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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Revolving Door Journalism: From “Reporting” to Shilling



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My good pal Ralph Nader often has complained of the "revolving door" between government regulators and legislators and the big corporations that are subject to regulation, giving the corporations, in his view (to which I subscribe), undue influence over their own oversite.

But the same phenomenon can be seen increasingly in media, with reporters who essentially advocate for certain ideological agendas in their reportage eventually getting into the formal shilling business about those same agendas when they leave journalism. Case in point, Rick Weiss, formerly of the Washington Post. He used to cover the biotechnology beat, and it was clear which side had his sympathies (although more than most reporters on the science beat, he would occasionally pierce through the ESCR hype). Now, he is with the Leftist think tank Center for American Progress--also illustrating the overwhelmingly liberal slant of MSM journalists--and shilling for the same embryonic stem cell research issue about which he used to report. From his latest piece:
Within the first week of taking office, President Obama should call upon the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health to devise a plan for dismantling the current, overly restrictive Bush administration policy on the funding of human embryonic stem cell research. He should do so through an executive order or presidential memorandum.
This advocacy is no different from the message that most of his stories communicated when he was a beat reporter. But at least it now has the virtue of being an honest expression of opinion rather than masking as objective journalism. (I know of at least one former environmental reporter, who wrote stories as if global warming is uncontroversial, now similarly shilling for a liberal think tank in support of the global warming agenda.)

Count on many media outlets publishing Weiss's piece even though it really has nothing new to say, when a contrarian pundit on this issue probably couldn't pay to be on the op/ed pages. That's how the bias increasingly works these days. Now, it isn't just a skewed slant to stories. As far media are concerned, there is only one legitimate opinion on many issues--and they just aren't going to allow contrary thinkers to have any more than the most sporadic say.


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