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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

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Off to a group think on the future of journalism at the Museum of Television and Radio Media Center in NYC. Title: “The Increasing Blending of News and Views.” Participants include Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen, Andrew Heyward, Jonathan Klein and a dozen more.

Looking forward to hearing from David Carr, whose Monday column on “The Conversation” is really the subject of today’s five hour talkfest.

I may have to rise to the defense of old media today, as I am bringing along the letter to President Bush from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad. If Mahmoud is mad at our media, they must be doing something right. From his letter:

After 9.11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people – who had been immensely traumatised by the attacks –some Western media only intensified the climates of fear and insecurity – some constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that service to the American people? Is it possible to calculate the damages incurred from fear and panic?

American citizen lived in constant fear of fresh attacks that could come at any moment and in any place. They felt insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. Who would be happy with this situation? Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and antebellum antebellum providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity?

Some believe that the hype paved the way – and was the justification –for an attack on Afghanistan. Again I need to refer to the role of media.

In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly – for the public to, finally, believe – and the ground set for an attack on Iraq.

Will the truth not be lost in a contrive and deceptive climate?

A full report later, if the session is not off-the-record.

UPDATE: Five hours of excellent conversation, but as I was trying to listen intently, I put the live blogging aside. Jeff Jarvis had it covered in any event, and I suspect Jay Rosen will be posting on some of the exchanges as well.

Some participants’ remarks were wholly off the record and others’ partially, so rather than misremember and violate those ground rules, I will stick to impressions.

As perhaps the only conservative in the room –there may have been others but if so, they were under deep cover– I came away impressed by the talent and seriousness of the news professionals, but also convinced that they simply will never see that the source of their dissolving credibility is the ideological imbalance in their journalist workforce. I brought this point up a couple of times, but it was rejected as was the relevance individual writers/reporters/editors’ political positions, voting records, and world views. Not one person other than me spoke for the minimum disclosures from journalists covering politics and government that I view as necessary to earn the trust of the audience on the center-right which MSM has relentlessly driven away with years of inbred bias.

There is some energy behind the idea of product innovation, and responsiveness to the expertise of laymen in various audiences, but I do not expect the big brands will be surprising us with new names drawn from the center-right or new voices that are consistently heard from that slice of the political spectrum.

Perhaps more tomorrow after stop #2 on the roundtable trail, The Bradley Foundation’s “Red-Blue” talk fest tomorrow in D.C.


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