The German newspaper called Deutsche Welle posted a story last Thursday about the American media. The headline of the story was “US journalists trade independence for access.” The article points out that in Germany it is not unusual to require authorization before interviews can be published, but that America is moving in that direction.
The article reports:
But in the United States, the balance of power between the journalist and the politician has increasingly shifted in favor of the latter. According to a July 15 report by Jeremy W. Peters of the New York Times, political journalists in Washington are increasingly trading their editorial independence for high-level access to members of the Obama administration.
Quotes gleaned from administration officials by a reporter are not just reviewed by the publication’s editor, they are often sent to the very same officials for approval – and even redaction – before going to print.
According to Stephen Ward, there is a growing and unhealthy “pressure on journalists and … on news organizations to get the story, to be first, to be the first tweet.”
“The officials who know this are quite aware that in this era of 24 hours news, access is king,” Ward, the director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told DW. “This is just a game of access – it’s as old as journalism.”
Access may partially explain the leftward tilt of American journalism, but I think there is also another explanation. Since the 1960’s our colleges have shifted to the political left. They have reflected the political and social upheaval of that time. The professors of today are often the students of that era or were educated after the our college campuses turned left. The inmates are running the asylum.
The article concludes:
Ultimately, journalists must assume much of the responsibility for the weakening of their editorial independence, according to Ward. He argues that they have increasingly bought into a partisan political game that revels in scandal at the sake of context.
“We are never going to get rid of all the tweets and the 24-hour business – all the fast-food journalism that we are seeing,” Ward said. “But we can at the core of political discourse maintain certain sources of news and analysis that are informed and not breathless – (that are) thoughtful.”
Our republic depends on a honest mainstream media. It is distressing that at this time we have to turn to the alternative media for the truth.