Today\’s News

If you are a faithful reader, you know I enjoy the news…and I often write (I write, I don\’t \”blog\”) about various articles.

If you know me personally you know my mind is a scary place with odd and random connections that lead me from point A to point Q in anything but a straight line.

Today\’s thoughts started on, where I clicked on a link for The Big Question, which is a political blog on the Strib. What took me to that link is that it noted that Al Franken has reportedly raised nearly $2 million in the second quarter of this year, which would put him well above incumbent Norm Coleman, which is unusual. But what caught my attention even more than the information, was the author, D.J. Tice.

The Big Question (when I read it regularly several months ago) was authored by Tice and Eric Black… actually it\’s more accurate to say that both of their names were listed, but Black provided 99% of the content. So it was odd the Tice has written anything. Then I noticed that all of the recent articles had been written by Tice, and Black\’s blurb in the right column had been removed. Turns out that Black was downsized (he says he voluntarily left) as part of the shake-up going on at the Strib. However, in the course of paging back to last month\’s Big Question entries I came across an article written by the Strib\’s reader representative Kate Perry asking: Can credibility survive this risky political blog?

Perry\’s question/concern isn\’t a new one, but Strib\’s recent crop of blogs and the more personal nature of blogs has brought the question back to the forefront. She accurately states: \”The Big Question blog is also a big risk to the newspaper\’s image as a fair and unbiased source for news about government and elections.\” The Strib already has a strong liberal reputation (any conservative curmudgeon over 45 years old usually referrs to the paper as the \”Red Star\”), but can a newspaper support reporters who double as bloggers who thinly disguise their political beliefs?

This ethical question has quickly passed through the minds of the editors of TV networks such as Fox News, but newspapers are (supposedly) the last bastion of fair-minded journalism. How can they justify going down this path?

Because that\’s exactly what the market is asking for.

We all are incredibly busy people. There is more and more that our jobs and lives are asking of us. There is more information we need to hold in our heads. The flood is relentless. It\’s not enough these days for people to just get the news and come to their own conclusion. They either don\’t have the time and the additional detailed information to make an informed decision. People today are looking for someone to tell them the news and how they should feel about it. It is too easy to get lost in the facts and figures. Just tell me the core issue and how I should feel about it.

In response to this, people have found sources of \”news\” that at a high level agree with their general outlook and now they get \”informed\” from these sources. People are looking for: give me the issue, give me some talking points, and tell me how people like me should feel about it… because I don\’t have time for anything more than that.

Of course my \”busy\” argument could be all wrong and people are just flat out lazy. Too lazy to learn about issues. Too lazy to listen to the other side. Too lazy to be thoughtful about an issue and instead just take the force-fed opinion from their \”news\” source. But I\’m trying to be optimistic and say it\’s that we are too busy.

As usual though, I think the truth lies somewhere in between.







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