The arrogant media


New York Times op—ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof is shocked, shocked, shocked and pained, pained, pained to learn that  Americans of all backgrounds, "not just right—wingers who distrust the media these days,"
he condescendingly adds, are wary of the media.
His easy assumption that right wingers were part of the problem is part of the problem. He automatically assumes that conservatives are marginal to society because they just don't get it.  But he further notes, in a tone of amazement, 
"the one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is that the news media are not trustworthy." 
And thus he decides it is time for the media "to reconnect with the public."  How?

More openness, more willingness to run corrections, more ombudsmen, more acknowledgement of our failings — those are the kinds of steps that are already under way and that should be accelerated. It would help if news organizations engaged in more outreach to explain themselves, with anchors or editors walking readers through such minefields as why we choose to call someone a "terrorist," or how we wield terms like "pro—life" or "pro—choice."

Yes, the public is so dumb that walk throughs are needed; so much for reconnection.  What about following through on the former suggestions of openness and acknowledging failings?  Or how about clarity? 

And of course

We also need more diverse newsrooms. When America was struck by race riots in the late 1960's, major news organizations realized too late that their failure to hire black reporters had impaired their ability to cover America.

But at least he also advocates philosophical diversity as well.

In the same way, our failure to hire more red state evangelicals limits our understanding of and ability to cover America today.

I think we're nuts not to regulate handguns more strictly, but I also think that gun owners have a point when they complain that gun issues often seem to be covered by people who don't know a 12—gauge from an AR—15.

Will this restore the public's trust?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  With all the new media resources available, the answers to that question may not be  important, except to the news media people themselves.  But if some of these correctives are put into place that will be a start.  And media people won't come across as "arrogant." 

Ethel C. Fenig   4 13 05