A week or so ago I suggested that the health care debate was a great opportunity for the beleaguered mainstream media -- newspapers, network news -- to prove "in a slow and deliberate way" it was still relevant.
There is so much disinformation flying around at the moment wouldn't it be great to have someone in the media, who had at their disposal the time and resources, step in and separate fact from fiction. And we mean really separate it in a slow and deliberate way.
In many ways, news organizations have risen to the occasion; in others they have become agents of distortion. But even when they report the facts, they have had trouble influencing public opinion...Perhaps journalists are no more trusted than politicians these days, or many folks never saw the knockdown stories. But this was a stunning illustration of the traditional media's impotence.
As noted, Kurtz suggests that many outlets did try to dive in and debunk the rumors. The fact of the matter is that they have clearly failed. The only thing worse than the MSM not devoting the time and space that it should to this story, is the MSM devoting the time and space and not having any influence on the public's understanding of the issue at hand. If we can't rely on news institutions to rationally explain the complicated (and extremely important) issues of the day in a way that will reach people, than why do we need them at all?
Plummeting ad sales and paid content may be at the core of debate over whether traditional media will survive, but it's becoming ever more apparent that the death panels are just the latest example of whether traditional media deserves to survive, and it raises the question: if the MSM were to disappear, would anyone notice?
Read more here.
Follow Glynnis MacNicol on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mediaite