I don't see any easy solutions, but print, radio and television all need to take much bolder steps to reconnect with the public.
More openness, more willingness to run corrections, more ombudsmen, more acknowledgement of our failings - those are the kinds of steps that are already under way and that should be accelerated. It would help if news organizations engaged in more outreach to explain themselves, with anchors or editors walking readers through such minefields as why we choose to call someone a "terrorist," or how we wield terms like "pro-life" or "pro-choice."
I sent him the following:
Why does the press have a bad reputation? I can't imagine.
Did you know that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet? Really, he did. He must have. You guys said that he did over and over and over again. It was a gross distortion of the facts, but you said it over and over and over again anyway.
Did you know that Howard Dean couldn't possibly be a good President? After all, he yelled "yeah!" at a rally! That's clearly evidence of severe mental imbalance. Let's play that clip over and over again. Let's talk about nothing else for three days, Let's spend more time on this stupid yell then we spend on - I don't know - WAR or something. And let's lower the volume on the crowd so no one can tell that he's yelling to be heard.
Why lookie here: During the debate, Bush said that he "never said" that he wasn't concerned about Osama Bin Laden, when we have him on tape as saying exactly that, in those words. In other words, he lied through his teeth, publicly and provably, during a debate, about how he responded to an attack on the United States. But let's not mention that. THAT'S not important. Instead, let's spend days talking about the shocking fact that John Kerry mentioned that Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian even though everyone already KNOWS that she's a lesbian and it wasn't any secret.
Oh, and the White House planting a phony reporter into press conferences to lob fake questions? No story there, either.
In short, you guys have a bad reputation because you do your jobs like SHIT. You breathlessly talk about CRAP while ignoring IMPORTANT stuff, and you do it ALL THE TIME.
Many of us now go onto the internet and read foreign newspapers in order to find out what's going on in our own country. That's disgraceful.
You don't report AT ALL. You cherry-pick the facts in order to tell the story you WANT to tell. You regurgitate pre-determined scripts. You don't report. You parrot.