Accuracy in Media

MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough lashed out at new media during a speech at a private “town hall” meeting in Charleston, S.C. last week calling it “evil” and blaming it for stopping compromise in Washington.

Scarborough: I think the biggest problem right now has to do with new media. And I’ll just say that. We’re in a transition. I wasn’t a big fan of when we just had three networks. It was sort of a voice of God, in three networks, The New York Times and The Washington Post—

An audience member then shouts out a comment and Scarborough continues.

Scarborough: I think the bigger problem now with new media is that people can select what they want to hear at all times and go searching for a media outlet that conforms with their ideology one hundred percent. So they wake up in the morning and they turn on a news channel, a cable channel, that repeats everything they believe and doesn’t question any preexisting prejudices. And then they get in their car and they drive and they turn on a talk radio show that does the same thing. And then if they’re like my mother, they then, at night, will just sort-of surf the web. For her, it’s right-wing websites that say that poor Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are persecuted and that Joe Scarborough is a socialist. So by the end of the day, somebody that disagrees with you is not wrong. They’re evil. And that is repeated day in and day out and it’s really coarsened politics over the past ten, fifteen years. And it’s on both sides, and it has done more than anything else to stop compromise in Washington, DC.

Memo to Joe: It’s called free speech.

Scarborough is way off base. It’s thanks to new media and the Internet that we have been able to break free of the monopolization of ideas and thought by the mainstream media. We now have a choice as to who, where and when to get our news from and are no longer forced to listen to the “voice of God,” as Scarborough put it.

This complaint seems to be more about Scarborough’s own changing political views than a real hatred of new media. His views appear to have changed from those of a former four-term conservative, Republican congressman to those of a more moderate talk-show host on a liberal cable network.

After all, Scarborough maintains a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. So if new media is “evil,” what does that make him?

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