I did watch some of last night’s Republican National Convention … and much more than just Governor Sarah Palins’ speech. I caught some of former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani and more of the bigwigs from the GOP.
So what struck me? Something I have heard a lot of lately that’s beginning to bother me to a a degree.
Consistently, there were references to the “liberal” media, the “left wing” media and the “media elite”. The insinuation is that the media has an agenda and has already chosen a candidate to be President and is pushing that agenda. This is not the first time I have heard that theory, but now I’m hearing it locally. I was at a party speaking to a politically-savvy person who basically believe that “we” in the media want Barack Obama to win and would slant a story to make that a reality.
First of all, please don’t include all of us in the “media” catagory. We are not the same. I don’t work in New York and I don’t travel in the same circles as other big-name journalists. Frankly, I don’t even like the word “journalist”. I’m a reporter who tries to tell a story and find balance in that story. I’m aware that there is a wide scope of people watching and to slant a story one way or the other does a disservice to our viewers.
As for “pushing” one candidate over another, I have already said I’m not sure who I’m voting for – and the events of the last week have not changed my mind. Who do I want to win? The person who is going to make my life, my community and my country better. Be it a Republican or a Democrat, I want the person that has my best interests in mind and who’s policies most closely reflect what I believe.
As I said, I hate when the media is grouped together as one homogeneous group. I work in local TV news. Unlike the networks, we serve a smaller, more intimate community. Our job is not advance ideology, but rather to search for the truth and when people in our community do wrong, hold their feet to the fire regardless of their political affiliation. When the Mayor does wrong and we go after him, it’s not because we are advancing the Republican cause. Bottom line, he is the Mayor and he has to be held accountable no matter what party he sides with.
If you want to say the “media” is biased, in my opinion, you should be slanted towards the “common man” or the “regular joe”. When I interview an official of note, I’m asking the questions the everyday person would have. When a we challenge public officials, we do it on behalf of the citizens.
However, in my opinion, it’s dangerous for any “news” outlet to take a slant or stand. MSNBC has clearly chosen the “liberal” lean and Fox News has staked out the “conservative” slant … and this has been done less through their news operation and more so through their “news analysts”. However, that commentary winds up painting a broad stroke over the entire outlet, even those who work at these cable news channels strictly as reporters.
As for me I like to think my political leanings, no matter what they may be, do not influence my reporting. The whole idea of reporting is to be factual, honest and straight-foward. Anything less would be a disservice to you.