Thursday, August 27, 2009

Media Concerns Again: Gene Lyons on Media's Slippery Connection to Truth

And, finally today, as a gloss on my reflections about the shoddy role the mainstream media played in covering the recent ELCA assembly, I’d like to take note of an here article by Gene Lyons at Salon today.

It’s called “The Media Can’t Handle the Truth.”

I’m struck in particular by Gene Lyons’ final statements in this piece:

Long under siege for "liberal bias," media careerists now find themselves confronted with people they see as passionate amateurs. True, fearless scrappers like my friend Joe Conason have always been around, and somebody like Paul Krugman -- a world-class economist who doesn't care what, say, MSNBC's Chris Matthews thinks of him -- can be very annoying.
But what's really driving these jokers up the wall is economic and intellectual competition from the Internet: people with first-class minds and a passion for truth that some of them can barely remember.

And so I renew the appeal I made to readers of this blog in the Bilgrimage posting to which I link above, to help me hold the feet of the mainstream media to the fire, particularly re: the media’s continued misleading reporting on the churches and the gay community. After reading Christina Capecchi’s here erroneous statement that the ELCA lowered its bar for the vote on ministry by gays in monogamous relationships, I notified the New York Times that Capecchi’s report was incorrect.

I have yet to hear from the New York Times in response to my notice. And I remain very disturbed by the articles that Patrick Condon published for the Associated Press during the conference. The links above will remind readers of what I find problematic in his articles.

The media can and should do better. And if it takes constant stings from citizen bloggers to hold them accountable, then so be it: let the stings keep coming. We have everything to gain as a society when we force the media to report accurately and in depth, and everything to lose when we don’t hold the media accountable.