Interesting bit of navel gazing in this piece, given that NYMag float within and did not look far outside its own East Coast bubble.
In interviews with more than 40 journalists and media figures and in a survey of 113 of our peers, we heard much about deals cut with anonymous sources, the pressure for speed and easy hits that squeezes the nuance out of complicated stories, editors who knowingly simplified stories past the point of accuracy and publishers who spent resources on subjects they believed were trivial rather than those they felt were important. At times, the survey’s answers read like the minutes from an anonymous group-therapy session.
Tucker Carlon’s appearance as a major opinion quoted in their survey confirms this bias — and yet I find myself agreeing with him on his quote about that very problem:
The real problem with journalism is groupthink. My father was a journalist — he never graduated from high school, he joined the Marines as a 17-year-old and then went to work at the L.A. Times. It was not a profession; it was a trade, and you had a whole diverse field of people entering it. Now, for a bunch of reasons — and this is the problem with American society more broadly, in my view — it’s just a masturbatorium, filled with people who think exactly the same, who are from the same backgrounds, who have the same assumptions about everything. And you get a much less interesting product when you have that. And you also get a lot of fearful people. A lot of people who are too dumb to go into finance, so they went into journalism instead. And they get older and they realize, ‘I’ve got tuitions, and this is actually a pretty shaky business model on which to build a career,’ and they just become unwilling to take any risk at all. When was the last time you saw anybody in the press — except the fringe press — really write a piece that challenged the assumptions of their neighbors? That would actually make their friends in Brooklyn avert their gaze?
— TUCKER CARLSON, founder and editor in chief of the Daily Caller
Major highlight points:
1. News is an entertainment business, even if it pretends otherwise.
2. So it doesn’t know how to handle serious issues.
3. Gets addicted to conflict.
4. Loves simple heroes.
5. And simple villains.
6. Reduces complexity to comfortable narratives.
7. And is desperate to be respected, which produces blindness.
8. Journalists are easily bored…
9. …Especially by good news.
10. Unfortunately, so are readers, who are hard-wired for panic.
11. Which editors, producers, and publishers know.
12. Journalists are deluded…
13. More cynical than their readers…
14. Rush their work…
15. Believe popular opinion is all that matters…
16. …And are completely comfortable cutting deals.
17. And it’s not just in politics.
18. Often journalists think they know the story before they report it.
19. And are no longer protected from market forces.
20. The media is also clueless about its audience (and country).
21. Which brings us to Donald Trump.
22. His campaign was catnip to the partisan outrage machine.
23. And everybody was transfixed by the spectacle.
24. And obsessed with the incredible horse race.
25. Including the public.
26. But gorging on Trump coverage didn’t actually mean coming to terms with him.
27. Later, the journalists who tried harder to call out Trump (by fact-checking him, for instance) weren’t very effective.
28. Not that that is really anything new.
29. Whomever the subject, the press can be cruel.
30. And selective in its cruelty.
31. And things can get very personal.
32. Reporters are obsessed with gaffes.
33. Can be horrible to women, even when they are trying to be kind.
34. They can also be lascivious, when they aren’t being outright lewd.
35. And ruthless in their pursuit of “the get.”
36. Then, typically, they just move on.
37. And then there’s the problem of “objectivity.”
38. And “bias,” of course.
39. Plus general media ignorance.
40. And the way media is consumed helps all-out charlatans flourish, too.
41. (Not that these complaints are unprecedented.)
42. The media’s lost power, and coziness with its subjects, serves the celebrity industrial complex …
43. …Political operations…
44. …Big business…
45. …And start-ups too.
46. Who owns things is a major problem, too, whether it’s a giant corporation…
47. Or an unsavory individual.
48. Social media rules everything now.
49. And it does enclose everybody in customized-news silos.
50. (Even though, often, those silos are at war with one another.)
51. And yet it has also reinvigorated things.
52. Particularly by diversifying things.
53. But also by giving people what they want.
The Transcripts: A Master Class in What’s Wrong (and Right) With the Media by Those In the Know
Marc Ambinder — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/marc-ambinder-problem-with-media.html
David Auerbach — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/david-auerbach-problem-with-media.html
Dean Baquet — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/dean-baquet-problem-with-media.html
Kurt Bardella — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/kurt-bardella-problem-with-media.html
Ross Barkan — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/ross-barkan-problem-with-media.html
Matt Bradley — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/matt-bradley-problem-with-media.html
Steven Brill — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/steven-brill-problem-with-media.html
Tucker Carlson — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/tucker-carlson-problem-with-media.html
Kathy Chaney — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/kathy-chaney-problem-with-media.html
Ana Marie Cox — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/ana-marie-cox-problem-with-media.html
Nick Denton — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/nick-denton-problem-with-media.html
Kai El’ Zabar — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/kai-el-zabar-problem-with-media.html
Masha Gessen — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/masha-gessen-problem-with-media.html
Glenn Greenwald — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/glenn-greenwald-problem-with-media.html
Sheila Hagar — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/sheila-hagar-problem-with-media.html
Michael Hirsh — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/michael-hirsh-problem-with-media.html
Clover Hope — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/clover-hope-problem-with-media.html
Arianna Huffington — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/arianna-huffington-problem-with-media.html
Bill Keller — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/bill-keller-problem-with-media.html
Dahlia Lithwick — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/dahlia-lithwick-problem-with-media.html
Alexis Madrigal — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/alexis-madrigal-problem-with-media.html
Daniel McCarthy — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/daniel-mccarthy-problem-with-media.html
Allen Montgomery — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/allen-montgomery-problem-with-media.html
Soledad O’Brien — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/soledad-obrien-problem-with-media.html
Daniel Okrent — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/daniel-okrent-problem-with-media.html
Jay Rosen — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/jay-rosen-problem-with-the-media.html
Gary Schwitzer — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/gary-schwitzer-problem-with-media.html
Jeff Sharlet — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/jeff-sharlet-problem-with-the-media.html
Sabrina Siddiqui — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/sabrina-siddiqui-problem-with-media.html
David Simon — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/david-simon-problem-with-media.html
Tavis Smiley — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/tavis-smiley-problem-with-media.html
Ben Smith — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/ben-smith-problem-with-media.html
Jamil Smith — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/jamil-smith-problem-with-media.html
Margaret Sullivan — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/margaret-sullivan-problem-with-media.html
Kara Swisher — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/kara-swisher-problem-with-media.html
Gay Talese — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/gay-talese-problem-with-media.html
Jonah Weiner — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/jonah-weiner-problem-with-the-media.html
Erik Wemple — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/erik-wemple-problem-with-the-media.html
Michael Wertheim — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/michael-wertheim-problem-with-media.html
Jeanne Wolf — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/jeanne-wolf-problem-with-media.html
Bob Woodward — http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/bob-woodward-problem-with-media.html