Topic: Accuracy in Media
Daniel Greenfield's Feb. 2 Accuracy in Media column is called "Fixing the News," but you can't fix something properly if you misdiagnose the problem.
Greenfield starts off by getting his facts wrong in claiming that a New York Times investigation of the Benghazi attack published in December had been discredited: "It did not take very long for a Senate report and other media outlets to shoot down the story which had left out information about the Al Qaeda links of the attackers, but did include a dubious claim that the attackers had been angry about a YouTube video." In fact, the article has not been discredited, and the Times reporter stands by the article.
But never mind the facts, Greenfield is on a roll:
There are things about the news that actually do need to be fixed and political bias tops the list.
Even though David Kilpatrick’s story was discredited shortly after it was published, Kilpatrick and the New York Times suffered no personal or professional consequences for a story that supported the administration’s line on Benghazi. That is markedly different from what happened to Lara Logan and 60 Minutes for airing a Benghazi report that the administration did not approve of.
Both stories suffered from errors, but while 60 Minutes was deceived, the New York Times did the deceiving. And yet Lara Logan has been denounced for journalistic malpractice, while hardly anyone in the media has criticized Kilpatrick for attempting to sell blatantly refried nonsense that had long ago been discredited and that not even the administration was willing to stand behind.
Despite claiming that "political bias" in reporting needs to be fixes, there's only particular side he's concerned about:
Serious news however comes with so much political context that it’s easier to just rewrite Think Progress or Media Matters content than to do any original reporting on a national or international issue. There is safety in numbers because it’s harder to lynch a reporter whose only crime is reworking an AP story that is based on a Media Matters email that is based on a White House press release.
Greenfield provides no evidence that any of this has ever happened. (Disclosure: I work for Media Matters.) Further, he appears to not be aware that the right-wing media actually does what he accuses the "liberal media" of doing -- for example, CNSNews.com's enthusiasm for shilling for the oil and gas industry.
Greenfield continues his rant:
The news is broken because it follows the left’s usual model of insider highbrow content and outsider lowbrow content. That same model destroyed art, literature and theater. Now it’s wiping out the news media. The general public gets cat videos, pop stars and stories about a Republican who said something racist. The insiders get endless analyses that read like a case of college sophomore arrested development accompanied by politically correct spin on the latest trends.
"Insider highbrow content and outsider lowbrow content"? That sounds like the Daily Caller, where right-wing politics shares space with pictures of hot babes. Yet Greenfield, to our knowledge, has not raised any objections to that.
Greenfield tries to end on an overused right-wing slam:
The news media has become just another outlet in the culture war of the left. Its business model can’t be fixed because it isn’t in business to make money, but to indoctrinate. It doesn’t care about the financial bottom line, but about the political bottom line. Its future is boutique journalism funded by liberal billionaires looking to influence policy by subsidizing failed media outlets that would otherwise go on the block for a buck just like Newsweek.
Meanwhile, right-wing journalism is boutique journalism funded by conservative billionaires looking to influence policy by subsidizing failed media outlets that would otherwise go on the block for a buck just like the Washington Times.