More ugga ugga: The worst kind of MSM filtering

Is here in the Plain Dealer‘s Monday feature, This Week at the Statehouse:

No floor votes of importance were taken last week.

Well, correct me if I’m wrong but I would guess that the people who drafted the bills that were voted on, and the people who sponsored the legislation that was voted on, or, at a minimum, the people who asked for the legislation in the first place all consider the votes to be important.


This is the Internet. The PD could include – and thereby make it a heck of a lot easier for its readers to find – a list of what floor votes did occur. Or a link to that list. Or a subject summary of what the GA voted on.

And then decide for themselves what is and isn’t important.

More ugga ugga. Sigh.

Come on.

You know, this kind of shortcut is precisely why blogs and other web-based news provision will not be going away and will continue to cut into traditional news dissemination: because this kind of shortcut says, “Accept our opinion that “no floor votes of importance were taken last week.'”

What? It’s a space thing? It’s a lack of interest thing? It’s a “they won’t understand it” thing?

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

It’s a “I’ll decide for myself whether it’s important or not” thing.

What will be the death of MSM? Its failure to recognize that they are not the final arbiters of what is and isn’t important. There are simply too many people who want to judge for themselves and too many ways for them to do that now for such practices to continue. (And let’s not get started on the reasons why people want to judge for themselves – a little thing about not trusting the sources these days, maybe?)

Finally, how on earth is making the judgement as to what is and isn’t an important floor vote “neutral” news provision?

Want to complain about a lack of critical thinking in the American public? Then look no further than the MSM’s abuse of power over pretending that they can do it all for us.

My exercise of discretion says, I think not.

*By the way, if you’ve made it to this point, let me just say that I have nothing againt Aaron Marshall whose name appears at the bottom of this week’s This Week. This observation of mine would exist regardless or which reporter’s name was attached to the item. However, if anyone can provide any background (for example, some people want to provide more but said no, or…it’s never occurred to anyone to provide more, etc.) as to why the This Week feature uses such a conclusory statement, I’d definitely like to learn about that.

5 thoughts on “More ugga ugga: The worst kind of MSM filtering

  1. Jill: The analysis is useful and insightful up to a point. His best statement is here:”Furthermore, until the mainstream press can better understand that media consumption and production are increasingly conversational, collaborative activities—where bloggers and citizens talk to each other—perhaps the best advice I can give is to take the time to read a newspaper and a blog or two.”It was nice to see that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was one of the five newspapers. I lived in Atlanta through high school and Ralph McGill, famed Editor of morning Atlanta Constitution, was a neighbor and sometimes at our breakfast table for conversations before heading downtown to the newsroom. What is now the merged entity with the afternoon Journal, the AJC is one of the best in my book. How I wish we were more than a one-paper/one-publisher town. Almost twice as many newspaper stories as major blogs (111-61) were analyzed. That seems a little unbalanced, but not a fateful flaw in method. That word, “derivative,” was a cogent expression to frame what so much of blogging is.Mostly Editor & Publisher, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Matters and Jeffrey Feldman’s Frameshop have shaped my “take” on media. I’m glad to add the OJR site to my “Journalism Junkie” web log.

  2. She’s a very hip journalist, and perhaps the brightest anywhere. A good lead to follow.Enjoy the outside – will be doing that soon as well.

  3. Thanks for the link. I’ve got some outdoor chores, so will get back at this a little later. Meanwhile, I did note that Betsy Sullivan put up a bunch of links on the Tillman/Lynch matters. Later.

  4. Sigh – I wanted to, I absolutely swear. But here’s the thing – the labyrinth of links to get to the info isn’t as tough as it used to be, the PD is trying (and doing a pretty good job IMO) to beef up its online abilities. Why not marry those facts and provide some kind of weekly link for those who want to judge for themselves whether a bill they might care about had action?I think of it like this: we hear people complain that they didn’t know something was being done (or not done) until it’s too late and they are getting affected. Providing the feature itself is a great thing – so at least it’s in the reader’s mind that there is another place called Columbus and our state’s business goes on there.But truly, how difficult would it be to provide some interaction at OPEN on the Internet, with a reference in print each week, so people can go check out the votes and bills?Now, I’m saying this with my hands on my hips and an angled look with slightly raised eyebrows and a deep you should have known in my voice: did you read the article that was published last week that said blogs offer more links than print? Here’s the link to the Online Journalism Review article that did a content analysis of blogs and print. do you think?

  5. Jill:Why not cut them some slack here? The eds have a delicate balance to maintain – and do a so-so job. In this case, probably 95% of the readers are used to dumbdown stuff. Only the 5% of us brighter bulbs crave more info to sift and sort. Let’s face it, we’re in the minority here.

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