by James Ray Deaton 2/14/15
When did it become necessary to use the “alternative” and online internet news sources to get all, not just half, of (as The New York Times has on its masthead) “All the News That’s Fit to Print”? Paul Harvey used to be the one who gave us “the rest of the story,” but now we must go to the internet and conservative news and commentary to get the complete story. This has been the trend for some time, but it seems to be getting worse.
One of the latest examples is the recent measles outbreak coverage. In recent stories about the growing epidemic, traditional print newspapers had the latest main stream news version of the story. Most focused on the high number of measles infections and possible government action to make vaccinations mandatory.
This year’s higher infection rate was discussed, but other than low vaccination rates, there seemed few queries into why this year (as opposed to last year or the year before that) has seen infections spike. Emphasis was placed on possible new public health laws to make vaccinations mandatory with fewer exemptions.
This year’s outbreak was not placed in any context. What was last year’s infection rate? What was the rate five years ago? Ten years ago? Indeed, the fact that measles was considered to be essentially eradicated in the U.S. more than 20 years ago was usually not mentioned.
The “alternative” Internet-based news reports were more enlightening and more comprehensive. Lower vaccination rates were part of the story, but the possible connection between the current measles outbreak and last year’s flood of illegal aliens across our southern border was reported as well. The fact that thousands of poor, unvaccinated children newly residing in our country may have something to due with the outbreak was not off-limits.[pullquote]The fact that thousands of poor, unvaccinated children newly residing in our country may have something to due with the outbreak was not off-limits.[/pullquote]
Did the traditional print reporters think the public would not make that connection or at least consider the possibility? Maybe there is no real connection between the immigrants and the infections, but maybe there is. Why wouldn’t the “real reporters” do some real investigating to verify or debunk? Instead they apparently simply ignored the possible connection and hoped the readers wouldn’t notice.
Why is that? Did the print reporters think their readers had forgotten about last year’s border crisis? Have they traded in journalistic integrity for political correctness? Were they trying to protect the illegal aliens from possible blame? Were they trying to protect someone from (in their view) some “dark tendency” of the American public to blame, fear or demonize “the other”?
After politicians and others such as Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy and possible presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson suggested a possible link between the outbreak and recent immigrants, news reports seemed mostly interested in disproving a possible link. The reportedly high vaccination rates in South and Central American countries (according to the World Health Organization!) were dutifully reported, but if you believe those numbers then I have a Soviet five-year production plan report you’ll probably love as well.
The anti-vaccination movement, with its real roots firmly planted in an anti-“Big Pharma,” anti-“Western Medicine” and pro-“Natural Living” leftist-utopian model, was hinted to be religion or “right-wing” based. Those rascally anti-government Republicans were blamed, not the anti-science lefty elites and their anti-vaccination sensibilities.
Whatever the reason for traditional news source bias, it doesn’t bode well for their future. Readers and viewers (and listeners) notice these biases and continue to move toward more comprehensive and more immediate news outlets. News consumers don’t want or need to be “protected” from any aspects of a story.
There are many factors why traditional print newspapers and news sources continue to contract and online news sources continue to expand. Some may be inevitable, but some are not. News reporting that doesn’t report the whole story, “the rest of the story,” is one of the things killing traditional outlets.
Politically correct news is often too political, too boring and not correct.
James Ray Deaton, one of six known conservatives living in Berkeley, Calif., is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
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