Sunday, July 02, 2006
Newsworthy: A Definition?
Recently, the Bush Administration has been attacking The New York Times for a story revealing a method of tracking terrorists involving the monitoring of American bank transactions. For more about this, visit the following link.
I bring up the subject, not as a criticism of the Bush administration, but to discuss the role of media in America.
Let me preface with this thought: the war on terror is a new kind of war. While elements of it can be seen in past conflicts, protecting America from a seemingly invisible enemy is untrodden terroritory. While I am no proponent of President Bush, I do sympathize with the difficulty of governing a post 9/11 America.
However, I am surprised at the reaction and attitude many have about media news outlets. While the treatment of this new type of war is new territory for government, it is the people's right to know what government is doing. The press help to do this.
In a sentence, I'm surprised that many accuse media of being "liberal" while heralding Fox News as being "fair and balanced."
While The Progressive is an extremely left-wing machine, there is an article there that helps to articulate a portion of my point: that media helps us to keep government in check.
There has been more coverage about whether The New York Times was wrong to print the story than there has been about the process of making the decision. Why is this? Because a story of the process is not "newsworthy".
Few readers know what "newsworthy" means, and unfortunately, many more think they know what "newsworthy" is. For a brief definitions visit this link.
I am proud American media is professional enough to apply the same standards they use for government on themselves.
While it is certainly true that not all media are professional, it is completely wrong to accuse all media of being liberal. In fact, I think it's wrong to even say that media is mostly liberal. If media uses the definition for newsworthy that I listed above, than media cannot be liberal or conservative.
The reporting of NSA wiretapping was accused of being liberally biased. The reporting of the NSA phone database was accused of being liberally biased. Now, the reporting of the government monitoring bank transfers is being called by some, liberal undermining.
This is not a discussion on whether the recent controversial report by the NYT was good or not. It is the defense of an institution that helps us watch government. While there certainly needs to be a balance, if I had the ugly choice of a press that was censored by government or a free press, I would choose the latter.
Posted by Peter Nguyen at 10:19 PM