Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Media, Protecting You From the News: In what surely provides the most telling evidence to date that traditional mainstream media have completely abrogated their responsibility, the Washington Post reports, eight paragraphs into its story on election night coverage:

“The biggest behind-the-scenes change in network coverage involves what has been dubbed the Quarantine Room. Determined to avoid a rerun of recent years, when its exit polls leaked out by early afternoon to the Drudge Report, Slate and other Web sites, a media consortium is allowing two people from each of the networks and the Associated Press entree to a windowless room in New York. All cellphones, laptops and BlackBerrys will be confiscated. The designated staffers will pore over the exit polls but will not be allowed to communicate with their offices until 5 pm.”

Yes, the elite media are devoting their greatest energy on election day to making sure that information does not reach the public.

I learned my journalism in a simpler time. Back then, it was widely believed that the role of reporters was to report the news, not to suppress it The argument, I suppose, is that the public isn’t responsible enough to handle this particular information, that voters might respond to it in ways of which the media disapproves. So the media would like us all to understand that it know what’s better for us than we do.

The next time you hear some reporter talking about the public’s right to know, just remember that not even the media believe that sanctimonious claptrap. As far as the mainstream media are concerned, you only have the right to know what they want you to know, when they want you to know it.

1 Comments:

  • At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Jon Sacker said…

    Just to play devil's advocate for a second, the argument could be made that the reason not to let the details of polls out early is so that they cannot be seen to be influencing the vote. It is for this reason that some Countries ban the publciatilon of polls in the run-up to elections.

    Or then again, those who have funded the polls may want to argue that they should be able to make use of the data before others ...

     

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