Posts tagged olbermann

Should Objectivity Still Be The Standard In News?

Via NPR’s Talk of the Nation:

After MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was suspended for making political contributions, journalist Ted Koppel criticized the lack of objectivity in the news, and looked backward toward the halcyon days of Murrow. But media critic Jeff Jarvis believes the old model is outdated.

Hosted by Neal Conan with Ted Koppel and Jeff Jarvis as guests.

Run Time: 30 minutes.

Olbermann: False promise of ‘objectivity’ proves ‘truth’ superior to ‘fact’

An alternative, economic take from Slate’s Jack Shafer:

This isn’t the first time Koppel has complained about the ruination of TV news by the cable channels. In 2006, he penned a similar op-ed in the New York Times upon leaving ABC News after working there for 42 years. In both the Post and Times pieces, he accuses the cable networks of giving audiences what they want instead of what they need to know because it’s the best way to secure advertising profits. Such profit-pandering was unlikely in the 1960s, he writes in the Post, because network TV news “operated at a loss or barely broke even,” a fulfillment of the “FCC’s mandate” that broadcasters “work in the ‘public interest, convenience and necessity.’”…

…Koppel continues that it wasn’t until 60 Minutes proved TV news could make a profit—”something no television news program had previously achieved”—that news divisions started chasing revenues.

The assertion that TV network news lost money everywhere until Don Hewitt birthed 60 Minutes is frequently repeated. But it’s wrong—dead wrong—as a paper in the December issue of Journalism by Michael J. Socolow of the University of Maine shows…

…Koppel is correct when he cites the success of 60 Minutes as a news-business turning point, one that proved a news-division program could make entertainment-division-size profits. But to say, as Koppel does, that because of 60 Minutes, “a light went on, and the news divisions of all three networks came to be seen as profit centers, with all the expectations that entailed” is beyond stupid. It’s bad reporting.

The commercial success of both MSNBC and Fox News is a source of nonpartisan sadness for me. While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, the trend is not good for the republic…

…And so, among the many benefits we have come to believe the founding fathers intended for us, the latest is news we can choose. Beginning, perhaps, from the reasonable perspective that absolute objectivity is unattainable, Fox News and MSNBC no longer even attempt it. They show us the world not as it is, but as partisans (and loyal viewers) at either end of the political spectrum would like it to be. This is to journalism what Bernie Madoff was to investment: He told his customers what they wanted to hear, and by the time they learned the truth, their money was gone.

Ted Koppel, Contributing Analyst, BBC World News America.
It’s not a stupid rule, here or anywhere else. [There] just needs to be a debate about it; it needs to be adapted to the realities of 21st-century journalism. And to wrap this up, I’ll say something utterly contrarian about this: I think we saw where the political contribution system is working for transparency in democracy, and where it is failing transparency in democracy. I made a legal, political contribution as a U.S. citizen, near midnight Eastern on October 28th. By 10 pm on Thursday night, November 4th, those contributions were public knowledge, and that’s the point: I gave, and you found out, and you judged me for good or for ill, as you felt appropriate.

If I had given the money through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, you would have never… ever… known.

KEITH OLBERMANN on MSNBC enforcing its standards prohibiting contributions to political candidates.

(via inothernews)

Olbermann and the dangers of partisan media

Whole news networks are being transformed into little more than on-air advocates for political parties. The idea of objectivity is now increasingly dismissed as a myth rather than honored as an ideal toward which the news industry should strive…

The result: Partisan warfare is on the rise, and trust in media is on the decline. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has documented the trend and concluded that “virtually every news organization or program has seen its credibility marks decline” over the past decade.