In recent days the role of the media has been getting heightened scrutiny even from members of the main stream press. Last week ABC News ran an article by columnist Michael Malone which “Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why.” It opens with bold statements:
“The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.
The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.”
As a “fourth-generation newspaperman,” Malone laments that he is “deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist.”
Of course, as Malone writes, there has always been bias in the media, and as human beings, we “color” any news we report. But journalists are supposed to be taught in “Reporting 101” how to seek to be as objective as possible.
“For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.”
But now, he says, “nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.”
What he sees is the press at times –
– “actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.”
The press has not filled in the blanks on Obama’s background and his allies. And worse, Malone writes, the worst moment of this campaign came about with the emergence of “Joe the Plumber.”
“Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.”
Malone thinks many reports have been restrained by their editors. These editors, Malone suggests, support a “monolithic, single-party government” that “will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine…”
Not surprising, following the column, ABC News made sure to include its disclaimer: “This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.”
They also included Malone’s rather extensive bio:
Michael S. Malone is one of the nation’s best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation’s first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world’s largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling “Virtual Corporation.” Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, “The New Heroes.” He has been the ABCNews.com “Silicon Insider” columnist since 2000.
Click here to read Malone’s entire article.
Image Credit: lewwaters.com.