[digg-reddit-me]Last week Campbell Brown provided a perfect example of the total abdication of the main responsibility of the press in a short piece in which she discussed the debate over whether or not the stimulus had worked or was working. The story was done in a perfectly formulated “he said, she said” manner in which she made no attempt to perform her basic job as a journalist: figuring out who is right and who is not.
It is hard to think of a more basic description of what the job of a journalist is than to say, “He or she should try their best to state the facts, and when there is controversy to try to get to the bottom of it.” Brown though is clearly happy to merely play clips of two different sides saying entirely opposing things, and then to smirk and hold herself above these individuals by taking no position whatsoever. It is on the shoals of this irresponsibility that our public policy debates will be run aground:
Someone here is right; someone is wrong; and there are various sets of facts out there backing up each side. Showing these clips like this – without delving into the actual policy questions accomplishes nothing.
Of course, someone might take the position that there was limited time on the air – and Brown didn’t have time to go into the details of the actual debate. And you’re right. Brown needed time for this great montage a few minutes later:
At the end of this segment, it’s easy to see how Obama is personally so popular and why his policies are less so. The policies are ignored on this serious news show while his coolness under the pressure of an annoying gnat are replayed once again.
Regardless of your position on the political spectrum, an actual discussion of policy in which facts were discussed rather than accusations traded would be to everyone’s benefit.