Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Strongest Impression Advocacy Journalism

"The sheer complexity of stories-in politics, science, economics-forced reporters more deeply into analytical writing." That's comments educator Conrad C. Fink on the rise of "advocacy journalism".

Bill Kovach, former editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, offers this candid comment about reporters who interview him: "The strongest impression I have is the extent to which reporters arrive in my office with a preconceived notion of the story they're going to write. The interview is based primarily on the effort to elicit information and response that fits into that story line."

Media professionals do not represent the members of society at large. Ellis Cose points out that those in the journalism trade do not represent all the public: "A recent survey by researchers at Indiana University found that two-thirds of working journalists were male and 95 percent were white. The average age was 32... at a time when the nation's population is growing older.

"Given that, it is all but inevitable that the press will often have a rather narrow view of events." Numerous studies in the past three decades have pointed out that media professionals tend as a group to lean to the left ideologically of what the general public believes.

William A. Rusher, in his book The Coming Battle for the Media, writes: "In recent decades, the principal media in the United States, responding to liberal intellectual trends once dominant but now much less so, have allied themselves with those political forces promoting liberal policies and have placed news reportage at the service of those policies."

At the beginning of the 1980s, a survey of 240 major media editors and reporters found that 48 percent believed the government should guarantee jobs, 68 percent thought the government should redistribute income from the rich to the poor and 88 percent felt the U.S. legal system favors the wealthy.

Ninety percent believed women have a right to an abortion, and 75 percent considered homosexuality morally acceptable. So how can you find the balance in what the media tell you?

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