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Partisan's, propagandists, and lackeys?

"The Change You’ll Get-
Americans will finally learn what Barack Obama really believes and really wants"
November 05, 2008, National Review By Clifford D. May

In another era, the mainstream media might have seen it as their duty to probe deeply and reveal to the public as much about Obama as they could. But the days of a fiercely independent, disinterested, tough-but-fair press are over. Too many American journalists have become partisans, propagandists, and lackeys.

This description by May neatly sums up the feelings held by many about the state of affairs in mainstream journalism today. It recalls an earlier era that he implies was better- the good old days when objectivity and even-handedness held sway. When both sides of a story could be presented so the public could make an informed decision about the candidates based on facts-the CBS and New York Times facts, not the Fox News kind of facts. Back when there were three television networks and several hundred or so twice-a-day newspapers and scores of reporters working for those papers and their many, many owners.

His description is a simplistic one, of course. It doesn't take into account the extraordinary changes that have occurred in the world of the news media over the last 50 years, hell, the last ten years, as the Internet came into its own and the media of yesteryear he so longs for failed to adjust. Or the consolidation of news media ownership to a few huge companies whose primary interest was milking higher profits out of already profitable newspapers, not promoting the kind of news and reporters he remembers. And his description implicates him as part of the problem- it is a self-serving description he uses to chide the media for not doing its job in probing into the liberal candidate's actions and background, not mentioning the same treatment he wishes for Obama should be applied to the conservative candidate, McCain.

Of course, I am reading a lot into a short segment of a much longer piece (see the whole article here), but my points are valid nonetheless. The changing climate of the news media in general and journalism in particular cannot be summed up so simply. It treats a very serious and complicated issue with too little respect for both the profession of journalism and the democracy it has long protected.