Through The Static

May 31, 2008

Journalists Pressured to be Patriotic

Filed under: Culture,Government,Media,Politics — disciplepete @ 1:36 pm

The mainstream U.S. media, unfortunately, rarely asks hard questions about what our government is up to. CNN reporter Jessica Yellin recently made comments on the pressure she felt from her higher-ups to report the news in a particular fashion (she says she’s referring to the time she spent at MSNBC, but I’d be surprised if her comments didn’t apply to her current employer, CNN, as well). Yahoo:

During her CNN appearance, Yellin said the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives to make sure the war was presented “in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings.”

The higher Bush’s approval ratings, the more pressure she felt from news executives to put on positive stories about the president, she said. Pushed by Cooper to explain, Yellin said her bosses would turn down critical stories about the administration and try to put on positive pieces.

 While MSNBC denies all of this, they have also been accused of the same thing before:

A prime-time show with Phil Donahue received consistent pressure to present panels tilted in favor of the war, said Jeff Cohen, that program’s former senior producer. Donahue’s show was on for less than a year before being cancelled less than a month before the war began.

He once witnessed a producer scolded for organizing a discussion with pro- and anti-war sentiments presented equally, said Cohen, a liberal activist who wrote a book about his experiences with TV networks.

Well, the moral of the story is that we’ve gotta rely on our own minds and do our own homework if we ever hope to really understand what’s going on around us. We have to be critical consumers of media.


1 Comment »

  1. thanks disciplepete for posting this! waaaay back in the day, newspapers were primarily anti-government and created to keep them in check. now sadly, it’s become such a business that producers/publishers worry so much about catering to their audience.

    while i’m so saddened and disappointed to hear stories of producers/editors scolding reporters for doing their job, it does show you that there are some real journalists out there trying to be critical and fair.

    but yes, i agree, you gotta remember journalists are people too and there are parts of stories always lost in interpretation.

    Comment by ausaydong — June 1, 2008 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

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