The Williams case -- combined with the Monday release of the CBS "Memogate" report and, to a lesser extent, MediaChannel's revelation that the New York Times is buying into a racist corporate culture in its dealings with Boston Metro -- makes this one of mainstream media's bloodiest weeks, with its stock in the public trust falling to an all-time low. Still, Kathleen Parker writes, this proves that journalists are held to a higher standard than bloggers, politicians, businesspeople and the like:
For all their flaws, mainstream (institutional) journalists are accountable where others are not. When they mess up, consequences are real and ruthless, as Williams and the CBS folks can attest. That much consumers can rely upon.Joanne Hostrow echoes Parker's view. In her Thursady Denver Post column, Hostrow warns that this low point for media could be just the ammunition the White House needs to further blast what President Bush has called "the filter" of American journalism. Still, Hostrow concludes:
How striking the difference in ethical standards: When Bush administration honchos failed to produce weapons of mass destruction, they left office with medals.For David Harsanyi, it's the bloggers who are helping keep journalists in line. Harsanyi welcomes the emergence of the fact-checking wing of the blogosphere:
. . .the rise of new media give the public more options. That's always positive. It doesn't diminish the work of journalists - unless they're sloppy or on the take.