More photos from Iraq
: Zeyad has new photos from Basrah.
by Jeff Jarvis
The case for media bias
: Tim Rutten, the media critic of the LA Times, gets it wrong in so many ways.
Writing this weekend about media impartiality, he says the coming election is “a referendum not only on America’s political future but also on the direction of its news media.”
At issue is the question being posed with increasing frequency by right- and left-wing partisans: Have the American media simply failed in their decades-long effort to separate facts from opinions and to make impartial reporting the governing ethic of their news columns? Or, alternatively, has American society’s changed nature simply made the whole project irrelevant?
Or, alternatively, are American media finally and simply catching up to the reality of what their audiences want?
You see, for years and years, it was assumed that American TV viewers wanted really dumb sitcoms because that’s all that networks fed them and that’s all they watched. But when, at long last, viewers were given quality choices — Cosby (in his early years only), Hill St. Blues, Cheers — they watched the quality shows.
News consumers in the U.S. have been fed only attempts at impartiality or objectivity. But now they have choices; they can watch FoxNews and read the Guardian and click on weblogs — and they do. So perhaps all along, that’s what news consumers have wanted: not dull attempts at impartiality but perspective honestly revealed, bias admitted, opinion included.
Rutten gets one thing right: Bias is a nonissue in most reporting:
There is a certain kind of bright but brittle mind that loves this sort of either/or thinking. What such minds cannot accept is the common-sensical notion that real life
Username: blog; Password: blog
: Glenn Reynolds is stomping his foot on the ground in frustration at the Hartford Courant’s registration. I understand and sympathize.
Now I’m in a bit of a conflict of interest here because the sites I work on do now require lite registration (the online equivalent of name, rank and serial number: zip code, age, and gender). I don’t mind that kind of effort if it helps a site that gives me free content build a better business — it does — and if I have to do it only once and if I don’t have to remember a user name and password.
If a blogger I liked asked me for such registration or even more, I’d probably do it in a flash out of personal loyalty (wouldn’t you?)
But like Glenn, when faced with the need to give blood type and sexual history and SAT scores and with the even more troubling need to try my feeble memory with another damned user name and password for a site I may visit once a year via a link, I often turn and run. Not worth it.
But I don’t face that problem with the LA Times’s onerous registration for a simple reason: I use the laexaminer username and laexaminer password so conveniently and generously created by Ken Layne (or was it Matt Welch?) long ago (and still used — see this Winds of Change post linking to the LAT today).
And so I’m surprised we haven’t seen people creating a universal username and password (blog/blog) for sites that demand onerous registration: Try to get into the site with the blog/blog combination; if it doesn’t work, register under that combination to do the next guy in a favor.
But do that just for sites you’re going to visit only occasionally. If you live in Hartford, you are, in fact, better off going through the full registration because you’ll probably get advertising and perhaps content that is, in fact, more useful to you. If you plan to speak in forums that require registration, you won’t want every Tom-Dick-and-Bozo speaking as you. But if you live in Knoxville, well, that’s just a pain.
: Pssst, Glenn: I just tried to get into the Courant site with laexaminer/laexaminer. It worked. Maybe that’s already the secret password everybody knows….