From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age? #544505-04531

Submission Number:
Russell Cook
Initiative Name:
From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
The question the FTC poses here seems to have a fundamental fault in its premise that mainstream journalism is dying as a result of general disinterest or ease of access to the internet, thus a need to somehow bolster it. In simply looking at the evidence of the soaring ratings of the Fox News Channel and radio stations carrying conservative talk shows, it is plain to see the reason for mainstream journalism's slow demise: it's their unwelcome liberal bias. Sophisticated viewers and listeners are not stupid, and it has become abundantly obvious to many that mainstream journalism is no longer a reliable source of balanced news. I present one very clear problem illustrating that in my piece at American Thinker titled "The lack of climate skeptics on PBS's 'Newshour'": The NewsHour has not had skeptic scientists on their program to rebut IPCC scientist guests in 15+ years. As many longtime NewsHour viewers can tell you, the program's trademark is its one-side / other-side discussions of current events. Jim Lehrer spoke specifically about that on his 12/4/09 program when he outlined his own guidelines for journalism which included "Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story." Regarding the global warming issue, the NewsHour has NOT followed this practice, a problem I began noticing back in the early part of the last decade. The online PBS Ombudsman helped me pose my concern in a very public manner to the senior producer for national affairs at the NewsHour not once (the above A.T. piece describes the first time), but TWICE - see the second time here, scroll down to the heading "More on Climate Change": Notice how Ombudsman Getler acknowledges the NewsHour producer has yet to provide him with a reply to my questions. The FTC should not be attempting to figure out how to save an entity that seems destined on their own self destruction, it should instead be asking, "how can the public make informed decisions when such a huge issues receive only one-sided reporting?" ---- Or if that question doesn't fall under FTC regulation, it should drop this current concern about journalism altogether.