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February 15, 2005

It's Time For Transparency In the Media

Someone who didn't leave their name tips to this good Command Post essay:

It's the currency of exchange for daily life, and mainstream news organizations (at least before the blogs) have been our banks of information: they held the currency, and they distributed it to the populace. And in serving that role, we made a similar investment in the mainstream media: We invested our faith.

Which is where CNN has something to learn from Pep Boys. Publicly traded companies must now begin to provide high levels of transparency if they hope to keep the faith of their investors. The same is now true for MSM news outlets. For ... well, forever, really … they’ve been able to live in a world with no transparency, and make choices about how to handle the investment of faith by others without accountability to the investor.

Not any more. Now The Flow, facilitated by the blogs, are pulling back the covers on our banks of public trust. Dan Rather, Howell Raines, Eason Jordan … they were the CEOs of those information banks. For decades they've made choices of how to handle the consumer’s investment without providing any visibility into direction or intention. They've had their ENRON here and their WorldCom there ... we just never learned of them. Now, the blogs are forcing transparency upon you, and some consumers are rightly finding that their investment hasn’t been treated as well as the like.

Same basic point I made earlier, but from a different angle. The media, because its function is as a gatekeeper of information, has been more successful at hiding its errors and biases and, well, lies than any other industry.

That's changing, and they don't seem to like it. The scrutiny they apply to government and business -- "sunlight is the best disinfectant" and all that -- is now being applied to them, and they're whining about it like truculent children.

Hey-- every other industry and profession has had to deal with outside media scrutiny since the invention of, well, the news itself. Why on earth should the media itself be immune?

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posted by Ace at 05:14 PM

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