The confession came in an article in the New York Times titled, “Latest Word from the Trail? I Take It Back,” by Jeremy Peters, detailed the quote policy from the Obama White House and the Romney campaign.
What the story reveals is that most – not some – members of the print media establishment with access to the White House submit their copy to government officials for review, “correction” and approval before it reaches the American people!
What it means is this: When Americans read these reports – whether in newspapers, wire services or on the Internet – they are not really reading news stories at all. They are reading approved, pre-packaged press releases from the government and politicians. But, even worse, they are not labeled as such. They are labeled as actual news.
While this kind of quote pre-approval process is standard operating procedure for the Obama campaign, the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney has a quote quality control apparatus in place as well.
The paper said the Romney machine also likes to air-brush quotes, especially when it comes to interviewing his five sons. “Romney advisers almost always require that reporters ask them for the green light on anything from a conversation that they would like to include in an article,” said the Times.
The trade is clear: You give us the interview, and we will let you approve our reports.
Reporters have all reviewed quotes with sources. It is done for the sake of accuracy. However, if an interview is taped, there is no need for reviews – unless it is to “clean up” a quote to please the news source.
It seems that many in the news media are happy to do politicians’ and government’s bidding in exchange for access.
In a classic understatement, the Times calls this unacceptable practice a “double-edged sword,” because reporters “are getting the on-the-record quotes they have long asked for, but losing much of the spontaneity and authenticity in their interviews.”
And the American people are losing too. If quotes are sanitized, what other information is being cherry-picked, or worse, being left out completely by a mainstream media that is supposed to be the protector of liberties and freedom, not a facilitator for the powers that be?
That kind of “journalism” will signal the end of our democracy faster than a rigged election. We may never know what we never know. That’s the real danger and it will ruin our free press – as well as our country.
Despite the low opinion Americans currently have of the mainstream media, they don’t want it to work like this.
I urge you to read the whole article here.