Monday, October 18, 2010

Dr. Mertens, Vows To Fight Media Bias Toward Independents

I wanted to share a story about this: the two media outlets that deliberately and premeditatedly excluded any mention of Tom Marsh’s participation in the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities debate on October 6 in their coverage were the Hartford Courant and Channel 8, the ABC affiliate.

Here’s the print story that ran in the Courant on Oct 7:

http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-ccm-gov-candidates-1007-20101006,0,195356.story

Channel 8 set up cameras at the debate so that they could carefully shoot it without ever having Tom in any shot, and during their TV coverage, they never mentioned that Tom participated (despite the fact that I’ve heard from attendees that Tom won the debate).

These facts have made me more angry at the media than any of the rest of their actions this year. So, here’s my story: I was at an event on Saturday that included a presentation by the news director of Channel 8. It was a one hour interactive presentation and discussion of news and media coverage. Half way through he started talking about the importance of trust in media. I interrupted, and told the story of what Channel 8 did. This resulted in a passionate discussion for the remaining 30 minutes about ethics in journalism. The news director defended Channel 8 strongly at first, but the crowd beat him down. At the end of the session, the news director told me that he would investigate, and “if we blew it, I’ll be as upset as you are.” We’ll see about that.

I’ve been talking about this at every campaign event since: the fact that Tom Marsh has essentially been invited to every debate EXCEPT the televised debates, and that many of the major media outlets have made a point of not mentioning his participation in those he’s been invited to, has caused audible gasps in the audiences. We need to hammer this beyond the election. I’m planning op-ed pieces to all CT newspapers (they won’t print op-eds from candidates, so I have to wait until after Nov. 2), detailing what has happened, and I encourage others to do the same. Mike Telesca and I have discussed the possibility of a lawsuit as well, to raise awareness. This is our biggest problem; the media is complicit in the degradation of our democracy, and we need to fight to repair it, beyond November!

Best,

Dr. John Mertens
Professor of Engineering, Trinity College

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe the Media is not ever going to print much that is Important to any one any more, if it dosen't make it's point(politicians own them, as does goverment). It hides the truth, it no longer has any interest to most, and who in the hell could trust the media, They now tether on the wrong side of the walk, If you can fix this mess Godspeed if you need help you can probally get a hand from the Goverment, oh maybe not you are just a regular every day guy, you have no CLOUT!OOP's did I say that I should watch my peas and Q's I forgot I'm not a politician paying for my usage of thought, so I should be careful! Go for it, you have my vote, take it out by the knee caps!

Anonymous said...

Everyone of these media outlets is in dire need of cash, Linda McMahon spent 42Mill alone and lord only knows what else has been spent by the other big party races.

This is big business, they have no interest in building up a candidate that is broke or will spend little money. Makes no sense its a "zero sum" game for them.

The only way they can survive is by "parity" and that is covering the big money or at least someone with enough money to stop the other guy from using leverage over the media outlets.

Thank God for the Internet or we would know nothing of value about any of these candidates.

An ex Time Warner employee