Carter Wood of Shopfloor.org is not buying what Columbia Journalism Review is selling. Not after its smug, self-important pitch letter whining about supposed attacks on freedom of speech and press in America. Not after said sales pitch falls so close to Columbia welcoming dictator and enemy of press freedom Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Columbia Journalism Review picked an inauspicious time to be sending out subscription pitches to Journalism School alumni, coinciding with the debacle that was Ahmadinejad's appearance at the university.
Reading through the pitch letter (.pdf copy here) signed by CJR Editor Mike Hoyt, we were struck by the unremitting hostility it emits toward U.S. institutions, primarily the government but also business and religion. In CJR's world view, a journalist's responsibility is apparently to attack, attack, attack -- because the institutions being reported on are corrupt and a threat to our freedoms.
And the come-on leads with a preposterous assertion:
In the last few years, threats to press freedom have grown to an unprecedented level. And so has the response of the Columbia Journalism Review.
We write here at Shopfloor.org about media bias off and on, the inclination of mainstream media outlets to hype risk, denigrate business and generally take an oppositional stance toward the free market and cultural institutions. The CJR subscription pitch is a sad but very telling illustration of that attitude.
They can keep their free issue.
Wood's anecdote is just one more glaring example of the left-wing bent of not only the mainstream media, but the academic institutions that raise future generations of professional journalists.
It underscores the importance that media critics and academia-watchers can play in the blogosphere of bringing relatively obscure but profoundly telling documents like Hoyt's letter to the fore for discussion.
On a closing note, Wood, an employee of the National Association of Manufacturers, is correct that the dominant media template on business reporting is heavily critical of free market capitalism and conservatives emphases on low taxation and regulation.
To that end, please take the chance to check out the MRC's Business & Media Institute and their recently-completed three-part study on bias against the American Businessman. It's available online here.