Is Ex-CBS Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson Right to Criticize the News?

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The role of the journalist in today’s world is a complex and changing one. News is both a business and a service. It’s in print more and more rarely, online more and more often; it’s even on Twitter and YouTube. It’s demanded on a much tighter schedule in keeping with the “now!” attitude of the computer era, and yet it gains the advantages of global communication and networking. Basically, it’s a complicated beast — imperfect, but necessary all the same. At times, it deserves criticism from its peers more often than it receives it. Of course, there is plenty in the way of opinion responses to other publications articles — but that isn’t the same as a healthy body of critique on what makes up the content, or what subjects are or aren’t covered well enough. There is room and a need for this sort of discussion, and again, not just from readers, but from peers.

That said, former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s recent criticism of her previous employer is getting a lot of harsh words from other publications — some of it perhaps deserved, while on other points, she may deserve a sympathetic ear.

Her accusations were as follows. CBS News neglects to sufficiently cover unpleasant topics regarding the Obama Administration as well as certain corporations, and that coverage on a number of issues, including the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, were under-investigated and reporting on it ended too soon. She also claimed that the Media Matters liberal media monitoring group had targeted her specifically, and speculated that they may have been paid to do so. These comments followed her resignation from the news network after over twenty years there.

The tendency on the part of some of these managers who have key influences has been they never mind the stories that seem to … go against the grain of the Republican Party,” said Attkisson to Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter. “But they do often seem to feel defensive about, almost, personally defensive on stories that could make the government look bad.” When one considers Fox News versus The New York Times, it’s difficult not to see a discrepancy in political leanings, and the same can certainly be said for nearly all news publications at one time or another. Political bias is an issue that requires constant balancing and counter-balancing internally, as well as concentrated efforts from news organizations as a whole to retain objectivity.

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