Media Part 2

There’s a nice follow-up to the article post below regarding problems in the media.

He notes that:

[The] fear of bias, and of appearing unbalanced, acts as a powerful sedative on American journalists—one whose effect has been magnified by the incessant attacks of conservative bloggers and radio talk-show hosts. One reason journalists performed so poorly in the months before the Iraq war was that there were few Democrats willing to criticize the Bush administration on the record; without such cover, journalists feared they would be branded as hostile to the President and labeled as “liberal” by conservative commentators.


In reporting on the government, the Los Angeles Times, like other papers, faces another serious constraint. As a result of budget cuts imposed by its corporate owner, The Tribune Company, the Times recently reduced its Washington staff from sixty-one to fifty-five (of whom thirty-nine are reporters). Doyle McManus, the bureau chief, says the paper is stretched very thin. Since September 11, 2001, he has had to assign so many reporters (eight at the moment) to covering news about national security that many domestic issues have been neglected. The Times has only four daily reporters to cover everything from health care to labor to the regulatory agencies, and it has no regular reporter in Washington dealing with the problems of the environment. “It’s nuts for a California paper to have its environmental job open this long,” McManus says. The Chicago Tribune, he said, has a full-time agriculture writer whose beat includes agribusiness and its activities in Wash-ington. Despite the huge national political influence of agricultural interests, the Los Angeles Times, like most other big US papers, lacks the resources to report on them regularly.

Problems, indeed!