Journalism's Golden Age Never Existed

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center had an excellent article yesterday dealing with the lack of coverage in the mainstream media of abortion news. He cited two events in particular. The first has to do with the atrocious activities of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who regularly practiced severing the spinal cords of babies born alive during abortions. Except for a few stories on Fox News and CNN, one would search in vain to find any real treatment of this tale of horror, whether on television or in the print media.

What makes it even worse is that this is undoubtedly the very tip of that proverbial iceberg—this is happening in many places,  but not being reported.

Gosnell’s indictment is unusual. But would it be so unusual if media  sources were doing their jobs?

Then there was the annual pro-life march in Washington on that most dismal of all anniversaries, Roe v. Wade. If not for a few news outlets, most Americans would be unaware that it occurred. Yet it constantly draws from 100,000 to 200,000 each year. Shouldn’t that be a major story?

Rather than try to duplicate Bozell’s efforts, I simply encourage you to read his article for the details.

Many commentators wonder what has happened to journalism. Why has it become so lopsided? In truth, I’m not so sure journalism ever has been the paragon of news virtue that so many believe it was. Was there really a Golden Age of Journalism and a pinnacle from which we have fallen, or have there always been issues with journalists?

Where do find such a Golden Age? Is it to be discovered in the early years of America when political parties set up their own newspapers to promote their particular points of view and disparage the other side? Could it be in later years when the practice of journalism became more “professional”? Weren’t the professional journalists the ones who turned the 1925 Scopes Trial into a national circus, skewering those who didn’t want evolution taught in the schools? While I am in favor of a free press, journalism has undermined itself repeatedly.

There have always been egregious examples of biased and/or sloppy journalism. The difference now may be that it is being celebrated and promoted as “the right way” to proceed:

What are you paying for when you send your child to college to study journalism?

I’m not convinced that journalists today are worse than their predecessors, but I am totally convinced that the teaching of journalism has become systematically corrupted. We have now institutionalized the bias.