Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When the media fails

Two instances, in the past week or so, when media has failed. One, with the Deseret News. The other with every major TV news outlet, including CNN, MSNBC, and FOX.
The second one first. David Barstow, of the New York Times, wrote two articles describing how retired generals, who worked for TV and radio outlets as analysts on the war, were not reliable sources. Those two articles won a Pulitzer. And the major TV news outlets have not made a peep. Not even when the allegations in the article were investigated by Congress. The whole subject is taboo.
Why?
It reflects badly on the TV news outlets if their employees, these retired generals, are shown to be unreliable sources.
But, in my eyes, not reporting this reflects even more badly.
The two prize-winning articles are here and here.

The other instance where media fails--an LDS missionary is arrested in the Cincinnati airport. He's a good missionary, done with his mission, planning on going home, and ICE picks him up. He's not in the country legally.
The Salt Lake Tribune picks up on the story, and interviews church officials including Elder Holland about the missionary and church policy regarding undocumented missionaries.
The Deseret News doesn't mention it. At all.
Recently, the Deseret News has claimed that it is becoming more Mormon. Its new audience is LDS people worldwide, and not just in Utah. This article would be the perfect example of something that would interest LDS members throughout the US. But the only newspaper that's picked up on it (that I know of) is the Salt Lake Tribune. Those members who read Deseret News to pick up on events in the LDS world have to find out about this story elsewhere. By refusing to even mention this story, Deseret News's reliability, in my eyes, plummets.
Any thoughts on why Deseret News would not publish this story?
In any case, it's becoming more and more clear to me that people who wish to be informed cannot rely on a narrow area of media to be informed. Different media outlets have different reasons for publishing or suppressing certain information. So if you get all of your news from the radio, or all of it from TV, or all of it from the Deseret News, it's time to branch out.

3 comments:

Chris said...

I quit taking the Deseret News after subscribing for 40 years. The news is either sensational, incorrectly researched, or, as your blog indicates, lacking in depth. How sad that an LDS sponsored newspaper cannot do a better job of reporting events accurately and honestly for its readers.

JorgenMan said...

All I can guess is that the Deseret News thought the story might somehow reflect poorly on the church. I don't think the story does reflect poorly on the church, but that's all I can come up with.

Tim said...

Yeah. That's my unfortunate conclusion too. Shame on the Deseret News.
I also think the story reflects well on the church.