Election 2004: Did the Media Fail? (MIT Communications Forum)
Terence Smith, Media Correspondent and Senior Producer, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; ; Cathy Young, Columnist, The Boston Globe and Reason Magazine
Description: These two speakers share a strong sense of regret for missed opportunities during the 2004 election. Terence Smith points to "big shortcomings the unanswered questions and unaddressed topics." Among these: The inability of news organizations to cover the war on terrorism as a political issue, and an examination of "Republicans' competence at electioneering, and their sophisticated operation in 50 states." Another "harsh fact about the coverage: Despite the big turnout, the great portion of the public tuned out." Smith is "not sure that the vast complex known as the media got through to the public in any great detail." He wonders how skeptical and probing the media will be "if the administration begins to beat war drums again on Iran or Syria."
Cathy Young notes with concern the increasing relevance of the internet in politics. When people turn to the web, they "stay in an ideologically congenial niche," avoiding anything that challenges their sensibilities. In 2004, Young saw the "media returning to an older model of partisanship," where newspapers staked out positions overtly to the left or right. She also worries about "unconscious assumptions of the media," which are reflected in coverage of such issues as abortion rights. She remarks as well on the unfortunate simplicity of red and blue labeling, and the "tendency to put people into ideological boxes."
About the Speaker(s): > ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Prior to joining The NewsHour,Terence Smith spent 20 years as a national and foreign correspondent and editor with The New York Times and 13 years with CBS News. Smith was a principal contributor to a special 1981 issue of The New York Times Magazine on the Iranian hostage crisis, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Smith received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1960.
Cathy Young is a columnist for The Boston Globe, and a columnist and contributing editor for Reason magazine. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Born in Moscow, she has lived in the United States since 1980. She is the author of two books: Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood (1989), and Ceasefire: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality(1999).
Host(s): School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, Communications Forum
Tape #: 19568
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