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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What is wrong with the US news media...

Ft. Myers, FL - Amanda Congdon is a video blogger who sometimes appears the ABC News website. The other day she wrote these words in her blog:
And under the “blogger” title, which is what I am, hello? I am not subject to the “rules” traditional journalists have to follow.

Isn’t that what new media is all about? Breaking the rules? Setting our own?

Amanda Congdon's Blog: I was “Caught”?!? haha

Unfortunately for her, that quote minus the first sentence where she defines herself a "blogger" created quite a storm throughout the news industry trade publications. She even caught some flack in the main stream media. They are all pointing fingers at Amanda and her work as talent in an infomercial for DuPont and her connection with ABC News.

Okay, I would not be comfortable with her reporting on a story about, involving or even remotely related to DuPont after she was paid to do infomercials for them. I'll give the angry horde that much.

But I believe that Amanda summed up in four sentences the root of everything wrong with the US journalistic machine. Let me recap those four sentences:

  • I am not subject to the “rules” traditional journalists have to follow.

  • Isn’t that what new media is all about?

  • Breaking the rules?

  • Setting our own?

Amanda unknowingly described about two thirds of the "traditional" journalists entering the trade from today's journalism schools. They come out of those schools uttering new catch phrases like "interpretive journalism" and "journalist advocate." Those are phrases that until now never had a place in any legitimate news room.

Sitting in this truck I've witnessed producers and reporters slant their stories against conservatives for their anti-abortion stance, against the lawful use of a firearm to stop a killer and in favor of protecting some little animal while maintaining complete silence on the number of families who's property can no longer be built on, improved or even repaired if structurally damaged.

If nothing is done to correct the problem, all of our news will be slanted and edited to suit the agenda of whoever owns the printing press or transmitter. Some of us may tune the media out completely. others may patronize the news source that most closely fits our political leanings. But all of us will be as clueless about what is really happening in our world, our government, our cities and just about anything we did not personally witness us as those living under a totalitarian regime.


The serious, real journalists of this country are more needed now than they ever have been because the blogs and the mp3s and the iPods, they're all talking about the news, but where does the news originate? It originates with a reporter. It originates with a news organization.
- Jim Lehrer

Respect for journalists is like respect for doctors. It involves making your neutrality clear and being seen to be neutral.
- Kate Adie



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