"Our house is on fire," said the CBS News managing editor and evening anchor. Pelley, in a recent speech at Quinnipiac University, said: "Today, right now, as we occupy this house (of American journalism) that was built for us, our house is on fire. These have been a bad few months for journalism. We're getting the big stories wrong, over and over again."
Oh, please, pass the Kleenex.
You mean news outlets frequently get facts wrong when competing to satisfy the public's desire for information?! When has that not been the case? Remember when we were told that given the number of people working at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, we should expect 20,000 to 40,000 dead? During Hurricane Katrina, some news outlets described gun battles that turned out to be nonexistent and offered up death totals that thankfully turned out to be exaggerated.
Everybody can provide examples of wrongheaded reporting. Given the rush to be first and the fight for ratings in an increasingly atomized market, news sources can be expected to get things wrong. Usually, a clarification follows -- with little consequence for having gotten it wrong.
Don't misunderstand. Now Pelley should apologize.
He should apologize for participating in the massive, widespread liberal media bias that, according to a UCLA economist and political scientist, gives Democrats an 8- to 10-point advantage in presidential elections.
Consider the way major media have covered the IRS scandal. A front-page headline in The New York Times captured the media's general approach to the story: "IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives G.O.P. an Issue to Seize On." Oh, we get what the Times wants to tell us. The meme goes like this: At long last, after five years of digging dry holes, those obstreperous Republicans have unearthed a scandal that threatens to derail Obama's wonderful, progressive vision for America. When the dean of American journalism, Bob Woodward, likened Benghazi to Watergate, pundits on MSNBC pronounced the Pulitzer Prize winner senile.
Major media leave out one of the most important angles of the IRS scandal. It is this. Why were so many conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status to raise money for the 2008 and 2012 elections? Answer: For the first time since the Watergate reforms, Obama refused matching federal funds for the general election, because the funds come with a catch. The candidate must agree to campaign finance limits. Obama figured, correctly it turns out, that he could raise far more money without the matching funds and their limitations.