A few days ago, I discussed the ‘doughnut model’ of journalistic bias that Jay Rosen described. Thinking about it some more, both Rosen and I got it wrong. Ultimately, the problem isn’t that certain views and policies are ruled out of the political discourse (although that is a real problem). The problem is that the type of bias Rosen mentions leads to bad journalism.
Before I get to that, if we’re attempting to convince journalists that they need to be more responsible regarding the public discourse, well, good luck with that. Appealing to the national political press corps for better stewardship of the national discourse won’t work, since they’ve proven to be nothing more than a collection of bottom-feeding narcissists and sociopaths (probably more narcissistics than sociopathic).
But you can reach them if you point out that they’re missing a good story. To use an example in the earlier post, Congressman Stark’s healthcare plan, which would cover the most people and save, far and away, the most money, has been deemed ‘politically unviable.’
That’s the story.
‘Politically unviable’ doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not like saying that the sky is blue or gray. Someone made it politically unviable. It’s not like Stark’s plan is ‘liberal’ but otherwise a middling plan (in which case, there’s no reason to be discussing it). According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it’s the best plan, yet Republicans still oppose it.
That’s your story right there. Wouldn’t it be great if some journalist asked a bunch of Republicans (and blue dog ‘Democrats’) why they oppose the Stark plan, which, according to their own analysts, covers more people at a lower cost?
The bias isn’t a good thing for including different points of view, but it’s also bad journalism.
That’s how we reach the traditional media.