Monday, August 09, 2004
Liberal media meltdown?: L. Brent Bozell's new book is an entertaining and informative read on the state of the U.S. media. If I was teaching a college journalism class, I'd assign Bozell's book, along with Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media?" and have the students decide who made a better case. To my mind, Bozell's analysis is superior -- and that's mostly because I sit in the newsroom at a "conservative" paper five days a week.
While Bozell's evidence and anecdotes are enlightening, he sees the future through rose-colored glasses. The book's subtitle is "The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media" -- I don't see it coming. Bozell argues that the explosive growth of Fox News and the continued decline of the Big Three networks will force them to somehow purge their newsrooms of liberal ideologues -- or at least hire sufficient conservatives to help achieve the holy grail of journalism: balance.
Bozell's timeline calls for this sea change to occur within the next several years.
It's not going to happen.
Where are they going to get the conservative journalists?
Like any other industry, you don't just pull recent college grads and put them into top management positions. Besides, the way many journalism schools are staffed certainly aren't conducive to encouraging conservatives to enter the field.
If American journalism is going to change into something more fair-minded and less biased, then it's going to take decades -- and in the meantime viewership will continue to decline.
A more likely result (and still rather unlikely) is that the media finally abandons the guise of objectivity. That way you can watch both CNN and Fox News and know what you're getting.