Monday, October 27, 2008

Today's Reading Assignment

Technology writer Michael Malone, on the reasons behind the slanted election coverage, in a column at A fourth-generation journalist, Mr. Malone says fawning press for Barack Obama is about self-preservation, at least until this generation of MSM executives and editors can "cross the finish line" and collect what's left of their pensions.

A few particularly insightful--and instructive--paragraphs:

Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you've spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power … only to discover that you're presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn't have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you'll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -- and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway -- all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself -- an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country..

Read the whole thing--it's brilliant. We applaud Mr. Malone's honesty and courage, but also wonder if his contract with ABC is up. The last time a member of the MSM did something like this was back in 1996, when Bernard Goldberg faxed his famous op-ed on media bias to The Wall Street Journal. You know what happened; Mr. Goldberg became persona non grata at the Tiffany Network, and was, banished from the airwaves. By some sort of minor miracle, he was allowed to remain on the payroll until his pension kicked in two years later.

Obviously, Mr. Malone had the smarts to broaden his career years ago--the ABC News column is just one of several ventures he's involved with. He'll probably have more time for those projects in the future; if we had to guess, we'd say this is his last column for ABC. If there's one thing that MSM executives share (other than their love for Obama), it's their notoriously thin skin, and a hatred for anyone who raises the bias issue.

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