Fourth, rather than just report news, even if sensational or controversial, the new technique is commentary on the news being as, if not more important than the news itself. So - for example - there will often be as much interpretation of what a politician is saying as there is coverage of them actually saying it. In the interpretation, what matters is not what they mean; but what they could be taken to mean. This leads to the incredibly frustrating pastime of expending a large amount of energy rebutting claims about the significance of things said, that bears little or no relation to what was intended.
In turn, this leads to a fifth point which is the confusion of news and commentary. Comment is a perfectly respectable part of journalism. But it is supposed to be separate. Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible. The truth is a large part of the media today not merely elides the two but does so now as a matter of course. In other words, this is not exceptional. It is routine.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
T. Blair on the news media
Exiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered a speech on how the media has blurred the lines between news and commentary.
Unfortunately, Blair, who has a record of favoring the "big-government" philosophy, concludes that reviewing government imposed news standards may likely be streamlined and put under one authority instead of the various public overseers present in the U.K. today.
It appears that he places little faith with the punishment that the marketplace can deliver to sub-standard reporting even if the marketplace moves slowly but surely over time. If there is a demand for delivering hard-news in an unbiased fashion, the marketplace will reward those who fulfill that what has become a rather niche market, in light of the hard news being who is up or down in the latest offering of American Idol.
Here is an excerpt of Blair's speech:
Posted by Liberty Spuds at Wednesday, June 13, 2007