April 7, 2012

JOHN NOLTE: Targeting George Zimmerman: Edit-Gate Worse Than Rathergate.

UPDATE: A Tipping Point For The National Media?

The editing was not a technical issue of production. It was a substantive issue of content, and the “error” happened to fit a thesis of racist homicide while making the network look like a watchdog hero. It seems to me to have been error with a purpose. . . .

What happened is a terrible tragedy, and it is understandable that many would react emotionally. But many have also seen journalistic unfairness in all of this. Jack Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, recently told the Christian Science Monitor that the story “undermines public confidence in mainstream news media, which is already pretty low.” He noted PEW already says 77 percent of Americans think the press is generally unfair.

News is in a stage of dramatic transition. Newspapers and broadcast networks are in decline as new media — cable TV, blogs and more — are making themselves felt in ways both scary and encouraging. No one knows where it will end. This much we can bet on: If mature media forsake reasonable standards, it will end badly.

For them, certainly. And there’s not much of an “if,” here. It’s been clear since RatherGate, at least, that they’re willing — indeed, happy and, among their peers, even proud — to lie in the service of promoting Democrats. It’s only embarrassing when the public catches on.

Related: Uncorrected: Charles Blow Finally Returns To The Scene Of His Journalistic Crime. “So we have moved past a grieving family and on to a national cause for racial justice. And of course Trayvon Martin’s death is now an illustration the Largerer Narrative of America’s lack of racial justice. Hence the media enthusiasm to enhance the narrrative (ABC, NBC, CNN, NY Times) at the expense of tedious facts relating to the loss of one young man’s life and the destruction of another’s.”

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