One of the surest ways to define yourself as a political or media blogger is to regularly assault the MSM (MainStream Media) for being either derelict of duty or outright in the tank for whatever political side you argue against.
The Huffington Post, a political Web site with only 12 million or so more readers than Pax Arcana, even offers a regular feature called Unearthed: News of the Week the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report in which political scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and some guy you’ve never heard of bring you the important news that slipped through the cracks.
Except that it doesn’t. As pointed out by Dan Mitchell in a letter to the Romenesko journalism forum, nearly every story reported on the site linked to a mainstream news outlet. Meaning all those “overlooked” stories weren’t overlooked at all. In fact, they were, you know, reported:
This could be a great service if the column actually “unearthed” anything – which would take some work and perhaps even actual reporting. But, incredibly, nearly every single item they post is based on, and actually links to, a mainstream media story. They cite stories by The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, and many other mainstream media outlets as proof that the mainstream media isn’t covering those stories.
It’s beyond bizarre. These men are not merely doubting reality — they are using reality itself to cast doubt on reality.
Mitchell pointed this fact out in the comments section of the site, but his comment was deleted.
In the old days, it was the print guys who complained about the TV guys taking all the credit for stories. Back in my newspaper days, I once saw a local TV reporter walking down Main Street of the town I covered doing a story I’d done the day before. In her hand was a copy of my article with little notes on it. Obviously the station didn’t credit me or the newspaper for, you know, coming up with the story in the first place and doing all the reporting. But as newspaper people we accepted that as part of the game.
It’s easy to forget in the Internet era, when stories and images bounce from place to place like Plinko disks, that almost without exception those stories were generated by paid professionals working for established news-gathering organizations. Call them names if you want to (trust me, they can handle it) but let’s not all forget where our bread is buttered.
Unearthed: News of the Week the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report [Huffington Post]
When smart people turn into blithering idiots [Romenesko Letters]