Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
On the other hand, I think it is even MORE dangerous to try to convince America that our Fifth Estate can never be trusted and should be routinely ignored.
Well, Ron, I certainly don't have the power to convince the American public of anything....and, even if I could, I wouldn't because I do believe that there are decent, responsible newsmen out there. Unfortunately it is the Fifth Estate that is doing the convincing. With the reports of reporters caught making up stories, to Rather and his foibles, to this example of the violence in New Orleans, to many other examples over the years people are regarding the news with a much more jaundiced eye than before, I believe. Walter Kronkite is not around any more to be believed in.
With regards to New Orleans, I don't believe the only result sought after was the selling of more papers. I believe that painting the events with the blackest strokes possible fit the agenda of the day - making everything look as horrible as possible, which would, in turn, relate to FEMA which would, in turn, relate to Bush. Does that blame the reporters? No, the agenda-makers sit much higher than that and they dictate which way the news is going to go. Although I would never be able to prove it, I feel 100% certain that if Clinton or a Democratic president were sitting in the oval office, the reports would have been completely different.
I agree with you that the public does share some of the blame. It's drilled into our heads from birth not to believe every we hear or read (and only half of what we see). What sticks in my craw is our inaccurate news which spreads to the rest of the world. They DO believe what they read in our papers and judge us based on those reports. I feel that responsibility in journalism should take that into consideration....