Report Card: Corporate-Owned Media Fails Public Again

28th November 20079:22 am

November 28, 2007

From today’s issue of Editor and Publisher:

…Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership National Leadership Index..survey, which included interviews with 1,207 adults nationwide in September… a portion of the findings asked about views on the media in relation to leadership, with some troubling results.

“…Americans give their lowest marks to leaders in the press. Americans are particularly dissatisfied with press coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign.”

Key among the findings:

64% of those polled do not trust press coverage of the presidential campaign.

88% believe that campaign coverage focuses on trivial issues.

84% believe that media coverage has too much influence on American voting choices.

92% say it is important that the news media provide information on candidates’ specific policy plans, but 61% say the media does not provide enough coverage of policy plans.

89% say it is important to hear about candidates’ personal values and ethics, but 43% say there is not enough coverage of personal values and ethics.

Instead, those surveyed claimed they were getting “exactly the type of campaign coverage that they want the least,” the report found.

Don’t we need a new kind of media? All-together different? I’m working on it…

posted by Hal Plotkin | 12:41 PM | Comments (0)
November 17, 2007
CNN Planted Final Debate Question For Hillary

So now we find out that suspicious final cutsie softball question lobbed to Hillary Clinton in last night’s presidential debate (“Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?”) from an audience member was actually scripted in advance by CNN. What’s worse, though, was the canned response the tipped-off-in-advance looking Clinton had ready (“Now I know I’m sometimes accused of not being able to make a choice. I want both!”). Facilitating scripted questions from the audience is one thing. But was Clinton in on the scripting, as well? It sure looked that way.

posted by Hal Plotkin | 12:19 AM | Comments (0)
November 13, 2007
Yahoo’s Smooth Move

I have to stand up and applaud Yahoo’s decision to settle the lawsuits filed by the families of the two Chinese journalists who were imprisoned after Yahoo turned their identities over to Chinese authorities. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed. Still, the families probably would not have settled so quickly if Yahoo had not made a reasonably generous offer, in keeping with Congressman Tom Lantos’ demand last week that Yahoo try to find some way to help meet the humanitarian needs of the families who lost their bread-winners when Yahoo gave them up. The decision is a feather in the cap of Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and an impressive move on his part. I’m sure plenty of people were giving him dumb advice to stonewall and stall and, as an American, I am relieved that Yang knew better.

I hope the controversy over all this will help highlight the moral and ethical responsibilities U. S. companies have when they do business in countries that violate the basic human rights of their citizens. As someone who has been fairly critical of Yahoo in recent years it’s great to once again have something nice to say about the company. It took a little while, but Jerry Yang did the right thing. Anyone who cares about freedom and human rights, and who thinks those values are at least as important as money and new markets, should try to buy something from Yahoo today. I know I will.

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