The Media’s Appetite for the Scoop: Obamacare both Overturned and Upheld?

The L.A Times documented the blunders of both the “Conservative” and “Liberal” media’s coverage of the Obamacare ruling yesterday. I was able to watch the news outlets cover the event live, as I flipped back and forth between CNN and Fox news channels. Initially both news outlets reported that the law had been overturned only later to “readjust” their stories to reflect the actual ruling. The coverage by both outlets reflected this desire to beat the competition to the air at the cost of information reliability.

“What you have here is a deliberative institution covered by an increasingly non-deliberative news media culture,” said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.”

I would suggest the media take a page from the Supreme Court and be more deliberative about their coverage. The media’s appetite for the scoop in this case greatly undermined their journalistic integrity. In doing so, they prolong the viewership because it takes a certain amount of time for the story to finally get straightened out. I would suggest that had they read the ruling then commented on it, the same amount of time would have expired (as the amount for them to straighten out the story) and their integrity would have remained in tact. What was the cost of yesterday’s blunder? Probably nothing, because most people will rely on a news service over reading the ruling themselves or finding a reliable source apart from a news services that calls themselves “Fair and Balanced” or “The Most Trusted News Source.”


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