William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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NAILING THE MEDIA.  GUILTY AS CHARGED:  Apparently, many of those terrible things we say about the media are true.  From The Hill:

To say there’s a disconnect between many journalists and the public they serve is a gross understatement, according to a new in-depth survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. 

Per Pew, 65 percent of the nearly 12,000 journalists surveyed say the media do a solid job of “covering the most important stories of the day” and reporting news accurately. But a solid majority of the American public at large has the opposite view, with just 35 percent feeling the same way. That’s a 30-point perception gap. 

When asked if journalists perform well when “serving as a watchdog over elected leaders,” 52 percent of journalists agreed. But the number dropped precipitously again when the general public was asked, with less than 3 in 10 agreeing with the assessment. 

When asked if journalists manage and correct misinformation consistently, 43 percent of those in the industry said yes, while just 25 percent of the general public agreed. 

Almost half (46 percent) of journalists said they felt connected to their readers and viewers, while just one-quarter of the public says they feel connected to the media outlets from which they get their news. 

So why the disconnect? Perhaps it’s like the old saying about the key to good real estate: Location, location location. Most of the national media are located in two places: New York City and Washington, D.C. 

In the 2020 election, just 9 percent of Manhattan voters voted for Donald Trump. In D.C., the Trump support was just 5.4 percent, underscoring that those who live in or near these cities exist in overwhelmingly liberal silos. It’s only human nature that a journalist’s perception of issues will generally conform to the places and people with whom he works and lives.

Longtime newsman Bob Schieffer dove into this subject a few years back, explaining just how insulated journalists have become.

“In 2004, one reporter in eight lived in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles,” Schieffer notes in his must-read book “Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News.” “That number is now down to one-in-five who live in those three places.”

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  A well-reported story, though I can't be shocked by the findings.  The press tilts leftward, and a great deal of damage is done by that tilt.  First, the perception of bias diminishes public belief in the press.  In a true national emergency, that can be catastrophic.

Joseph Pulitzer set the standard in the 20th century, trying to establish a press that would report "without fear or favor."  That standard is largely gone, replaced by something we started to see in the 1960s – a press made up of people who think their job is not to report the news, but to create a better society, one with liberal values. 

When the story of our time is written by historians, and if it is a story of a diminishing nation, I believe that the historians will attribute a great deal of the decline to an egotistical, underinformed press that has forgotten its true mission.  Sad.

June 22, 2022