Lack of credibility has caused decline

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To the Editor:

Mr. Oberfest’s Jan. 31, 2019, editorial (Journalism 2019: Disruption roadkill) blames the closures and layoffs in the newspaper industry and in other news media on a number of economic and social phenomena; however, his analysis misses the point that these phenomena are themselves merely the symptoms of a much more dangerous disease. The actual cause for the downward spiral and ultimate collapse of many of the news organizations described by Mr. Oberfest is their decision to abandon traditional journalistic standards in favor of biased reporting calculated to promote an agenda of progressive policies and “political correctness.” This trend toward agenda-driven reporting in the news industry was documented as early as 2002 by William McGowan in his book titled “Coloring the News,” but it is most meticulously documented in his later work, “Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America.” As these two books show, many of the failing news organizations that Mr. Oberfest describes in his editorial find themselves in their lowly state not because of any external economic or social phenomena, but because their credibility and integrity have been repeatedly eroded by embarrassing journalistic scandals.

These agenda-driven news organizations are now “circling the drain,” as Mr. Oberfest describes it, precisely because their readers and subscribers have taken Mr. Oberfest’s advice to “read and watch [the media] critically”; and, as a result are abandoning these biased news organizations in droves. That dramatic decline in readership leads to a dramatic decline in advertising revenues, and that in turn brings on the drastic cost-cutting measures which Mr. Oberfest bemoans in his editorial. Yet these external economic problems are merely symptoms brought on by the underlying “disease” of deceptive reporting calculated to advance a vague agenda of “social justice” by any means. When that “disease” becomes systemic in a news organization, the integrity and credibility of that organization rot away from the inside — and it is that permanent loss of credibility which causes readership, and so revenues, to plummet.

Mr. Oberfest’s editorial further mistakenly presumes that every failing news organization is a blow to our American democracy. Yet logically the winnowing of these biased sources of misinformation from the American discourse by the actions of critical readers should, in fact, be applauded for having precisely the opposite effect.

 

Ronald L. Monterosso
Edgartown

33 COMMENTS

  1. This article has it exactly correct but I dont care. The market will dictate albeit slowly and they will eventually go out of business. The only concern is that the young people with marijuana induced mush for brains and contamination from most Universities will buy into those new Journalistic non standards and prop up the disingenuity.

    • “contamination from most Universities.” Educate me, please. Which universities are the ones that contaminate, and which universities are sterile? Please be specific.

      • All the Ivy league ones, Most major State Universities like Minnesota and Michigan to name just two. Virtually all except a few like St Johns college or St Anselm and some private Christian Colleges. Most of them have 90 percent faculty that are Democrats and liberal. Social Justice, Climate Change, Left wing socialism, Identity Politics, Useless Curricula and indulging in Safe spaces and microagression trigger warnings. Where have you been Bulkington. Go pay 50k per year and have your kid come out a blithering idiot with no practical skills to land a decent job.

          • Bulkington may I remind you that college 50 years ago was useful and had none of the leftist pathology it has now. In fact demonstrators were protesting for free speech then(Mario Savio Berkeley) and now they want to shut it down.

          • @Andrew 50 years ago enrollment was on the upswing as parents of today’s Republicans were spending their retirement savings on college deferments so Junior wouldn’t have to fight for his country.

        • Higher education is for those with the desire to improve our civilization. If you feel a 50k education was wasted on you, go fold cardboard boxes for delivery pizza.

        • Andrew. “useless curricula “? Do you have any idea what you are talking about ?
          The colleges you favor spend most of their time studying a fairy tale .
          useless curricula indeed.

        • Andrew, you may “remind” me all you wish, though your recollections are not in consort with reality. Fifty years ago, college campuses (four dead in Kent Stae, Ohio, 1970.) were protesting, among many other things, the Vietnam war. Not every male over 18 could afford to obtain endless education deferments or claim he had heel spurs. The protests also addressed civil rights – “Breaking Through a Bastion of Whiteness” the Columbia student take over in 1968. What’s it like looking at the world through Archie Bunker -colored glasses? Come, now.

  2. I would be interested in the author’s idea of a non-biased news source. Then I would laugh as he says Fox News.

  3. Mr Monterosso trivializes the loss of unbiased journalism, that being what concerned Mr Oberfest in his OP, then proceeds to blame agenda-driven media. Mr Monterosso should read “Journalism 2019: Disruption roadkill” again, he appears unaware he’s shooting arrows at two targets.

    Oimportance of un

  4. NYTimes is heavily discounting like $1 per week for digital copies. That is desperation. Ten years ago Carlos slim the Mexican billionaire loaned them 250million and took warrants which he has now cashed in on. This is not a healthy business. Its stock price is up due to increases in Digital copies. All its profit is from Digital.

      • b4jaws– because in Andrew’s world, only white people should have that much money–race matters when you are trying to belittle someone.

        • Do Dondon. Once again you are confused. Carlos Slim the Mexican Billionaire is a Lebanese Maronite Catholic and is a Mediterranean Caucasian.

          • And Andrew supports the positions of B4JawsIV and dondondon12. Was this accidental or did Andrew develop a sense of sarcasm? Why this obsessive-level knowledge of the Carlos family tree?

          • Andrew–You had many options to characterize Mr.Slim. You could have said He was Lebanese, Maronite catholic, Mediterranean or Caucasian. Or Mexican — So you were arguing the the New York times is losing money–mostly because of the way they report the news. In the current political climate in the United States– It seems most republicans have a negative view of Mexicans. So of all the ways you could describe this person, you chose what in your mind, and in the minds of trump’s supporters is
            the most derogatory one. That is a microaggressive dog whistle to a group that may have less than positive opinions about a group of people based solely on their nationality.
            Your words speak for themselves.

    • Andrew– let me get the doublespeak correct –The new York times is “failing” because it’s making money ?

    • Oaksbluff– I totally agree with you– but my brains got totally mushed by maryjuana and other drugs when I was in the navy.

  5. dondondon12 your admission finally explains why most of your comments are so off the wall.And I just thought you were just a bleeding heart Liberal.

    • Mvai -I am a bleeding heart liberal precisely because I did enlightening drugs. i did a lot of psychotropic drugs while other people on this platform drank the kool aid of christian intolerance.
      let me ask you — who is more “off the wall” ? A person who thinks everyone should have an equal shot at the “American dream” , or someone who thinks if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is your personal lord and Savior you are going to hell ? And let me remind you that hell is permanent– there is no escape– i am not ashamed to admit i did drugs– I am ashamed to admit that I went to catholic school, and attended “church” for years as an easily influenced youth.
      I am proud that I escaped that dogma– the drugs helped. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

  6. The media at large will only and ever be as liberal and forthcoming as the giant corporate conglomerates that own it. Money talks in this world. News organizations have become nothing more than payola machines for corporate friendly narratives. Selling out the truth that would lead to justice, is American as apple pie. Mt grandmother died believing that Obama was a non-citizen Muslim. Of course she learned it from the news media who was clearly more willing to carry water for the false narrative than confront the obvious lies being spread by their industry. Journalist don’t foment justice, they collect a paycheck on the backs of the first amendment and the dumbing down of the citizenry.

  7. dondondon12 Here are my thoughts on your reply. I think everyone should have a shot at the American Dream. That being said, The world does not owe you anything. You have to work for everything you get. If you want a house you may have to work two jobs and scrimp and save to get it.You may have to not get that new car and the big screen TV on credit.In short if you can’t afford it don’t buy it. You should not follow Big Brothers Liberal Tax and spend example always finding ways to spend money they don’t have then expecting the working man to give them more. On your other question I lump religion in with big Brother. “Lets do something Religious Take up a collection”

    • @MV Al : If you get laid off unexpectedly, would you appreciate what is called “unemployment insurance” while you hunt for a new job? That safety cushion so you can buy food, pay for utilities, keep the car prepped for that drive to a job interview? Are you ready to work off savings and credit card for insurance and emergency home and car repairs?

    • Mvai– first, you can save some keystrokes and call me “don” — that’s my name.. Don keller if you are curious–d k don don don @ gmail . com I appreciate your reasonable response–
      the problem with capitalism is that it works on credit– i personally have very little debt– i have a mortgage– no car payment, always pay my credit cards to zero every month.
      But the gov seems to not know how to pay down debt. The current regime is racking up debt at record rates, even though we are in a very prosperous time– It’s not because of liberal tax and spend policies– it’s because of tax cuts fr the wealthy.. Amazon made 11 billion dollars last year, and got a 124 million rebate. Something is wrong there.. As for your comment about taking up a collection– this community does that often– we support people in need.

  8. New Englander I’m not sure what unemployment insurance has to do with the article about The New York Times. I take about as much stock in the New York Times as I do in the National Enquirer both Rags not worth the paper they are printed on.

    • MV Al : You presented what you expect of the American Dream. Do you believe the Dream is a one shot goal, fail and there’s no second chance; or that unemployment insurance is a worthy effort by society, that it allows an individual to regain their footing and resume their life without going to the poorhouse?

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