"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding."
However, in the same interview, Obama uttered a two bald-faced lies:
"When I came into office, we were losing 700,000 jobs per month. Credit was frozen so that small businesses and large businesses alike couldn't borrow. You couldn't get an auto loan even if you had good credit. People were losing their homes at an extraordinary pace."(emphasis mine)
As this chart from the Wall Street Journal shows, people were buying cars and getting car loans in January when he was sworn in (though the numbers were down), yet the editors and reporters never questioned this statement.
They never 'fact-checked' the claim. And when a president compliments your industry on doing just that, don't you think you should?
Here's another 'fact' that didn't get checked: "losing 700,000 jobs per month."
According to CNNMoney.com, job losses in November 2008 were 584,000 and job losses in December 2008 were 524,000. Total losses for the months of September and October 2008 were 792,000, so clearly neither month was '700,000.'
U.S. News and World Report says that the January 2009 job losses were 598,000, while the New York Times reported February 2009 job losses of 651,000.
So when the president said we were losing 700,000 jobs per month when he came into office, was he lying? Or just, perhaps, exaggerating?
Regardless, why was there no 'fact-checking' of his numbers and claims?
The "fact" is that much of the checking occurring today is being done by the blogosphere, just like I have with these two examples.
It was the blogosphere that fact-checked and exposed the faked memos about George W. Bush's National Guard service which was reported by Dan Rather and later became known as Rathergate.
It's been bloggers and Glenn Beck who've exposed the extreme positions of the various czars appointed by Obama. And there are terrific websites that focus on investigative reporting. One of them, Texas Watchdog, not only 'watches' government, but helps train bloggers and reporters so they can learn how to "uncover waste, fraud and corruption in state and local governments."
One reason many newspapers are seeing a decline in circulation and many television news networks see their numbers falling is because of this very 'fact.' They've stopped 'reporting' and started spending too much time 'putting stories in context' for us - telling us what we should think about events rather than reporting the facts so we can decide on our own. As a result, people have turned to other outlets, like blogs, for additional information so they can make an informed decision and not rely upon some talking head reading from a teleprompter.
Then there are events like Wolf Blitzer's appearance on the Celebrity Jeopardy charity tournament. Blitzer is the anchor for CNN's The Situation Room and the lead political reporter for CNN. Yet despite his vast experience and knowledge, he finished the easy-question Jeopardy episode in the hole - significantly - with a score of minus $4,600.
Is this the type of person Obama thinks we need to 'trust' to put news stories into context for us?
As the examples I've documented above prove, it is arrogant and pretentious to think that only the main stream media can provide the type of news coverage that fulfills the function of a free and independent press and helps keep our governments in check.