Should journalists be held accountable for their mistakes?
Matt Bai is a political reporter and staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, Bai graduated from Tufts in 1990 and received a Masters from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1994. Bai began his reporting career at the Boston Globe's metro desk; he spent five years as a national correspondent for Newsweek before coming to the Times in 2002. Bai has covered all sorts of national news: everything from the Columbine shootings to John Glenn's last space voyage to Mike Bloomberg's mayoral campaign. In recent years, Bai has focused primarily on intra-Democratic Party politics. He is the author of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, an analysis of the progressive movement. Bai's work has also appeared in both the 2005 and 2006 editions of The Best American Political Writing. Matt covered the 2008 presidential race for the New York Times Magazine.
Matt Bai: Well I mean they’re held to account for their mistakes like anybody else. People lose trust in them. It hurts the market dynamic certainly. But more than that it just hurts the underlying . . . it hurts the democracy. I mean we do pay a price for being wrong. It . . . it damages our credibility; and as a result I think damages the exchange of ideas in the democracy. It’s very important to have that bond of trust between the press and the public. And that’s why I get very frustrated with this era of politicians who find the easiest response to so many things is to say, “The media is terrible. The media is awful. We can’t trust the media. They’re biased. They’re biased.” _________ the media because it’s the easiest thing to do, because people buy it. You know because it’s easy to blame the media. And I think it’s very irresponsible because it might be the easiest way to wiggle yourself out of a question. But over time it does a great disservice to the democracy. And you know I always say to politicians when this comes up, you know, you don’t want to be . . . You know you don’t want me to judge you by . . . by the worst politician in your business. You don’t want me to judge you by the idea of a Washington politician. Well you know all I ask is the same courtesy from you. And they . . . you know they generally get that.
Recorded on: 12/13/07
I's very important to have a a bond of trust between the press and the public.
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