Monday, April 18


William Raspberry on the dangerous effects of Fox News:

For the Foxidation process to work, it isn't necessary to convince Americans that the verbal ruffians who give FNC its crackle have a corner on the truth -- only that all of us in the news business are grinding our partisan axes all the time and that none of us deserves to be taken seriously as seekers of truth.

This is huge. As a friend remarked recently, time was when if you found it in the New York Times, that settled the bar bet and the other guy paid off. But if the Times and The Post or any other mainstream news outlet -- including the major networks -- come to be seen as the left-of-center counterparts of Fox News Channel, why would anyone accept them as authoritative sources of truth?

What is at risk is not a reputation for infallibility; everyone knows that even the best newspapers and most careful broadcasters make mistakes. But it has been generally accepted that the mainstream media at least try to get it right -- even when they too grudgingly acknowledge their errors after the fact.

What worries me is that journalism could become a battlefield of warring biases: I'll sock it to your guy, your party or your position on a public issue, and you'll sock it to mine. And we'll both believe we've done a good day's work. Come to think of it, a review of the stories on Social Security suggests that it is already happening to some extent. And one result is that you are less sure than you ought to be as to what the truth about Social Security really is.


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