We spend a lot of time bitching about the media. We need to spend less time complaining about the media machine and more time understanding it. Only then can we start to figure out how to engage it to the benefit of liberal policies, and to change structurally for the better.
After the fold:
Laziness leads to he-said/she-said
What can we do
Introduction: the media at every level
When I graduated from college I got a job working on a political campaign. The first piece of advice I received was the best:
The media is lazy. Do their work for them.
There's a temptation when you're working on a campaign to tell the press about what is happening. The expectation is that they will do the reporting - it is their job. The reality is that it is much better to do their job for them. Write press releases that look and sound like articles. Provide clearly marked out quotes. Give interviews and more interviews.
The people who work in the media are human beings. Human beings tend to follow the easy road. It became quickly apparent to me that 'biased' media often wasn't biased at all, it was just following the lead of whichever campaign or group was doing a better job of feeding them content.
Laziness is the root of he-said/she-said media
This is pretty basic. It's far far easier to just throw out a couple other people and have them talk, then to do any real reporting yourself. It isn't nefarious, it's just easy.
Factual corrections are work
Ever studied for a final exam? It's a lot of work. Being very knowledgeable on a particular topic is work. It's easier to just not know and not question the talking head.
So far I've made some pretty basic and obvious points. What can we do?
Call the media what it is: lazy
People hate being called lazy, they don't mind as much being called conservative, or even biased. Biased is just another way to say someone has an opinion. Having an opinion isn't such a bad thing.
CNN reporters aren't biased. They're lazy. A host who doesn't debunk lies on his or her show? lazy. Someone who comments on a bill without bothering to know the basics? Not a party hack, a lazy hack. These people should be called out for making a lot of money and not working. This will hit them a lot harder than calling them biased, or profit oriented.
Play the game.
There is a lot made of the fact that there are more conservative pundits as guests on news shows than liberals. Why is that? Do we think that media personalities are going out of their way to gather up conservatives? Of course not. They're lazy. They're calling the first people in their contact list. Democrats need to make themselves more available more often. This means actively calling news shows and saying "[Howard Dean] is available to come on your show to talk about health care, when do you want him?"
This needs to be a constant press. It should always be easier to get a democrat on your show or get a quote from democrat. Always.
What do we think are other ways to counter the harm that the lazy media has on liberal ideas? Both locally and nationally.