Is There Hope for the MSM?

First, let me say most measurements of change are relative; we naturally compare “what is” to “what was.” Therefore, a disclaimer: when noting a few relatively minor instances of fairness, they must be viewed in the context of the MSM’s usual 100 percent support of the leftist agenda.

The day after the attack at the Family Research Council (FRC), ABC actually reported the attacker’s political and social leanings; it turns out Floyd Corkins harbored beliefs contrary to those of the FRC’s Christian advocacy stance. CBS even acknowledged the FRC spokesperson’s accusation that the Southern Poverty Law Center was complicit in the attack by virtue of its designation of the FRC as a ‘hate group.’

Of course, other MSM outlets ignored the story or failed to mention Corkins’ background.

Also, after being skewered earlier in the week for using leftist blog site talking points during an interview, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien pressed Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Cleaver casually dismissed Joe Biden’s ‘chains’ comment, but O’Brien strongly challenged Cleaver’s position.

Yes, it actually happened.

NBC’s Brian Williams appeared on Jon Stewart’s show. Amidst the frivolous discussion about Paul Ryan’s physique and teenage employment, Stewart asked the ever pompous Williams if/when more substantive issues would be addressed by the media. Williams replied with an flippant comment about Ryan driving the Wiener Mobile.

At least Stewart tried.

ABC News’s Jake Tapper took a shot at Obama, noting the president’s two month avoidance of the national press corps. Apparently piqued at Obama’s evasiveness, Tapper pointed out the president did find time to give interviews to People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight.

Would Tapper have posted this blog two years ago?

Okay, I know it’s not much; a stretch at best. But, recall my disclaimer, change is relative. More important than the number of defections are the reasons for them.

Of course, the individual explanations may tell all. ABC wanted to get the jump on its competition with the FRC story. O’Brien needed to rebuild her creds after the blog talking points embarrassment. Stewart believed he needed to get serious for a moment. Tapper’s ego was bruised.

But, could there be more to it?

I’m not predicting the MSM will have epiphanies exceeding biblical proportions. The MSM will not undergo an Ebenezer Scrooge-like awakening.

However, for purely selfish reasons, personal, professional and financial, we may see some in the MSM throw in a few more instances of real, fair journalism.

Some in the MSM will soon face a decision. Although they created the Obama train now running off the tracks, will they ride the train to oblivion? The hardcore ideologues, of course, will happily do so. However, are there some in the MSM who recognize an impending train wreck and jump off? Is there a point where professional credibility trumps ideology?

More likely, however, financial pressure will drive change, even if the changes appears tiny.

Excepting NPR, of course, the MSM eventually must ‘follow the money.’ CNN is dying. The broadcast networks’ news divisions are less than shadows of their former selves. Major newspapers, most notably the New York Times, are hurting. MSNBC’s core viewers are a small and not particularly affluent demographic.

Eventually, the boards of directors and shareholders lose patience.

As an eternal optimist, perhaps I am engaging in delusional wishful thinking. Then, again, perhaps not.

Author Bio:

graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Rodney authored “Leading Your Business to the Next Level,” a non-fiction business book in 2005. “Powers Not Delegated” is Rodney’s first foray into fiction; the book meshes his knowledge of history, business and current events to produce a relevant and plausible tale of domestic and international intrigue. Additionally, Rodney writes political commentary on his own blog and for other nationally known blogs/websites. Rodney lives in Atlanta. His passions include hiking, photography, history, reading, and, of course, University of Georgia football.
  • Uncle Dave

    Granted Fox News is slanted Right. “Fair and Balanced” is more of a goal than a truism. But they have to be, to a point, to counter the vast monopoly that is CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

    Being the instructor at a gun store we had a local TV reporter come in for a story back in the Clinton “assault-weapons ban” years. She interviewed the owner, the manager and came to me. I wouldn’t speak to her in camera. When she asked why I told her I didn’t think they would portray an accurate story. She proceeded to tell me how “unbiased” she was. I told her that being unbiased is near imposable for a human, and I added “as soon as you and your editor choose a lead story you’re demonstrating the importance of one story over another. I appreciate you “thinking” you’re not biased, but we all are, in one degree or another.

  • Elaine Coyle

    Sadly, I think the MSM  liberal bias is still very strong. I live in Southern a mid-size city, that has a Gannett newspaper.It almost seems as if its very  existence depends
    on destroying the Republican Governor.This is a red state yet, daily, there are at least
    3-5 stories attacking him or one of his projects.
    We have suffered a decline in state funds & cuts have to be made but they are all blamed on him.
    Each article shows a person, affected by the cuts,& how much they will suffer
    if they are made.You can almost hear the violins playing.It is sickening.

  • Ahalbert

    Sorry. Members of the MSM have done too much to be forgiven. I’m done watching or reading them. If they change, it will be out of  opportunism. They didn’t practice the ethics they supposedly believe in, and in so doing have poisoned the goodwill of the profession. There’s no difference between an MSM journalist, a malpractice lawyer, or a used car salesman at this point. The MSM will be ultimately be absorbed into cable and Internet vehicles.

  • sjangers

    I don’t expect the mainstream media to have an epiphany of Biblical or Dickensian proportions either, Rodney, but even a little one would be nice.  Maybe something on the morning after order of the “oh god, I have to clean up all those empty bottles, cigarette butts and pizza crusts, and Why Is There A Goat In My Bed?!” variety would be nice.

  • wally

    I guess there is hope for some of them. If so, I’ll start to watch the ones that do change and rejoice.

  • Brhurdle

    There are two elements to the opinion apparatus of the US which is comprised totally of “self appointed intellectuals” – MSM and educational institutions. Both are overwhelmingly dominated by ardent liberals that do not tolerate opposing opinions. While commercial media may be vaguely influenced by the requirements of profitability, educational institutions are exempt from this rationality. Given the cultural influence exerted by ingrained liberal management, it is unlikely that liberal bias will disappear without revolutionary events.

  • R Page

    Postscript: Referencing speculation in the commentary regarding ‘following the money, Comcast may be wising up…RP  
    http://www.deadline.com/2012/08/tonight-show-lays-off-20-staffers-jay-leno-takes-pay-cut-to-save-jobs/