Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New York Times Staff Openly Critique (Their Own) Biased Journalism

It would be interesting to know whether the Occupy movement--particularly in New York City--has helped raise the awareness of New York Times employees who recently wrote an open letter to their boss calling for more honest and thorough news reporting by their publication.*  And for less bought-and-paid-for coverage of the news, with wealthy corporations calling the shots as the paper does its reporting.

The insight that the reporting of the mainstream media is bought and paid for by the 1% is, after all, hardly new.  And so it's remarkable that a significant number of reporters at one of the preeminent mainstream news publications in the land seem suddenly to have recognized the limitations of their publication's bought-and-paid-for perspective (and, implicitly, of the similar perspective of all mainstream media publications throughout the U.S.).

I tend to think that the Occupy movement, particularly insofar as it has impinged directly on the lives of many Times reporters in the past year in New York City, has definitely helped raise the consciousness of these journalists about the quality of their paper's news coverage.  There's nothing like comparing what you're seeing right on the ground on a daily basis with the misinformation your local paper is reporting to open your eyes to the way in which journalism often misrepresents the news.  And if it is the case that the Occupy movement may be having this impact, then I think it's possible to argue that the movement may have had a similarly strong critical impact in the past year in shifting the consciousness of many Americans who care about the flow of accurate information in our media outlets.

It's certainly time for folks working for the media to begin waking up to the damage the media do to our culture and political process when they're not responsible.  Just a little bit.

And if more such waking up doesn't happen soon, and if it's not effective insofar as it pushes successfully against the shoddy, partial coverage of the news in our media, we will likely not have a future in the U.S. Not as a viable democracy.

*Chris Morley is correct (see his comment below), when he notes that I've muddled what the Times staff wrote and what Russ Baker wrote in response.  I appreciate Chris for noting my mistake, and my apologies to readers for my slopping reading of the original--for which there is no excuse at all.

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