white noise

by Jordan Green

News and views from inside the media bubble 


Piedmont Triad radio talker Britt Whitmire likes to mock Dan Rather and, granted, the cloak of “old-media dinosaur” hangs over retired CBS news anchor Dan Rather, who went down in flames around the time of George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign because of questions about the authenticity of documents related to the president’s Vietnam-era service in the National Guard. That said, I’m rather interested to hear what the old guy has to say. Mallary Jean Tenore at the Poynter Institute quotes Rather as saying current reporting focuses too much on the horse race and polling. (I think I’ve been hearing that since the late 1980s). A tried-and-true critique: “In many important ways, very big business is in bed with big government and whoever’s in Washington, whether it be Republicans or Democrats… and this seriously affects news coverage.” Political fact-checking is good, but doesn’t reach enough people: “This is what every good newspaper, every television station, every network ought to be doing. But in so many cases — it’s not unanimous, there are some exceptions — but by and large, this is not what they do. So often, particularly covering politics, enterprises that describe themselves as journalistic enterprises, in fact just become transmission belts.” And an expression of faith in our vocation: “An independent, a truly independent and truly free press, a fiercely independent but necessary press is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy, and it’s absolutely essential to our system.”