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Read about Jay Rosen's book, What Are Journalists For?

Excerpt from Chapter One of What Are Journalists For? "As Democracy Goes, So Goes the Press."

Essay in Columbia Journalism Review on the changing terms of authority in the press, brought on in part by the blog's individual--and interactive--style of journalism. It argues that, after Jayson Blair, authority is not the same at the New York Times, either.

"Web Users Open the Gates." My take on ten years of Internet journalism, at

Read: Q & As

Jay Rosen, interviewed about his work and ideas by journalist Richard Poynder

Achtung! Interview in German with a leading German newspaper about the future of newspapers and the Net.

Audio: Have a Listen

Listen to an audio interview with Jay Rosen conducted by journalist Christopher Lydon, October 2003. It's about the transformation of the journalism world by the Web.

Five years later, Chris Lydon interviews Jay Rosen again on "the transformation." (March 2008, 71 minutes.)

Interview with host Brooke Gladstone on NPR's "On the Media." (Dec. 2003) Listen here.

Presentation to the Berkman Center at Harvard University on open source journalism and NewAssignment.Net. Downloadable mp3, 70 minutes, with Q and A. Nov. 2006.

Video: Have A Look

Half hour video interview with Robert Mills of the American Microphone series. On blogging, journalism, NewAssignment.Net and distributed reporting.

Jay Rosen explains the Web's "ethic of the link" in this four-minute YouTube clip.

"The Web is people." Jay Rosen speaking on the origins of the World Wide Web. (2:38)

One hour video Q & A on why the press is "between business models" (June 2008)

Recommended by PressThink:

Town square for press critics, industry observers, and participants in the news machine: Romenesko, published by the Poynter Institute.

Town square for weblogs: InstaPundit from Glenn Reynolds, who is an original. Very busy. Very good. To the Right, but not in all things. A good place to find voices in diaolgue with each other and the news.

Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

Rants, links, blog news, and breaking wisdom from Jeff Jarvis, former editor, magazine launcher, TV critic, now a J-professor at CUNY. Always on top of new media things. Prolific, fast, frequently dead on, and a pal of mine.

Eschaton by Atrios (pen name of Duncan B;ack) is one of the most well established political weblogs, with big traffic and very active comment threads. Left-liberal.

Terry Teachout is a cultural critic coming from the Right at his weblog, About Last Night. Elegantly written and designed. Plus he has lots to say about art and culture today.

Dave Winer is the software wiz who wrote the program that created the modern weblog. He's also one of the best practicioners of the form. Scripting News is said to be the oldest living weblog. Read it over time and find out why it's one of the best.

If someone were to ask me, "what's the right way to do a weblog?" I would point them to Doc Searls, a tech writer and sage who has been doing it right for a long time.

Ed Cone writes one of the most useful weblogs by a journalist. He keeps track of the Internet's influence on politics, as well developments in his native North Carolina. Always on top of things.

Rebecca's Pocket by Rebecca Blood is a weblog by an exemplary practitioner of the form, who has also written some critically important essays on its history and development, and a handbook on how to blog.

Dan Gillmor used to be the tech columnist and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News. He now heads a center for citizen media. This is his blog about it.

A former senior editor at Pantheon, Tom Englehardt solicits and edits commentary pieces that he publishes in blog form at TomDispatches. High-quality political writing and cultural analysis.

Chris Nolan's Spot On is political writing at a high level from Nolan and her band of left-to-right contributors. Her notion of blogger as a "stand alone journalist" is a key concept; and Nolan is an exemplar of it.

Barista of Bloomfield Avenue is journalist Debbie Galant's nifty experiment in hyper-local blogging in several New Jersey towns. Hers is one to watch if there's to be a future for the weblog as news medium.

The Editor's Log, by John Robinson, is the only real life honest-to-goodness weblog by a newspaper's top editor. Robinson is the blogging boss of the Greensboro News-Record and he knows what he's doing.

Fishbowl DC is about the world of Washington journalism. Gossip, controversies, rituals, personalities-- and criticism. Good way to keep track of the press tribe in DC

PJ Net Today is written by Leonard Witt and colleagues. It's the weblog of the Public Journalisn Network (I am a founding member of that group) and it follows developments in citizen-centered journalism.

Here's Simon Waldman's blog. He's the Director of Digital Publishing for The Guardian in the UK, the world's most Web-savvy newspaper. What he says counts.

Novelist, columnist, NPR commentator, Iraq War vet, Colonel in the Army Reserve, with a PhD in literature. How many bloggers are there like that? One: Austin Bay.

Betsy Newmark's weblog she describes as "comments and Links from a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC." An intelligent and newsy guide to blogs on the Right side of the sphere. I go there to get links and comment, like the teacher said.

Rhetoric is language working to persuade. Professor Andrew Cline's Rhetorica shows what a good lens this is on politics and the press.

Davos Newbies is a "year-round Davos of the mind," written from London by Lance Knobel. He has a cosmopolitan sensibility and a sharp eye for things on the Web that are just... interesting. This is the hardest kind of weblog to do well. Knobel does it well.

Susan Crawford, a law professor, writes about democracy, technology, intellectual property and the law. She has an elegant weblog about those themes.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed is everything a weblog about the local scene should be. And there's a lot to observe in Los Angeles.

Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling is about the future of newspapers, online news and journalism education. He's the founder of and a self-taught Web developer and designer.

H20town by Lisa Williams is about the life and times of Watertown, Massachusetts, and it covers that town better than any local newspaper. Williams is funny, she has style, and she loves her town.

Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

Rebecca MacKinnon, former correspondent for CNN, has immersed herself in the world of new media and she's seen the light (great linker too.)

Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

Susan Mernit's blog is "writing and news about digital media, ecommerce, social networks, blogs, search, online classifieds, publishing and pop culture from a consultant, writer, and sometime entrepeneur." Connected.

Group Blogs

CJR Daily is Columbia Journalism Review's weblog about the press and its problems, edited by Steve Lovelady, formerly of the Philadelpia Inquirer.

Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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February 28, 2008

Three Vetting Stories Went Awry at the New York Times: Find the Pattern.

Obama's drug use. Hillary's marriage. McCain's lobbyist. The New York Times made weird decisions in all three. So what gives?

Here’s my letter to Romenseko, the news trade’s online gathering place. (Also at the Huffington Post.)


Romenesko readers, help me out here:

The New York Times trying to “vet” Obama. (On youthful drug use.)

The New York Times trying to “vet” Hillary Clinton. (On the state of her marriage.)

The New York Times trying to “vet” John McCain. (On cozy ties with lobbyists.)

Each story went weirdly wrong. Each story left people scratching their heads: what were the editors thinking? Each was part of the “vetting” ritual in which the press imagines itself asking the hard questions of candidates who would be president. Each has a touch of the bizarre to it.

My question to you: what is going on here? Anything in common among the cases?

It’s just a question. I’ll post any good answers I find.

For that see my follow-up, “An Attractively Against-the-Grain Enterprise…”

And also: Public Editor to Bill Keller: “You Haven’t Got it.” and Cliff Notes Version of the Q and A with New York Times Readers About the McCain Investigation (both Feb. 25, 2008.)

Posted by Jay Rosen at February 28, 2008 1:47 PM   Print


It seems like reporting the present is just too much for the NYT. They consider the past more relevant to current actions. This "vetting" may seem to reveal skeletons in the closet, but what what it really seems to reveal to me is that the NYT editors are Freudians looking for keys to character. Because, after all, character is more important to cultural warriors than anything else.

Posted by: Ferdy at February 28, 2008 2:06 PM | Permalink

In what way did the Obama & Clinton stories go "wierdly wrong"? Did either of receive the near-universal criticism the McCain piece got?

If they had just been doing the "vetting" review of old news about McCain they would have just gone with the eight-year-old stuff about Paxson & favors.

The McCain piece was a bigger fiasco because they departed from the formula by dropping in the not-ready-for-prime-time sex angle.

Given that the sex-with-lobbyist allegation had originally been concieved as a stand-alone piece of "investigative reporting" and got shoehorned into the historical "vetting" piece at the last minute, I don't think the "vetting" genre deserves the blame.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at February 28, 2008 2:28 PM | Permalink

YOu don't see the state of Hillary's marriage as sexual (and certainly sexist) in nature? I do.

Posted by: Ferdy at February 28, 2008 3:26 PM | Permalink

Bill Keller's incredulous reaction to the nearly universal professional disdain for the McCain story's shoddy sourcing pretty much said it all: No one at the top of the New York Times can conceive that they might be wrong about a story, before or after the fact. That kind of insularity may be understandable, but it is also correctable. And as the NYT is a leader in American journalism, and is so conscious of seeing itself in that role, correcting that attitude would be helpful to the entire trade.

Posted by: Mike at February 28, 2008 3:41 PM | Permalink

All three "tough-on-the-candidates" pieces, driven by the New York Times' own choices and research rather than breaking events, have in common a great lack. Each goes out of its way to turn something arguably tangential to being president into a character issue.

Each avoids tackling issues that greatly affect people – ending the war, healthcare for all, a fairer economy, saving the environment – well-worn slogans that become threatening to the interests of people on the fortunate side of injustice if investigated seriously.

To quote the late, great, Molly Ivins:

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Question the polling methodologies, perhaps, but the sentiment is there, and these percentages can only have grown more weighty in the past two years, despite patchy media coverage. Courage isn't an issue when there is no will at all. The New York Times doesn't represent us.

But it does take some fancy footwork to avoid these issues, footwork that's bound to look a little awkward sooner or later.

Posted by: Benjamin Melançon at February 28, 2008 4:15 PM | Permalink

I thought money might have something to do with the Obama piece: they must have spent $20K or more on time and travel, sending the writer to Hawaii and California and giving him a couple of months to pull the story together. Not much there there for that kind of money, so they decided to wonder whether Obama was exaggerating his drug experience. Without that angle, the story was so vacant that it wouldn't have been printable. The reporter, oddly, seems to have been a refugee from the society pages with no real history of political or investigative reporting that I could find.

The Clinton piece was just another manifestation of the weird fascination the couple hold for the higher echelons of the press: Chris Matthews light. On McCain, the problem may have been that the editors didn't recognize the significance of the lobbying shenanigans and felt, similarly to the Obama piece, that it needed sexing up; it was just coincidence that the sexing up was literal. The angle probably gained value to them because the McCain camp fought it so strongly before publication.

I don't think there's an institutional link between the three stories other than that the people who run the paper live in an alternate reality from most people.

Posted by: weldon berger at February 28, 2008 4:21 PM | Permalink

This is too good not to reproduce in full. An answer to my letter at Romenesko:

Topic: Letters Sent to Romenesko
Date/Time: 2/28/2008 8:17:20 PM
Title: An answer for Jay Rosen
Posted By: Jim Romenesko

From LARRY KART, Subject -- An answer for Jay Rosen. The common thread here, and the main reason for the bizarreness, is that the real subject of all these stories is the Times itself --and/or the image the Times thinks it's creating or would like to create for itself when it runs an ostensibly major story about a subject that is or will become of common interest.

The same is true of many other broken-backed stories in the Times and a host of other papers since, probably, the mid 1970s or early 1980s. At least that's the time when I began to see that sort of stuff in action at the paper where I used to work. A particularly revealing early warning sign was when that paper, with a long tradition of rock-ribbed Republicanism, began to seach for some attractive, young, fairly liberal candidates for local offices that it could endorse, while it never dreamed of endorsing (and hasn't dome so to this date, I believe) a non-Republican for president, governor, or senator. It slowly occurred to me that these seemingly against-the-grain local endorsements were in effect advertisements for the paper, a way of signaling to a body of potential readers that the paper very much wanted and needed to attract that the paper was an attractively against-the-grain enterprise, a place of supple independent thought rather than a stern grandfatherly GOP bastion.

Similarly (but along different lines, given its own history) the Times is dancing in front of a mirror here, trying to move in ways that telegraph to a somewhat imaginary audience that it is a truly supple paper -- iconoclastic toward its own perceived liberal image (if the "facts" of a story require that it be so) and certainly capable of seeing all sides of all issues. Thus these Times stories were mis-conceived and mis-edited so as to incorporate and express the paper's own image-shaping needs; and the "facts," such as they were, were pushed about one way and another toward the end. The paper is not so much a paper anymore; it is itself a candidate.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 28, 2008 10:03 PM | Permalink

Larry Kart is spot-on.

And as seductive as the interpersonal stuff is (people wanting to think of themselves as fairminded, equally likely to endorse candidates of different parties), economic influence cannot be bracketed out. Newspapers are in the business of delivering eyeballs to advertisers. Rich eyeballs are preferable. Creating a newspaper that plays to the fond self-image of affluent readers who want to think of themselves as thoughtful moderates is part of the puzzle.

Posted by: Amanda at February 28, 2008 10:34 PM | Permalink

Ferdy --

They consider the past more relevant to current actions. This "vetting" may seem to reveal skeletons in the closet, but what it really seems to reveal to me is that the NYT editors are Freudians looking for keys to character. Because, after all, character is more important to cultural warriors than anything else.

You account for the search for “keys to character” as a Freudian impulse and a component of the Culture War. Allow me to add that it is also a quintessential attribute of Reality Gameshow journalism, a new type of campaign coverage that depicts the candidates as larger-than-life contestants, personalities who reveal their authentic instincts under the scrutiny and duress of the competition.

We can see the origins of the Reality Gameshow style in NBC Sports’ innovations at the Barcelona Olympics, where every up-close-and-personal athlete appeared to have a back story of deprivation or heartbreak to motivate them and to inspire us to root for them.

The back story -- or in the jargon of The New York Times the vetting piece -- functions to give us hints of the inner demons, personal struggles, underlying motivations of our candidate-contestants. Another strand of the Reality Gameshow format is to rely on the demographics of each candidate, and by extension their base of support, as a short-hand for rendering them: the competent, experienced, married lady; the grizzled, heroic, war veteran; the charismatic, sweet-talking black orator.

Think of this style of journalism as depicting a Presidential election as a contest of personas not ideologies, as the selection of a symbolic national leader not a policy-wonk prime minister. It is a choice made in reaction to the last two administrations, perceiving their flaws to be those of character rather than policy: George Bush petulant and feckless; Bill Clinton devious and reckless.

At root, the fantasy of Reality Gameshow journalism dreams that if only the electorate can see into the soul of each candidate, past the packaged slogans and soundbites, the one with the finest instincts will win. Vetting articles purport to help make those personal insights clearer.

Posted by: Andrew Tyndall at February 29, 2008 7:11 AM | Permalink

Think of this style of journalism as depicting a Presidential election as a contest of personas not ideologies, as the selection of a symbolic national leader not a policy-wonk prime minister.

With you so far.

It is a choice made in reaction to the last two administrations, perceiving their flaws to be those of character rather than policy: George Bush petulant and feckless; Bill Clinton devious and reckless.


I think it's more likely a choice made in reaction to the ratings success of American Idol.

Whatever civic and political motivations journalists and journalism as a whole may have that influence their decisions at the margins, their primary motivation is "keep attracting eyeballs for the advertisers." After all, that is what pays the bills.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at February 29, 2008 7:44 AM | Permalink

Phelan -- indisputably attracting eyeballs, and, it appears from the ratings, successfully, too -- Tyndall

Posted by: Andrew Tyndall at February 29, 2008 7:54 AM | Permalink

Hey, we may be on the verge of coming up with a very profitable idea here. AMERICAN CANDIDATE!

The politicians already go on late-night shows and even anounce their campaigns on The Daily Show fergawdssake. I don't think many would shrink from participating in an actual, formal reality show structured around the campaign if the alternative was passing up free air time.

And having someone like Simon Cowell question the candidates would give us voters a not only a more entertaining show but also a more informative one than the way Tim Russert does it.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at February 29, 2008 8:46 AM | Permalink

Good topic, interesting stuff, but for others trying to learn the blogging folkways, a question: Why did you kick this off with a letter to Romenesko? You're a real press critic (right?) as opposed to amateurs like us who pop off in letters. Does this approach generate more views? Or is it more likely to make it onto the page, as opposed to Jim's selective eye in the middle column?

Posted by: John Maggs at February 29, 2008 9:06 AM | Permalink

Jim's "selective eye" is the same for all sections of Romenesko: center column, left rail, letters. It's all up to him. He picks and chooses what works for his site, as it should be.

I made it a letter to Romenensko because some of the people who might have good answers visit that site several times a day, so the letters column is a good way of asking them my question directly. ("Hey, help me out here...") It was Jim's decision to run it. It was his decision to also mention it on the left rail. I knew that if he got any really answers, he would run them as letters, which might bring more answers.

Then I made my letter a blog post here because I have comments and he does not, and so that other bloggers--like Brad Delong, who follows things with the Times--could pick it up, probably via RSS.

The headline is key there: "Three Vetting Stories Went Awry at the New York Times: Find the Pattern." (Hmmm...which three?) In this case, I spent more time on the headline than the post.

I didn't have to do it that way. Just thought it would work. One small detail: My letter to Romenesko gave him the link to PressThink to use with my name, the From JAY ROSEN part, as against an email address. That sends people here to comment. Cheers.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 29, 2008 9:29 AM | Permalink

From Brad Delong's joint. Just a piece of the puzzle, but I think he is on to something.

Christopher Colaninno writes:

Candidates create narratives of themselves, which are almost necessarily not wholly accurate portrayals of themselves. I think the media gets tripped up when they can establish that candidates narratives are not accurate in someway (Clinton’s marriage is “complicated”, Obama’s friends don’t remember him exactly the way his portrayed himself in his book, McCain is obviously not some shinning light of integrity, that tells lobbyists shove off every time they ask for a favor), but they can’t actually create a definite narrative of their own because they lack the facts or on the record sources.

They’re committed to the process of anti-veneration and creating an alternative narrative for these political figures, but they don’t actually have the goods. So they write these half baked stories, not realizing that they’re narrative is a lot easier balloon to pop then what any of the candidates have put out there.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 29, 2008 3:50 PM | Permalink

Well, if they can't get hard info with which to pop balloons, they ought to find another line of work.

If they try, without the info, they ought to find another line of work.

And if they spend considerably more time on popping conservative/repub balloons than dem/lib balloons, they ought to explain themselves to, at least, Prof. Rosen.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at February 29, 2008 4:58 PM | Permalink

Well, speaking of patterns:

The NYT had to 'fess up to screwing the pooch about a tv station in Alabama going off the air at the behest of a rethuglican owner. They lied.

Ditto CBS in another pre-election hit piece about Rovian machinations, mysterious informants who, although actually visible unlike Lucy Ramirez, are not all they're advertised to be, reversed timing.

I suppose Prof. Rosen can say if they all do it, it can't be so bad.

I dunno how many fallback positions he has, but his buds in the media are making things tough for him. No gratitude. But, as Stalin said, gratitude is a disease of dogs.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at March 1, 2008 11:28 AM | Permalink

Internet is the top source of news for nearly half of Americans; Survey finds two-thirds dissatisfied with the quality of journalism (Zogby/WeMedia)

Posted by: Tim at March 2, 2008 12:40 PM | Permalink

The Shorenstein Memo (pdf)

Our democracy depends upon the fourth estate to fulfill the uniquely critical role of informing voters about the important issues facing our nation – yet far too often, the campaign coverage has been biased, blasé, or baseless.

There have been so many high-profile episodes, including the widespread touting of inaccurate polling, the controversial New York Times story on McCain, extensive coverage of a photo of Obama that appeared on the internet, and a recent Saturday Night Live skit in which reporters were mocked for fawning over Obama.

Posted by: Tim at March 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Permalink

Long Winter for the Media, in which Jim Hoagland, columnist for the Washington Post, picks up where the last PressThink thread left off. How did it happen?

The scuffle between the New York Times and John McCain over the newspaper's slightly salacious and seriously undersourced account of the senator's ties to a female lobbyist also raises important questions about how turmoil in and around the newsroom may indirectly affect coverage.

I don't think the Times, one of the world's great newspapers, published its account out of political bias or for titillation. A better question is this: What effect did a string of well-publicized, morale-damaging crises in the newsroom, as well as the industry's darkening economic skies, have on the decision to print before the story was ready?

Good editors protect their staffs as fiercely as they prod and push them. Awarding prime front-page display to stories with heavy investments of sweat and resources is an important tool in lifting morale. The decision might have looked less urgent in a more confident, more settled newsroom.

Here's what he's saying: It used to be that tons of good reporting never made it into the (expensive!) newspaper, and editors kept everyone in line that way. Now in a new economy there is pressure on the editors to run the story if a lot of (expensive!) staff time was invested; and it's morale-sapping, as well as a sign of an investment gone bad, to conclude: sorry, people, we haven't got it. Editors are reluctant to do that. Maybe these pressures led to publishing a story that was "thin." Maybe the thinning out of the newsroom is responsible.

Matt Welch replied to that (he wrote a biography of McCain) at the Reason Magazine blog, Hit and Run:

It never ceases to amaze me how one of America's last classes of cradle-to-grave employees -- Hoagland's been WashPosting since before I was born -- publicly conflates its own late-breaking career insecurities with the very fate of capital-D Democracy, and expects the rest of us to weep along at home. Then, when the grandees screw the pooch, they either blame the customer or the very (shudder) idea of competition itself. How 'bout just doing a better job next time?

Which is what Clark Hoyt said.

At the end Hoagland said something more interesting, not about the McCain story.

History, of course, does not disclose its alternatives. But anyone who has been watching HBO's "The Wire" this year will understand why newsrooms might need morale-boosters now -- and how easily such attempts can misfire.

This magnificent dramatization of life in Baltimore's violent ghettos has systematically shown the failure of the city's police, schools, unions and politicians to deal with a modern urban crisis.

This final season focuses on a newsroom in turmoil and the broad failure of the city's media to reflect the corruption of the institutions they are supposed to cover. The grim results of that inattention show how power unused by the media is just as destructive as its misuse.

To me that is a truly provocative idea: Power unused by the media is just as destructive as its misuse.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at March 2, 2008 11:42 PM | Permalink

I don't think the Times, one of the world's great newspapers, published its account out of political bias or for titillation.


It's not that I don't believe it's possible for the above to be true. It's just that I don't think it's self-evident enough as to survive with no justification beyond "I think."

Refusing to even consider these possibilities long enough to explain why they're incorrect leaves the rest of the piece looking to me like an exercise in excuse-making for a decision that really was due to bias and/or titilation.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at March 3, 2008 1:57 PM | Permalink

Media Power: Who Is Shaping Your Picture of the World? By Robert Stein (p. 65)

It is a measure of the media's difficulties that they can be accused, on the one hand, of exercising a dangerous degree of power in our society and, on the other, of functioning without conviction or purpose - and, in both cases with some justice.

And yet ...
All of these shortcomings do exist: Corporate managers are preoccupied with commercial rather than social values; editors and executives are obsessed with their own appearance of infallibility, and many do practice editorial freedom in the narrowest rather than the broadest sense; middle-level supervisors are self-protecting and resistant to change; reporters and writers are susceptible to their own preconceptions and the seductions of those who hold power. And yet ...

Posted by: Tim at March 4, 2008 3:34 AM | Permalink

pretty sure it was intended to help strip away Obama's support by women, and, as David Brooks has wet-dreamed, to help pop the bubble of Obama-mania.

Posted by: Larry at March 5, 2008 4:11 PM | Permalink

I think there is good journalism and poor journalism, problem is the internet empowers some of the poor journalists.

Posted by: ryan at March 8, 2008 10:24 PM | Permalink

From the Intro