Blogger James O'Keefe's takedown of NPR is the latest incident in what appears to be a growing battle between conservative news outlets and the mainstream media, and raises questions about the future of news in America. Is partisan news what Americans want, and is it good for our democracy?
Midmorning is tackling the question with guests:
CW Anderson: Assistant professor of media culture at the College of Staten Island and a research fellow at Yale Law School and the New America Foundation.
Tom Rosenstiel: Founder and director of Project for Excellence in Journalism. He is co-author with Bill Kovach of "Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload."
I'm live-blogging the conversation. Please share your thoughts and I'll select the best ones to mention on air.
I don't think partisan news is a problem so much as partisan newsmen pretending to be non-partisan.
I am not especially bothered watching MSNBC or Fox any more than I am reading the New York Times or Wall Street Journal - you know where they stand and you can flavor their brew appropriately.
What's amazing about O'Keefe's videos is not so much the tactics he's using to generate the responses he's gotten, it's how up front he's been about the whole thing. He tells the ACORN people he's a pimp selling underage prostitutes, and they still want to help him. He tells the NPR reps he wants to give them Muslim Brotherhood money and they say they'll help him keep the donation anonymous. He is not presenting grey areas where people open themselves up to misinterpretation; he's handing them a little rope and then watching them hang themselves.
There's partisan and then there's partisan. It's normal to see patterns in the world.. to view current events in light of that which has come before is a natural human instinct.
The strong non-partisan outlook on the world requires a kind of detachment from reality, turning daily happenings into a meaningless stream of information with little purpose other than to amuse and entertain.
We should of course condemn deceptive, dishonest journalism, but I believe that the attempt to eradicate all traces of bias leads unacceptably to the situation I describe above.