Glenn Reynolds has some good observations about journalism and public perceptions of the media. He’s feeding off an E&P story that reports the public’s low opinion of the news business is at pre-9/11 levels.
Then the story seems to drift into a discussion of how the public doesn’t like the press to ask “tough questions.” But I think that misses the point. The public doesn’t like the press asking dumb-but-slanted questions and pretending that they’re tough questions.
Reynolds is dead on right here. It is excruciating for any one who has ever been a truly professional journalist to watch the Washington press corps work a press conference. The inanities, the misinformation, the lack of erudition of important issues, the snootiness, the obvious bias, the contempt for the American people – it all seeps through. You wonder how these people get their jobs, but then you realize that the East Coast journalism elite has become such a closed society that these poor people and their editors are basically clueless. They think they are being clear-headed and objective. They just don’t know any better.
But you become a weblogger because, fundamentally, you think the press is important, and you love what it does enough to hate to see sloppy and biased work — which unfortunately, you see a lot of even in the elite media.
I quibble here: You become a weblogger not because you think the press is important – you become a blogger because you think NEWS is important.
It is interesting to me just what news bloggers think is important when compared to what the media elite treats as important. When is the last time you found a blogger giving wall-to-wall coverage to the kidnapping of pre-teen waifs? Or taking the Chandra Levy case seriously? Bloggers tend to be much more concerned about real news, real issues, such as Iraq, or what the EU is up to, or what’s in the water we’re drinking or whether there’s life on Mars. We don’t spend a lot of time debating the relevance of how many miles George Bush jogs each morning.
If you spend much time reading blogs, you get an entirely different picture of what’s going on in the world than if you just watch CNN, or even Fox, all day.
If the media started paying more attention to what bloggers found important, they might be surprised that both their ratings and their standing in public opinion would go up.