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Saturday, October 30, 2004

A polarized society leads to polarized journalism

Thanks to American friends to tell me that I missed one of the most important article written about the presidential campaign and the media. First, David Shaw, the LAT columnist, says "he cannot recall a presidential election in which the media — broadly defined — have played a greater, more visible or more controversial role than they have in this campaign." And he is right. Second, he agrees on the fact that "the American society becomes an increasingly polarized society. But why? I don't think the issues confronting us are as bitterly divisive as they were in the 1960s" (in comparison with the Vietnam issue) .

According to Shaw, "One reason of the polarization is that "as journalism has become more political, it has also become more personal ? more personalized. In an era when personalities ? celebrities ? dominate the news, it's not surprising that the personalities rather than the policies of our politicians dominate the political news. This has given rise to the politics of hate."
But the most interesting part of the article is to come: "As traditional political parties have become weaker and more circumspect, some bloggers, talk radio, Fox News and the authors of some political books have become "para-media ? auxiliaries to the political parties" (here David Shaw quotes Todd Gitlin, author of the books "Media Unlimited" and "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage").

And at the end of his article, Shaw quotes another author. "Many political people on both sides believe, or profess to believe, that a lot of what goes under the banner of journalism today is in fact political propaganda," says Nicholas Lemann, dean of the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University... The idea of journalism as a separate space from politics is getting eroded, and there's a real challenge going on to the legitimacy of journalism as an honest broker, an impartial provider of information."

Conclusion of David Shaw: In that sense, the media may be the ultimate loser in this election."

Source: Media Matters in the Los Angeles Times

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 30, 2004 at 11:01 PM in a. Citizen journalism, m. Improving editorial quality, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink

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