There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the increasingly blurry line between journalistic fact and opinion. If you’re with the news division you stick with the facts, and if you are a “media figure” or pundit you travel on the opinion superhighway. But in a world where opinions — loudly proclaimed and oft-repeated — become indelible as fact, what does media responsibility look like?
Here’s one example of a media figure being responsible for the message: When Minnesota State Representative Michele Bachman came on CNN’s primetime show Anderson Cooper 360 and said that President Obama’s trip to Asia “is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day,” Anderson Cooper, being the host of the show that bears his name, thought he should fact-check what was said on his program. The next night, Anderson came back to report “a made-up story about the President of the United States and the politicians and pundits who are spreading it.” Perhaps most alarming, in light of the evidence he presents, were the clips he included from conservative media fanning the flames of this rumor. Decide for yourself after hearing Anderson’s challenge to the credibility behind the “$200 million myth.”
See also Tom Friedman’s op-ed piece published today in The New York Times – check it out here.