A case study in corporate media failure

This week, the San Jose Mercury News ran this reality-defying headline: “Governor battling ‘Goliath’ on Nov. 8.” Memo to the Murky News headline-writing staff: next time you’re tempted to copy and paste the Governor’s spin, head over to Arnold Watch and click on the cash register first. As of last Thursday, he’d raised just a hare under $57 million from the corporate special interest Goliaths he’s got lined up behind him.
This was a statewide phenomenon, and this story in the Capitol Weekly tells us why: after two plus years of Bush administration (or maybe Kremlin?) style strict access control, the Gov’s political team made the call and threw reporters a few scraps last week. A few papers didn’t buy it and made the fact that they were finally given some access the story, as they should have, but there were far too many headlines like the Murky’s.
The lede in the Oakland Tribune’s coverage today, “Embattled Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was actually allowed to talk freely to the public, through the media, this week,” is another example of the shockwave of confusion this sent rippling through the Capitol press corps. “[F]reely to the public” and “through the media” are not the same thing!
This situation is a mini-clinic in just how blithely antidemocratic corporate media can be. Whether headlines like this are ordinary failures to think critically about or deliberate pro-corporate bias, remember: while we’d never recommend you believe everything you read on the internet, you sure can’t believe everything in “trusted” print media either. Keep thinking critically, it’s going to be a long campaign season.