened for another ten years.
"To which most Americans seem to be replying: all to the good. The Pentagon says it's for the safety of the troops, for the integrity of our military operations. And in an era of patriotism, it seems a self-evident conclusion. But it ain't necessarily so. Cast your eyes over history, in fact, and it is relatively unencumbered access to what happens on the battlefield that looks more and more like the patriotic act."
Where are the facts here? It goes on to say that the ground forces welcomed the reporters working hand-in-hand, breaking out in kumbaya (or however you spell it). Too funny, sorry I was laughing so hard I couldn't finish reading it.
-- Maria (email@example.com), December 12, 2001.