Integrating the Press.

In comments to an earlier post, I was asked what I am proposing in order to integrate the press politically.

What I do NOT suggest for the press is a "Fairness Doctrine."

1. I suggest shaming the press into hiring journalists who have different points of view — in other words, diversity, something that news organizations have given lipservice to for at least a decade.

2. If I were at CBS or NBC, I would call James Taranto and ask for names (or hire him).

3. MEDIA WATCH. If I were at any of the networks, I would start an hour-long news media show — Media Watch. I would hire two staffs, one mostly (though not exclusively) Republican and one mostly (though not exclusively) Democratic. Each one would critique media bias stories each week, followed by a panel discussion including both staffs and outside reporters who covered the story. There might even be a five minute segment for each side to critique the other side's report from the prior week. I think it would get relatively good ratings for a news show and would be great fun with the right people. To head up the Republican team, I would try to hire Tim Blair or Mark Steyn, someone with a sense of humor.

4. Last, if I were a billionaire, I would try to buy CBS, NBC, or ABC. I would point out to the news division that such strongly biased reporting is, at bottom, BAD journalism. No matter how competent the staff may be, the ORGANIZATION can't do a good job of political reporting in an atmosphere of political uniformity — even if the individuals try to be fair, which most of them do most of the time. I would encourage them to do what any news organization should do anyways: hire staff who would improve the overall quality of the reporting. That means that, if I were heading up Fox News, I would hire more Democrats.

I am reminded of something a prominent conservative once said to me: You can't have an all-white police force policing a largely African-American neighborhood. No matter how competent the individuals might be, it just doesn't work. Nor can you have an almost all-Democratic press setting the political agenda and policing the accuracy of the statements of candidates a politically mixed country. No matter how competent the individuals might be, it just doesn't work.

UPDATE: One more thought: It could have been worse. Imagine how the press would have performed if Hillary Clinton hadn't been running against Obama in the primaries. The ABC reporters with Clinton ties were the ones who brought the Rev. Wright story into the mainstream, and they were the first (and nearly the only) ones to ask Obama about some other aspects of his past.