Warehouse D
Yellow Journalism
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Associated Press Board Appointment Reflects Failing Journalism In America


By James Donahue


Older journalists who remember the days of real digging to get that balanced story may share my dismay at the appointment of Rupert Murdock to the board of directors of The Associated Press.


For years we newspaper writers and editors trusted the Associated Press for its solid news coverage and fairness. We who subscribed to this news service downloaded those stories daily, showing full confidence in their accuracy and truthfulness. This may be changing, however.


Murdock, the creator of the Fox News Channel, the televised version of tabloid “yellow” journalism, has been sinking heavy money into a dying newspaper industry all across the United States, Europe and his native Australia most of his life. His 2007 acquisition of Dow Jones & Co. and its newspaper, The Wall Street Journal may have made him the head of the world’s largest media empire, but it did not make him a respectable decision-maker when it comes to good, solid journalism.


What has happened is that the impact of the Murdock style of creating explosive news out of personal tragedies, slanting national news stories to support his neoconservative political views, and ignoring the important world stories like events going on in China, Russia, India and even South America, has forced a shift in the news focus all across the nation.


Murdock has made a fortune doing what he has been doing. Because it is all about money, major news networks and newspapers appear to be attempting to follow the style of media coverage, set by Murdock’s News Corp. staffers, instead of attempting to report what is really going on.


Among the exceptions is MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s weeknight newscast that has been gaining in popularity ever since Olbermann first went on the air in 2003. He recently was rated the second most watched nightly news show in the nation. Olbermann pulls no punches when it comes to attacking Murdock, many of the talking heads at what he calls “Fixed News,” and labeling bad journalism for what it is.


Olbermann offers a unique style of news coverage that should not be imitated. But he is demonstrating that good and entertaining news coverage is still possible, without going the route of slanted stories and irresponsible sensationalism.


Olbermann also is proving that there is a hunger by television viewers for something better than the folks at Fox and CNN have been dishing out.