Friday, February 27, 2009

Ah Irony

Debra Saunders is concerned about the demise of newspapers. So am I. And I think her overall point is correct: the decline of newspapers means the decline of news coverage. At a time when we need more suspicion of government, we're gradually getting less. And that's all well and good.

But then this paragraph jumped out at me:
Newspapers are the public's referees as to which information is credible. You can go online and read no end of fiction and smear about public figures. But when you read content in a newspaper, you consistently can rely on it.
It seems to me that this is objectively false. Bias is rampant in the newspaper industry. If anything, this is the biggest reason that newspapers are suffering. If this were true, if news could consistently be trusted as reliable, then they would be able to compete with the online "fiction and smear." But increasingly we find instead online self-publishers who are acting as watchdog to the media, purveyors of plenty of their own fiction and smear.

I'm concerned about the downfall of news organizations. But it ain't because they're some pristine example of objective reporting. And asserting that they are belies a thorough coating of a different sort of bias.

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